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LA Kings’ Improvements May Not Be Easy To See

LOS ANGELES — One month of the 2008-09 National Hockey League season is in the books and the Los Angeles Kings have been pretty much what was expected in terms of wins and losses.

As of this writing, the Kings have a 3-6-1 record, good for seven points. They are ranked last in the Pacific Division, already eleven points out of first place, and in the Western Conference standings, the Kings are also dead last—both are right where they were last season.

Against the rest of the league, the Kings are ranked 28th in the thirty-team NHL, just two points ahead of the last place New York Islanders.

The Kings ended the 2007-08 season in 29th place, tied in points with last-place Tampa Bay.

In short, the Kings are right about where most people expected them to be, showing no significant improvement in the standings over the previous season so far. But if you think the Kings have not improved over last season, guess again. Read more of this post

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Kings Come Up With The Effort, But Not The Win Against Flames

LOS ANGELES — The faces were long and the air was thick with disappointment in the Los Angeles Kings’ dressing room following their 3-2 defeat at the hands of the streaking Calgary Flames in front of an announced crowd of 16,279 fans at Staples Center on Saturday night.

The reason for the slumped shoulders and dejection came just 1:18 after Kings forward Oscar Moller scored his second goal of the game at 14:04 of the third period to tie the game, 2-2.

At the 16:23 mark, Flames center Daymond Langkow took advantage of a defensive lapse by the Kings to score an easy goal that gave the Flames their final margin of victory. Read more of this post

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

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