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2014-15 Los Angeles Kings: “Make The Playoffs First”

Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, shown here during their
2014 training camp on September 19, 2014, at the
Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — If you ask National Hockey League players, they will usually tell you that each season, their goal is to win the Stanley Cup.

But during the first day on the ice at the Los Angeles Kings 2014 training camp, that was not the case at all.

“Make the playoffs first,” said head coach Darryl Sutter. “That’s the first significant step.”

To be sure, that formula has worked for the Kings in two out of the last three seasons.

In 2011-12, the Kings qualified for the playoffs by the skins of their teeth as the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference.

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LA Kings Open Their 2014 Training Camp – In Photos

The Los Angeles Kings hit the ice for first time during their 2014 training camp on September 19, 2014,
at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

 

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Frozen Royalty was on hand at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California for the first on-ice sessions of the Los Angeles Kings 2014 training camp on Friday, September 19, 2014.

65 players were split into two groups, one skating in the morning, the other in the afternoon.

Photographer David Sheehan was there to capture images from both sessions and you can view his photos below.

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Frozen Royalty Audio: LA Kings 2014 Training Camp – Day 1 Interviews

The Los Angeles Kings hit the ice for first time during their 2014 training camp on September 19, 2014, at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Los Angeles Kings hit the ice for the first time during their 2014 training camp on Friday, September 19, 2014, at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.

Frozen Royalty was on-hand for both the morning and afternoon practice sessions and spoke with (in order of appearance) Jonathan Quick, Marian Gaborik, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Darryl Sutter, Matt Greene and Tyler Toffoli.

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LA Kings Have A Power Forward In The Making In Michael Mersch

AUDIO AND VIDEO: Story includes a video interview with Michael Mersch and an audio interview with Los Angeles Kings assistant general manager Rob Blake.


LA Kings left wing prospect Michael Mersch,
shown here playing for their AHL affiliate,
the Manchester Monarchs.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Blake Gumprecht

EL SEGUNDO, CA — For many, many years, the Los Angeles Kings were grossly deficient in the areas of drafting and developing young players. Of course, they were so bad at drafting players that their dreadful player development usually didn’t matter.

But all that has changed since President/General Manager Dean Lombardi joined the club in April 2006. He quickly made drafting and development one of the top priorities of the franchise. That focus has paid off in spades, and now, the Kings are now one of the top teams in the National Hockey League when it comes to drafting and developing their young prospects.

Evidence of that can be seen on the 2013-14 roster, which includes the likes of Drew Doughty, Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez, Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli and Slava Voynov, among others, all of whom are homegrown players—some are late-round draft picks— who are now filling significant roles, and it doesn’t stop there.

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