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Contrary To Popular Belief, LA Kings’ Jake Muzzin Is Becoming A Solid NHL Defenseman

COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin has been under the microscope this season, so much so that he has become the favorite target of many fans who are highly critical of him and his play. But his play during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the increased responsibilities placed on his shoulders, are strong evidence that much of that criticism is unwarranted.


LA Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin, shown here checking
Chicago Blackhawks superstar center Jonathan Toews.

EL SEGUNDO, CA — If there is anything you can bank on when the Los Angeles Kings are in action, at least this season, it has been that social media will be abuzz with criticism of defenseman Jake Muzzin, who has been the frequent, almost constant target of the wrath of Kings faithful when things are not going well for the team.

Some limit their complaints to individual plays, when an obvious mistake was made, while others seem to believe that he is a catastrophe on skates, the worst defensemen to have ever picked up a hockey stick.

In fact, the criticism has been so intense that a Twitter hash tag was created for whenever Muzzin does something perceived to be negative: #MuzzKill.

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On The Brink Of Elimination, LA Kings Must Figure Out That It’s Not Just About Themselves

LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.

ANAHEIM AND LOS ANGELES, CA — After taking a 2-0 lead in their second round playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks, the Los Angeles Kings have dropped three straight games, and face elimination tonight when they host the Ducks in Game 6 at Staples Center in Los Angeles (6:30 PM PDT; televised on NBCSN in the United States; TSN and RDS in Canada).

What has been surprising about the Kings so far in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs is that the best defensive team in the regular season has been anything but in the post-season.

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LA Kings Rookie LW Tanner Pearson Is Flying As High As His Confidence Has Soared

AUDIO INTERVIEWS: Listen to audio from May 7 interviews with Tanner Pearson, Drew Doughty, Jarret Stoll and head coach Darryl Sutter.


LA Kings rookie left wing Tanner Pearson, shown here during practice on May 7, 2014, at the Toyota Sports Center in EL Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — In case you haven’t noticed, Los Angeles Kings rookie left wing Tanner Pearson has been flying during the playoffs…almost literally. He has been more effective during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs than at any point during the regular season, making plays and using his speed, which, all of a sudden, appears to be his most dangerous weapon.

Conventional wisdom suggests that a young player like the 21-year-old Pearson should find it more difficult to be effective in the National Hockey League playoffs than it was during the regular season. Nevertheless, the converse has been true for Pearson, who has scored a goal and has contributed three assists for four points, with a +5 plus/minus rating and four penalty minutes in seven playoff games.

Compared to this time last year when Pearson played just 5:44 in Game 3 against the San Jose Sharks, the 6-1, 200-pound native of Kitchener, Ontario has come a long way in just one season.

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LA Kings vs. San Jose Sharks: 2014 First Round Playoff Preview/Predictions

LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty
(click above to view larger image
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — It’s that time of year again.

It’s the time of year when hockey fans all over are either at games, or are glued to a television set somewhere watching Stanley Cup Playoff games, and probably not just games in which their favorite team is playing in.

Indeed, this is the best time of year for hockey fans, and that sentiment is shared by National Hockey League players and coaches as well.

“This is the best time of the year,” said Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar. “Everybody gets excited for it, and it’s no different for us.”

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