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Los Angeles Kings: Anze Kopitar Returns From Serious Injury With Higher Expectations

PRE-TRAINING CAMP COVERAGE: Frozen Royalty continues its pre-training camp coverage with a look at Los Angeles Kings star center Anze Kopitar, his recovery from a serious leg/ankle injury near the end of the 2010-11 regular season, and his outlook for the coming year.


Los Angeles Kings star center Anze Kopitar spoke with the media about his recovery from a broken right ankle and torn ligaments during the Los Angeles Kings HockeyFest ’11 event at Staples Center in Los Angeles on September 11, 2011.
Photo: David Sheehan

LOS ANGELES — Late last season, although they were not exactly leaving a trail of melting ice behind them at the time, the Los Angeles Kings were heading into the playoffs with serious hopes of at least advancing to the second round.

But on March 26, 2011, when star center Anze Kopitar suffered a broken right ankle and torn ligaments in a freakish fall late in the second period of a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche, Staples Center became as quiet as it has ever been during a game, as everyone in the building knew what Kopitar meant to the Kings and their playoff chances.

When Kopitar was helped off the ice and down the tunnel to the Kings dressing room, one could feel the air being sucked out of the building. Indeed, at that instant, fans were crestfallen, realizing that their team’s hopes of getting out of the first round of the playoffs were, for all intents and purposes, doomed. Read more of this post

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LA Kings Head Coach Terry Murray Talks Prospects, Goaltending, And The Return Of The Trap

FROZEN ROYALTY EXCLUSIVE: In Part 5, the final installment of a series based on an exclusive interview with Los Angeles Kings head coach Terry Murray, he talks about the chances for the Kings’ young prospects, such as center Andrei Loktionov, to make the big club’s opening night roster. He also discusses the loss of some of the Kings’ prospects to European leagues, his team’s goaltenders, and he warns of the return of the neutral zone trap…or a variation thereof.


Los Angeles Kings head coach Terry Murray (right) talks with (from left) Kyle Clifford, Willie Mitchell and Trevor Lewis during practice at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
Photo: David Sheehan

EL SEGUNDO, CA — With the addition of veteran forwards Simon Gagne and Mike Richards this summer, the Los Angeles Kings have upgraded the talent on their first and second lines. Add to that the signing of veteran left wing Ethan Moreau, who joins centers Jarret Stoll and Brad Richardson up front—the Kings have plenty of veteran talent on their forward lines.

Then you have Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis, Scott Parse, and heavyweight enforcer Kevin Westgarth—these forwards will likely fill out the remaining left and right wing spots on the third and fourth lines.

There is also a yet unknown factor…center Colin Fraser, who was acquired in the trade that sent left wing Ryan Smyth back home to the Edmonton Oilers on June 26 . Even though the Kings have filed a grievance with the National Hockey League, alleging that the Oilers misrepresented his condition at the time of the trade, it is unlikely that any remedy will result in Fraser being returned to the Oilers. As such, it appears that young prospects, such as center Andrei Loktionov, among others, are going to have a fierce battle ahead of them to get ice time, let alone a spot on the Kings’ 2011-12 opening night roster. Read more of this post

Terry Murray: Added Talent Up Front Does Not Mean A New Style Of Play Is On The Horizon For LA Kings

FROZEN ROYALTY EXCLUSIVE: With the addition of center Mike Richards and left wing Simon Gagne over the summer, the Los Angeles Kings’ top two lines are both legitimate offensive threats, something head coach Terry Murray has not had at his disposal since his arrival in Los Angeles. What impact will they have on the team, and how will their presence change the Kings’ style of play? Also includes an update on veteran left wing Dustin Penner. Part 4 of a series.


Los Angeles Kings head coach Terry Murray outlines a drill for his players during practice at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
Photo: David Sheehan

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Since Terry Murray signed on as head coach of the Los Angeles Kings on July 17, 2008, his teams have had mixed results in the offensive zone, struggling to score goals in five-on-five situations.

Last season, the power play went south to join the five-on-five scoring, leading the Kings downward to rank 25th in National Hockey League in goals scored.

But with the addition of skilled, veteran forwards Mike Richards and Simon Gagne to the lineup—both were acquired earlier this summer—the Kings are expected to turn things around in the offensive zone in 2011-12. Read more of this post

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