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Los Angeles Kings: Pre-Season Opener A Winner

ANAHEIM, CA — Don’t look now, but just four days into their 2007 training camp, the pre-season schedule has already begun for the Los Angeles Kings, and on Thursday night, they eked out a 5-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks in front of an announced crowd of 16,973 fans at Honda Center in Anaheim. Read more of this post

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Los Angeles Kings 2007 Camp Underway

EL SEGUNDO — The Los Angeles Kings are starting their 2007 training camp a bit earlier than other National Hockey League teams, with the exception of their neighbors about 35 miles to the south.

Why? They start the season with two games against their Stanley Cup Champion neighbors, the Anaheim Ducks, in London, England on September 29 and 30, and before that, they will play two exhibition games in Salzburg, Austria on September 25 and 26.

As such, the Kings (and Ducks) were given a head start on the rest of the league, and on Monday, they opened their training camp at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California. But the Kings will spend just nine days in Southern California before they leave town for their first road pre-season game at Colorado on September 19.

And even before that, they begin their pre-season schedule just three days into training camp at Anaheim on September 13.

With just three days before their first exhibition game, Kings head coach Marc Crawford and his staff have had to plan very carefully, and they wasted no time in drilling the systems the Kings will play this season into their players’ heads. Read more of this post

LA Kings Goalie Prospect Fukufuji Is Proud Of Season As He Looks Forward

The following is an expanded version of a story I wrote for the English section of the Rafu Shimpo (Los Angeles Japanese Daily News), which was originally published on February 21, 2007. It is reprinted here with permission.


LOS ANGELES — No one in their right mind, not even Japanese goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji himself, thought he would be wearing a National Hockey League uniform this season, not after just two full seasons in North American minor leagues after coming over from Japan in the summer of 2004.

But that is exactly what the 6-1, 180-pound native of Kushiro, Japan did when he became the first player born in Japan to play in an NHL game on January 13, 2007, when he came on in relief of Los Angeles Kings goalie Barry Brust in a 6-5 loss at St. Louis.

“I was so nervous,” said Fukufuji, 24. “But when the coach came to me during the second intermission, he said, ‘Have fun. Don’t be nervous.’ That helped.”

“This was my first time playing in the NHL,” added Fukufuji, who was selected by the Kings in the eighth round (238th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. “I was so nervous but I was pretty excited, too. It was fun. And I did my job.” Read more of this post

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