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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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Perseverence Finally Pays Off For LA Kings Defenseman Prospect Andrew Campbell

AUDIO INTERVIEWS: Includes audio interviews with Los Angeles Kings right wing Jordan Nolan, goaltender Martin Jones, head coach Darryl Sutter, and defenseman Andrew Campbell.


LA Kings defenseman prospect Andrew Campbell.
(click above to view larger image)

EL SEGUNDO, CA — At the risk of raining on rookie defenseman Andrew Campbell’s parade, even he knows that he isn’t likely to be with the Los Angeles Kings for very long, especially if defenseman Drew Doughty’s suspected shoulder injury heals soon.

That said, the 6-4, 206-pound native of Caledonia, Ontario made his National Hockey League debut on April 5, in Vancouver, where the Kings lost, 2-1.

That’s an accomplishment that no one can take away or diminish. Nevertheless, some might think, “big deal! We always hear stories about a young player making his NHL debut, and they’re all pretty much the same.”

The difference here is that Campbell has toiled in the American Hockey League with the Manchester Monarchs since he was selected by the Kings in third round (74th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Indeed, Campbell has been stuck in the minors for nearly six years, an unusually long time for an NHL prospect, even for a stay-at-home defenseman who is the antithesis of the term, “flashy.”

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LA Kings Defenseman Alec Martinez Has Become A Difference-Maker

AUDIO INTERVIEWS: Includes audio interviews with Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez and Willie Mitchell.


LA Kings defenseman Alec Martinez (foreground) checks Minnesota Wild forward Erik Haula.
(click above to view larger image)

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Often times, the hockey gods work in strange, mysterious ways, and for a long time, they were not smiling down upon Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez.

Whether it was one of a handful injuries, or falling out of favor with head coach Darryl Sutter, Martinez has been out of the lineup for some fairly lengthy stretches.

During the lockout-abbreviated 2013 season, the 6-1, 209-pound native of Rochester Hills, Michigan played in just 27 out of the Kings’ 48 games, scoring one goal and contributing four assists for five points, while sitting out seven regular games, from February 12 – March 4, 2013.

More importantly, Martinez was on the sidelines for most the 2013 playoffs, appearing in just seven of the Kings’ 18 playoff games (four games vs. St. Louis, two vs. San Jose, and one vs. Chicago).

This season was going much the same way for Martinez, who missed action from October 18 – November 12, 2013, sitting out seven games. He also sat out from December 29, 2013 – January 4, 2014, missing four games, and from January 12 – 16, watching one game in street clothes.

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