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LA Kings: Lewis Stepping Up, Muzzin Seeks Consistency, Sutter Issues Another Challenge – VIDEO

LA Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin (foreground), shown
here during practice on February 22, 2013, at the
Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Kasey Spatz/SpatzShots

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Outside of the first and second periods in Chicago on February 17, the Los Angeles Kings have started to put things together after a rough start to the abbreviated 2013 season.

Prior to February 10, the Kings were struggling badly, earning just a 3-4-2 record after nine games. But after that, they are 4-2-0, with a loss at Detroit, a game in which they arguably played their best hockey this season, and the aforementioned loss at Chicago, in which the Kings were missing in action until the third period, but almost came all the way back from a 3-0 deficit.

Head coach Darryl Sutter pointed out that his team’s progress has been a bit slow.

“I knew, coming [into the season], that opening [day, a 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at Staples Center on January 19] wasn’t going to be about the game,” said Sutter. “It was going to be about the ceremony, and that held true. Then, we went to Colorado, and played pretty well, but made a couple of mistakes in the third period. That set the [tone] for where we are.”

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For The Los Angeles Kings, It All Comes Down To Getting Dirty

Los Angeles Kings left wing Dustin Penner will return
to the lineup on February 2 at Anaheim after
sitting out four games.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — For those who may be wondering, the headline for this story does not mean what you might think. Rather, it has become a repeated, old refrain that has often been heard in the Los Angeles Kings’ dressing room in recent seasons.

Indeed, the Kings really do need to get dirty. More specifically, they are getting very few opportunities to score the “dirty goals” to this point in the abbreviated 2013 season. The result? A meager 2-2-2 start to the season.

A dearth of scoring chances from the prime scoring areas was most evident this season in the Kings’ last game on January 31, when they dropped a 2-1 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators at Staples Center.

“We had a lot of offensive zone time, but it was a lot of cycles,” said forward Jeff Carter. “We really didn’t get much off it.”

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For LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi, “Constructive Paranoia” Is Much More Than A Catchphrase

Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi.
Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images
and the Los Angeles Kings

EL SEGUNDO, CA — A little over six years ago, when Dean Lombardi took over as President/General Manager of the Los Angeles Kings, the team was, for all intents and purposes, a mess, both on the ice and off.

Lombardi’s plan, to tear down the team completely and rebuild it through the draft, not to mention completely changing the culture of organization, generated significant support from fans.

But Lombardi also drew the ire of many detractors who claimed that a championship team could not be built without bringing in established stars, and as the team struggled and failed to make the playoffs in his first three season at the helm, the numbers of his detractors seemed to grow exponentially, and their voices grew louder and louder.

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Sluggish Start By Los Angeles Kings Was All Too Predictable

LA Kings left wing Dustin Penner (right), shown here with goaltender
Jonathan Quick (left), during a recent practice session.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — Following the Los Angeles Kings’ third period collapse, resulting in a 3-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Denver on January 22, based on the reaction across the World Wide Web, one would think the sky is falling, Dustin Penner is back to being the worst player in the history of the game, and the Kings are doomed.

Of course, in an abbreviated season, every game counts that much more, and there is almost no time for a team to catch up if they dig themselves into a hole early in the season.

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