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LA Kings: Gaborik Adjusting To New Surroundings While Brown, Kopitar Explain Formula For Recent Success

AUDIO: Includes audio interviews with Dustin Brown, Marian Gaborik, Anze Kopitar and Darryl Sutter.


Winger Marian Gaborik (second from right), celebrates a Jeff Carter
goal at Edmonton on March 9, 2014.
(click above to view larger image)

EL SEGUNDO, CA — After winning seven consecutive games coming out of the Olympic break, and with eight straight wins overall, it is now safe to say that the break worked wonders for the Los Angeles Kings, who are on the verge of tying a franchise record for consecutive wins in a season with nine as they prepare to skate against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Staples Center here in Los Angeles tonight (7:30 PM PDT).

“I think all of our guys came back from the break really sharp,” said head coach Darryl Sutter.

“I had lots of fun, [the Olympics] was a great experience for me, personally, for [Team Slovenia], and for every single athlete who was there,” said center Anze Kopitar. “Maybe it gives you a little boost. When I came back, Darryl gave me a few days off, too, so I didn’t have to skate and put on equipment, which helped a lot.”

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LA Kings Anze Kopitar Talks Olympics, Sprint To The Finish

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Well before the Los Angeles Kings hit the ice on February 24, an unusually large throng of local media had already gathered at their practice facility, the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California. In fact, with all the television and radio news media present, it looked like we had skipped over the final 23 games of the regular season for the Kings and moved right into the playoffs, which is when the local broadcast media start to show up at practices.

But on this day, center Anze Kopitar returned to the Kings’ practice ice for the first time since the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia ended, and he did so as an Olympic hero, of sorts. After all, even though he did not win a medal, he led Slovenia to a nearly miraculous 3-1 win over Slovakia in the preliminary round. Slovenia also shutout Austria in the Qualification Round, 4-0, to reach the Quarterfinals.

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NHL Hits Grand Slam Home Run At Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium

Legendary hall of fame broadcasters Vin Scully and Bob Miller opened
the festivities for Stadium Series: Los Angeles on
January 25, 2014, at Dodger Stadium.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images
and the Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES — So many said that it couldn’t be done.

Just as many laughed derisively while insisting that the rink would turn into a swimming pool by the end of the first period.

Thousands upon thousands just shook their heads, muttering something about there being no real hockey fans in Southern California, and that Dodger Stadium would be mostly empty.

As evidenced by the sellout crowd at Dodger Stadium on January 25 for Stadium Series: Los Angeles, the naysayers were wrong.

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2014 Stadium Series Los Angeles: LA Kings, Anaheim Ducks Test Ice During Practice While Teemu Selanne Takes Time To Enjoy It All

Anaheim Ducks superstar winger Teemu Selanne, shown here during his team’s practice session at Dodger Stadium on January 24, 2014.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — On January 24, the eve of the 2014 Stadium Series: Los Angeles, both the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks skated on Dodger Stadium ice for the first time, with the home team getting the first practice time at 4:00 PM.

It was a typical practice for the Kings, in terms of them doing line rushes, and a few drills. But that is where the similarities with any part of their normal routine ended, as they were obviously skating under a darkening sky, with the San Gabriel Mountains off in the distance, and Palm trees close by.

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