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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-Anaheim Ducks: Second Round Playoff Series Preview

AUDIO INTERVIEWS: Includes audio of May 2 post-practice interviews with Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, forward Dustin Brown, defenseman Jake Muzzin, and head coach Darryl Sutter.


Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin (right) shined during the first round playoff series
against the San Jose Sharks, much to the surprise of many fans.

 

EL SEGUNDO, CA — With all the talk over the past couple of days about a true rivalry that will be established between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, now that the two teams are finally meeting in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the anticipation going into the series is palpable.

But beyond the hype, the game is played on the ice, and one team must win four games to advance to the conference finals.

For the Kings to accomplish that goal, they must clamp down defensively on the team that led the National Hockey League offensively during the regular season, averaging 3.21 goals per game, compared to the Kings’ 2.42 goals per game (ranked 26th in the league).

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Are The LA Kings On The Right Track For 20-Game Sprint To The Finish?

AUDIO: Includes audio interviews with Drew Doughty, Alec Martinez, Willie Mitchell, Jake Muzzin, Jarret Stoll and Justin Williams.


LA Kings right wing Justin Williams: “This time of year is when we play our best hockey. These last twenty games is playoff time.
It’s time to show up.”
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — Even though the Los Angeles Kings have won all three of their games since the National Hockey League returned to the ice following the Olympic break—they have won four straight games overall—they know their game is not yet where it needs to be. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that they have picked up their game since the break ended.

“We wanted to have a good start coming out of the break,” said defenseman Alec Martinez. “It’s no secret that we weren’t happy with our game before the break started.”

“We’re scoring goals, and we’ve been playing our game, the last three games,” added Martinez. “That’s certainly a good sign, but we’ve got twenty more to go. We’ve got to keep it going.”

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