2008-09 Los Angeles Kings: Defense and Goaltending Will Be Key

SEASON PREVIEW: A comprehensive, detailed look at what might be for the 2008-09 Los Angeles Kings.

LOS ANGELES — Immediately upon being hired by the Los Angeles Kings as their new head coach on July 17, 2008, Terry Murray clearly stated that the top priority for his new team would be improving their defensive play, noting that the 2007-08 Kings gave up several boatloads of quality scoring chances and goals.

This new mandate could not have been made more clear on the first day of the Kings’ 2008-09 training camp. Indeed, when the players took to the ice for the first time, they saw five dots, a bit smaller than the face-off dots, painted on the ice in the slot, representing the “home plate” area Murray wants his players to focus on in terms of their defensive positioning.

Indeed, the Kings were atrocious in their own zone for the vast majority of the 2007-08 season and their goaltending was not much better. These two areas will certainly be keys to the success or failure of the 2008-09 Kings, who will have several young players, some of them rookies, in their lineup, raising serious doubt on the Kings’ ability to improve significantly upon their tied-for-last-place-in-the-league finish in 2007-08. Read more of this post

Pronger, Ducks Edge Kings in OT, 3-2

Chris Pronger scored two goals, including one in overtime, to lead the Anaheim Ducks to a 3-2 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Kings in pre-season action at Honda Center in Anaheim on Wednesday night.

Chris Kunitz also scored for the Ducks in the second period, while Michal Handzus and Brian Boyle scored second-period goals for the Kings, who are now 3-0-3 in the pre-season. Read more of this post

Kings Sweep Pre-Season Doubleheader

PRE-SEASON: Los Angeles Kings win twice on Monday night; post-game audio interviews from game 2 at Staples Center.

LOS ANGELES — After reading the headline above, you’re probably thinking that someone made a mistake.

Nope. Guess again.

On Monday night, the Los Angeles Kings actually won two games within hours of each other to open their 2008-09 pre-season action with a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, followed by a 6-4 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at Staples Center in a split-squad doubleheader of sorts. Read more of this post

It’s A Matter Of Trust For Dean Lombardi, LA Kings, AEG

As reported in the first installment of this series (see Lombardi Answers His Critics), the Los Angeles Kings and President/General Manager Dean Lombardi are under heavy fire from a vocal segment of their fan base who are furious about the direction of the team, but they also have those who support their rebuilding efforts.

In this, the second and final installment in the series, Frozen Royalty takes a close look at one of the root causes of the Kings’ disconnect with their fans.

EL SEGUNDO, CA — These days, one has to wonder if Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi has added “professional gambler” to his job title.

Indeed, given the serious gambling he has been doing, both with his roster and with his relations with Kings fans, it’s not hard to imagine Lombardi spending hours on end at a high-limit blackjack table at a Las Vegas strip casino.

But whether he is being dealt winning hands or losing ones is a debatable question.

For those who support the rebuilding efforts, Lombardi is clearly being dealt winning hands the majority of the time.

But for those who view his rebuilding efforts, his emphasis on youth, and his free agent acquisitions, among other actions, as a recipe for disaster, Lombardi is entering the third year of a losing streak that is so bad that he has not won a single hand while losing a fortune the size of the gross national product of United States. Read more of this post

LA Kings Dean Lombardi Answers His Critics

The following is the first in a series about Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi, his rebuilding plan and how it is being received by fans.

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The 2008 off-season has been a relatively quiet one for the Los Angeles Kings. To be sure, outside of the 2008 National Hockey League Entry Draft in June in which they selected, according to most pundits and hockey media outlets, one of the strongest draft classes, the Kings have been virtually silent in terms of free agent signings and trades.

Indeed, the Kings have a defensive corps that has just three veteran players in Tom Preissing, Denis Gauthier and Matt Greene, with the rest being very young players, including Jack Johnson and Peter Harrold. Add to that the fact that the number six and seven spots could be filled from a crop of young prospects, including Drew Doughty and Thomas Hickey, and it becomes clear that experience is not going to be the strong suit of the Kings’ defensive unit in the coming season.

Clearly, unless the Kings can add another veteran defenseman to that mix—they are definitely in the market—they will be awfully inexperienced, not to mention that while some have a boatload of potential, none of the blue liners currently in the lineup jump out at you as being top-notch defensemen on a team that gave up goals in bunches last season.

The fact that the Kings do not have what many would consider to be an NHL-caliber blue line corps at present is among the many reasons Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi has had to don a flak jacket and helmet while trying to dodge heavy incoming fire from a very vocal segment of fans who are absolutely livid about the current state of the franchise, and that would be putting it mildly. Read more of this post


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