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Los Angeles Kings: Too Early To Panic Despite Slow Start

ALSO: Will Alec Martinez return to the lineup tonight against Ottawa? Willie Mitchell talks about complacency, and video interviews with Colin Fraser, Trevor Lewis, and head coach Darryl Sutter.


Los Angeles Kings right wing Justin Williams shared
ome very strong words about his team’s
play so far this season.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO AND LOS ANGELES, CA — After a 1-2-0 start to the still very young 2013-14 National Hockey League season, a quick spin through the World Wide Web forums where the Los Angeles Kings faithful congregate indicates that while many are not concerned with the team’s poor start, a significant number are already in panic mode.

Indeed, some fans are already pointing fingers, and railing against the performance of various players. Some have singled out goaltender Jonathan Quick. Even head coach Darryl Sutter has been under the microscope—some have commented that they believe he has lost control of his team, and has been tuned out by the players.

One word can be used to address such beliefs…

Really?

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LA Kings Defenseman Keaton Ellerby: “You’re Always Battling For A Spot”

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Keaton Ellerby
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — In this space on September 14, I reported that defenseman Alec Martinez, one of the Los Angeles Kings’ defensemen who could be the odd man out once the 2013-14 National Hockey League regular season begins due to the Kings’ current surplus of players on their blue line, indicated that he is not worrying about his shaky situation.

“You’ve just got to focus on your own game,” said Martinez. “Get your own game in order so that you’re playing well, and let the chips fall where they may.”

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LA Kings Comeback “Kids:” Willie Mitchell and Jeff Schultz

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — As we move into the seventh day of the Los Angeles Kings 2013 Training Camp, only four of the team’s defensemen are guaranteed to be in the opening night lineup in a few weeks.

Drew Doughty, Matt Greene, Robyn Regher, and Slava Voynov are locks to be patrolling the Kings blue line come opening night. That leaves three or four roster spots for players such as Keaton Ellerby, Alec Martinez, and Jake Muzzin to battle each other for.

Two players trying to make comebacks of sorts are also in the mix, including veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell, who is working his way back into shape after sitting out for more than a year due to two surgical procedures on his knee.

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LA Kings Defenseman Alec Martinez Is Not Concerned About Shaky Status

TRAINING CAMP COVERAGE: Story includes audio and video interviews from Day 2 of the Los Angeles Kings 2013 Training Camp.


Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Going into their 2013-14 training camp, it is no secret that the Los Angeles Kings are currently over the National Hockey League salary cap, and they have also exceeded the league-wide roster limit, primarily due to the fact that they have nine defensemen on their active roster.

Simple math should tell you that something’s got to give. But NHL teams have until the start of the regular season to get under the salary cap and down to the roster limit, and for the time being, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi is quite calm, despite the predicament.

“[We will] let it play out,” said Lombardi. “We’ll see. We’ll take too many. I’d rather be in this situation.”

“To me, defensemen are like good pitchers,” Lombardi added. “You can’t have enough of’em, so I’d rather deal with this problem than the other one, so we’ll see how it plays out, and part of that is Willie [Mitchell]’s health (he passed his physical examination, and has been cleared to play, but will likely have to play some catch up in terms of his physical conditioning].”

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