2011-12 Year-In-Review: Can LA Kings Forwards Reach The Next Level After Stanley Cup Win?

Looking ahead to 2012-13, can Los Angeles Kings star center Anze Kopitar, shown here during the team’s
Stanley Cup Championship Rally on June 14, 2012, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, avoid the prolonged
slumps that have plagued him throughout his career?
(click to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — Although it certainly ended with a huge bang, the 2011-12 season was one of struggle for the Los Angeles Kings, given the fact that they qualified for the playoffs by the skins of their teeth.

Indeed, the Kings’ inability to score goals, a problem that plagued them until the trade deadline in February, almost cost them an invitation to the post-season party, and would likely have resulted in a shake-up in the Kings front office (see 2011-12 Los Angeles Kings Year-In-Review: Front Office Turnaround Set Stanley Cup Run In Motion, and 2011-12 Year-In-Review: Doughty Holdout, Failure To Execute In Offensive Zone Almost Sunk LA Kings Early).

But, as detailed in the previous story in this multi-part series that looks back on the Kings’ 2011-12 season, they put it all together in the final six weeks of the season, earning an 11-4-3 record, good for 25 points, securing the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference, setting up their dominant run to the first Stanley Cup Championship in the 45-year history of the franchise.

In part 4 of Frozen Royalty’s 2011-12 Year-In-Review, it is now time to evaluate the players, coaches, and management. In this installment…the forwards. Read more of this post

Los Angeles Kings Will Need Repeat Performance From Third and Fourth Lines Against St. Louis Blues

Los Angeles Kings rookie right wing Jordan Nolan (foreground)
has not looked out of place so far in post-season play.
(click to view a larger image).
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Looking back at the Los Angeles Kings’ first round playoff series win over the Vancouver Canucks, the first things that come to mind are the play of right wing Dustin Brown, and goaltender Jonathan Quick.

There was also a series-winning overtime goal scored by center Jarret Stoll, which, by itself, is significant. But that goal has even greater significance when you look below the surface.

“If you look at the series we just finished, if you think about it, you want to handle the three big guys on their team, even though [center] Ryan Kesler didn’t have as a big a year, numbers-wise,” said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. “Even strength goals—they didn’t score one, the Sedins and [Kesler]. From our side of it, we got five goals from Jarret Stoll, Dustin Penner, Trevor Lewis, and Brad Richardson, so it’s not always about stars. In fact, we just showed that it wasn’t.” Read more of this post

Jeff Carter Isn’t The Only Big Factor In Los Angeles Kings’ Recent Surge

Rookie right wing Jordan Nolan (left), a lowly seventh round draft pick in
2009, has been quite the surprise for the Los Angeles Kings.
Photo: David Sheehan

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — After the first couple of months of the 2011-12 season, if anyone told you that they expected the Los Angeles Kings to be in first place in the Pacific Division and third in the Western Conference this close to the end of the regular season, they probably would have poked your eye out with their rapidly growing nose.

But now, with just eight games left in the regular season, those liars would be prophets, as the Kings are, in fact, on top of the Pacific Division, and in third place in the West after winning their last six games, and earning a 10-3-0 record over their last 13 games. Read more of this post

Los Angeles Kings Need Early-Season Version Of Mike Richards To Return

Center Mike Richards has struggled since returning from a concussion on December 22, 2011. The Los Angeles Kings desperately need him to regain his early-season form.
Photo: David Sheehan

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — With an assist on Dustin Penner’s goal at 17:46 of the second period, giving the Los Angeles Kings their final margin of victory in a 3-1 win at Tampa Bay on Tuesday night, center Mike Richards ended an eight-game point scoring drought.

Richards’ performance in this game may have been his best since returning to the lineup after missing eight games due to a concussion that he suffered on December 1, 2011, when the Kings handed the visiting Florida Panthers a 2-1 defeat.

But since returning on December 22 (a 3-2 shootout win against the Anaheim Ducks at Staples Center in Los Angeles), Richards has been a mere shell of his former self. Read more of this post

Key To Unlocking The Los Angeles Kings’ Offense Is Getting Pucks, Bodies To The Net

Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown spoke extensively with the media following practice on
January 11, 2012, at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California.
Photo: David Sheehan

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — On January 9, the Los Angeles Kings, owners of the worst offense in the National Hockey League, averaging just 2.09 goals per game, miraculously scored five goals against the Alexander Ovechkin-led Washington Capitals, in a decisive 5-2 victory, shocking a sell-out crowd of 18,118 fans at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

That night, fans were so thoroughly shocked at the Kings’ offensive explosion that throughout the arena, they were pinching each other to make sure they weren’t dreaming. Some made appointments with psychiatrists, fearing that they were suffering from some sort of mental breakdown. Others were fearful that the end of the world was upon us, and began to get their affairs in order.

Seriously speaking, that massive offensive output from the Kings was a rarity this season. After all, they have only scored three goals or more (during regulation play) twelve times in 43 games this season (through games played on January 11). Read more of this post

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