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Dedication And Work Ethic Are Pushing LA Kings Prospect Maxim Kitsyn’s Development Forward

AUDIO: Story includes audio interviews with Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Maxim Kitsyn and Ontario Reign head coach Jason Christie.


LA Kings forward prospect Maxim Kitsyn, shown here
during the Kings’ 2014 training camp.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — Back in 2010, when the National Hockey League Entry Draft was held at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi was in a gambling mood.

For the Kings, that draft was highlighted by their selection of right wing Tyler Toffoli in the second round (47th overall).

Toffoli, now a Stanley Cup Champion, made it to the Kings to stay last season. But the Kings selected four other players in the 2010 draft, including defenseman Derek Forbort, who was their first round selection (15th overall), center Jordan Weal (third round, 70th overall), and defenseman Kevin Gravel (fifth round, 148th overall).

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LA Kings Committed A Major Blunder With Slava Voynov, But So Did Some Fans

LA Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, shown here during a recent practice session (prior to his suspension).
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

 

LOS ANGELES — As reported on Twitter, at virtually the same time, Orange County Register reporter Rich Hammond and LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen, followed a couple of minutes later by NHL.com writer Curtis Zupke, suspended Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov skated with teammates during the team’s game-day morning skate on December 2 at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California, a violation of the terms of his suspension imposed by the National Hockey League after he was accused of domestic violence on his wife in October.

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Frozen Royalty Audio With LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi – LISTEN

Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Dawn Mounce/DG Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — While the Los Angeles Kings held their annual HockeyFest event back on September 14, 2014, at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California, LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen and I had the opportunity to sit down with President/General Manager Dean Lombardi in his new office for what turned out to be about a 15-minute interview.

That interview spawned a three-part series of stories here on Frozen Royalty that, hopefully, you’ve already read about Lombardi’s role in the Kings’s recent success. If you take him at his word, he had nothing to do with it. Of course, that could not be farther from the truth, so yours truly reviewed what his plan was when he first joined the franchise, and then examined how it all turned out.

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LA Kings: It May Not Be About Dean Lombardi Now, But At One Time, It Was

COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS: How much truth is there behind Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi’s claim that, “…it ain’t me,” when discussing his role in his team winning two Stanley Cup Championships in the last three seasons? One look at the Kings’ team culture, which extends well beyond the dressing room, and has become just as important as the talent level of the team, will provide much of the answer. Final installment of a three-part series.


LA Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi, shown here addressing the crowd at their 2014 Stanley Cup Championship rally at Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 16, 2014.
(click to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty..net

EL SEGUNDO AND LOS ANGELES, CA — It didn’t take Dean Lombardi very long after his arrival in Southern California to lay out his plan for building the Los Angeles Kings into a perennial Stanley Cup contender. But what would probably surprise many, as reported in Part 2 of this series, acquiring high-end, skilled players was not at the top of the to-do list, even though that would have to happen at some point.

Instead, Lombardi stressed that his team would be built by drafting young players and taking the time to develop them—their skills and their character—in the minor leagues. He would build a team in which, as he said when he was hired on April 21, 2006, “…every one of them who puts on a Kings jersey, no matter where they go, feels ‘once a King, always a King.’”

As the Kings fought their way through the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, overcoming adversity became a common theme. Indeed, they had to claw and scratch their way back from a 3-0 series deficit in the opening round against San Jose to win that series, 4-3. They won three seven-game series in which they faced elimination, and they came back from two-goal deficits to win games time after time after time.

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