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2011-12 Year-In Review: Coaching Change, Three Rookies, Big Trade Help LA Kings Reach For The Stars

2011-12 YEAR-IN-REVIEW: The Los Angeles Kings were struggling mightily, even after Darryl Sutter took over as head coach just before Christmas. Although things improved marginally, it took the recall of three rookies from the minor leagues, and a big trade, to allow the Kings to play the brand of hockey that would allow them to reach for the stars.


Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter (left), shown here with
center Anze Kopitar (center) and forward Jeff Carter (right)
during a practice session on May 9, 2012.
(click to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — After starting the 2011-12 season with sky high expectations, the Los Angeles Kings were in disarray. They were not anywhere near as successful as they should have been heading into the holiday season, just barely keeping their heads above water with a 13-12-4 mark on December 10, 2011, 29 games into the season.

Although they were not that far off the division lead, or even from first place in the Western Conference yet, that record left the Kings much closer to the cellar of both Read more of this post

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2011-12 Year-In-Review: Doughty Holdout, Failure To Execute In Offensive Zone Almost Sunk LA Kings Early

2011-12 YEAR-IN-REVIEW: A turnaround of sorts in the Los Angeles Kings front office set the stage for them to win the first Stanley Cup Championship in the 45-year history of the franchise. But there was a big, black cloud floating over their heads all summer long. Second installment in a series…


LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, shown here
speaking to the media on September 30, 2011, at the
Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California,
after signing an eight-year contract.
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — After a very productive 2011 off-season, highlighted by the acquisition of center Mike Richards from the Philadelphia Flyers in a blockbuster deal on June 23, 2011, sending right wing Wayne Simmonds, center Brayden Schenn, and a second round pick in the 2012 National Hockey League Entry Draft the other way (the Flyers traded the pick to the Dallas Stars), the Los Angeles Kings seemed to be set up to finally become a contender, not only for the top spot in the Pacific Division, but also for first place in the Western Conference.

But there was one big problem hanging over their heads from the end of the 2010-11 season…defenseman Drew Doughty was not yet signed to a new contract, and with him looking for a huge payday, the two sides were far, far apart on reaching an agreement.

As most feared, neither side budged during the summer, and Doughty became a contract holdout. An agreement was not reached until September 30, 2011, when Doughty made his first appearance on practice ice—he missed virtually all of the Kings’ training camp. Read more of this post

Los Angeles Kings Defenseman Alec Martinez Quietly Getting The Job Done, Especially On Power Play

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez has gone from
frequent healthy scratch to being a fixture on the blue line.
Photo: David Sheehan

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Since he was acquired by the Los Angeles Kings on February 24, 2012, forward Jeff Carter has had the desired impact, scoring five goals and adding two assists for seven points in nine games (through games played on March 15, 2012).

His presence also gives the Kings two dangerous lines for opposing teams to deal with, something they have lacked for what seems like an eternity. This has opened up space for center Anze Kopitar, who has four goals and five assists for nine points in the last eight games.

The Kings’ power play, which was ranked near the bottom of the National Hockey League rankings for most of the season, has improved to 17th, with a 16.5% rating, again, much of that attributed to Carter’s presence. Read more of this post

LA Kings React To Carter-Johnson Trade; Wait For Possible Other Skate To Drop

LA Kings newly-acquired forward Jeff Carter, shown here with the Columbus Blue Jackets after recording a hat trick during a 6-3 win over the San Jose Sharks on February 21, 2012, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
Photo courtesy: Los Angeles Kings

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The morning after the blockbuster deal that sent defenseman Jack Johnson, along with a conditional first round draft pick, to the Columbus Blue Jackets, in exchange for forward Jeff Carter, both determination and a bit of shock seemed to be apparent in the Los Angeles Kings dressing room following their practice on Friday.

With their horrendous play of late, a deal to shake things up seemed inevitable.

“I think we all thought something was going to happen,” said defenseman Drew Doughty. “We didn’t know who, or what, or anything like that. You never want to see anyone go, but it’s part of the business.”

“With the way we’ve been scoring goals, there was that possibility,” said right wing and team captain Dustin Brown. “There was the thought that we needed more goal scoring help. We’ve been stumbling lately, so that puts the pressure on a little bit.” Read more of this post

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