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LA Kings vs. San Jose Sharks: 2014 First Round Playoff Preview/Predictions

LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty is itching to get back into action against the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

EL SEGUNDO, CA — It’s that time of year again.

It’s the time of year when hockey fans all over are either at games, or are glued to a television set somewhere watching Stanley Cup Playoff games, and probably not just games in which their favorite team is playing in.

Indeed, this is the best time of year for hockey fans, and that sentiment is shared by National Hockey League players and coaches as well.

“This is the best time of the year,” said Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar. “Everybody gets excited for it, and it’s no different for us.”

But the players cannot allow that excitement—the visions of Stanley Cups dancing in their heads—to distract them from their immediate goal, which is winning the next game, and focusing exclusively on that.

For the Kings, their first round series begins tonight against the San Jose Sharks, at SAP Pavilion in San Jose (7:00 PM; televised in Southern California on Fox Sports West, and nationally on the NBC Sports Network).

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LA Kings Anze Kopitar Is Working His Way Back To Elite Status

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — Following the 2013 Western Conference Final, when the Chicago Blackhawks unceremoniously bounced the Los Angeles Kings out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in five games, one thing was crystal-clear…

…Kings star center Anze Kopitar was nothing close to the unstoppable Anze Kopitar who shared the National Hockey League playoff scoring title with teammate Dustin Brown (eight goals, twelve assists for twenty points) in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when the Kings won the Stanley Cup.

In fact, Kopitar’s paltry three goals and six assists for nine points in 18 playoff games last season was a far cry from his performance in the 2012 playoffs. Moreover, that explosive first step, the strength on the puck, the ability to protect it along the boards and in the corners—all those trademarks of Kopitar’s game were missing in action.

Last season, Kopitar’s prolonged slump began in late March, and extended 34 games, including the post-season. His shockingly poor performance led to widespread speculation that he was injured—it seemed the only logical explanation.

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Frozen Royalty Audio: LA Kings Begin Prep Work For First Round Playoff Matchup vs. San Jose

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin in just a few days, and the Los Angeles Kings are apparently already in full playoff mode.

Despite not taking the ice on Monday, opting instead for off-ice workouts, forwards Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Jarret Stoll, along with goaltender Jonathan Quick, and head coach Darryl Sutter took time out to speak to the media gathered at their practice facility, the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.

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LA Kings Anze Kopitar Deserves To Win 2013-14 Selke Trophy, But Don’t Hold Your Breath

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar (right) checks Winnipeg Jets forward Adam Pardy (left) behind the net
on March 29, 2014, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

EL SEGUNDO, CA — With less than two weeks left in the 2013-14 National Hockey League season, Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar is finally getting some well-deserved consideration for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL’s best defensive forward.

Indeed, such consideration is overdue by two or three years. In fact, yours truly has voted for Kopitar as a finalist for the Selke Trophy (voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association) in each of the last three seasons.

This year, unless something drastic happens before the end of the regular season, Kopitar will get my top vote for the Selke Trophy, as he has been the league’s best defensive forward this season.

But don’t just take my word for it.

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