Los Angeles Kings Are Holding On By A Quickly Unraveling Thread As They Face Elimination

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar, shown here during a recent practice
session, has scored just two goals in his last 33 games
(17 playoff games and 16 regular season games).
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings are in Chicago, hours away from a win-or-go home Game 5 matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks, who lead their best-of-seven Western Conference Final playoff series, 3-1.

The Blackhawks, even without their top defenseman, Duncan Keith (suspended), used their superior speed and surprisingly strong physical play to force the Kings into numerous turnovers and to keep Kings forwards on the perimeter throughout most of Game 4, a 3-2 Chicago victory that was not as close as the score might indicate.

Indeed, the disparity in quality scoring chances fell heavily in favor of the Blackhawks, who could have easily won this game by a two or three-goal margin, if not for the strong play of Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, even though the Blackhawks’ first goal by forward Bryan Bickell was a soft goal.

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Frozen Royalty Audio: LA Kings Turnover A Game 4 Win To Chicago Blackhawks

LOS ANGELES — Despite twice leading the game by one goal, turnovers proved too costly for the Los Angeles Kings, who dropped a critical 3-2 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of their Western Conference Final series.

With the loss, the Kings’ backs are against the wall heading into Game 5 in Chicago on Saturday (5:00 PM PDT, NBC), with the Blackhawks holding both a commanding 3-1 lead in the series along with all the momentum.

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Dean Lombardi: LA Kings Are A “Playoff-Type Team”

LOS ANGELES — Before Terry Murray took over as head coach, the Los Angeles Kings were a mess. They could score goals, but they gave up so many more that they found themselves hurtling into the abyss, ending the 2007-08 season tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning with 71 points in the standings, the fewest number of points out of the thirty teams in the National Hockey League.

That team scored 2.76 goals per game (GPG), ranked thirteenth in the league. But they allowed 3.21 GPG, ranked 28th in the league, just 0.03 GPG better than the league-worst Lightning and the Atlanta Thrashers. Read more of this post

Dean Lombardi: The Time To Make A Big Splash May Be Now

COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS: The following is the first in a series of stories based on an interview with Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi. Look for Part 2 later in the week.


Dean Lombardi
Photo: LA Kings

LOS ANGELES — Anyone who follows the National Hockey League knows that Atlanta Thrashers superstar left wing Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract expires on June 30, 2010, and that the Thrashers risk losing him if they are unable to sign him to a contract extension prior to that date.

To this point, the Thrashers have been unable to reach an agreement with Kovalchuk, who many believe is waiting to test the free agent waters in July, and rumor has it that Thrashers general manager Don Waddell is testing the trade waters to try to make sure that if Kovalchuk refuses to sign, that the Thrashers will, at least, get something in return.

That has led to furious, wild speculation in recent days regarding teams that may be in the running for Kovalchuk’s services, and the Los Angeles Kings, with their young, up-and-coming team and enough salary cap room to fit Kovalchuk into their plans, are rumored to be among the favorites.

Many Kings fans are drooling all over themselves, both figuratively and literally, at the thought of seeing Kovalchuk in a Kings jersey. But the question is:

Will Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi pull the trigger? Read more of this post

July 1 Was The Time For Dean Lombardi To Gamble

COMMENTARY: Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi filled a hole on July 2 with the signing of unrestricted free agent defenseman Rob Scuderi but still has a huge, gaping hole to fill on left wing. Should he have gambled on one of the top free agents on July 1?


LOS ANGELES — After day two of the National Hockey League’s annual feeding frenzy, otherwise known as the first couple of days when teams can sign unrestricted free agents, the Los Angeles Kings have filled a need on their blue line.

On July 2, they agreed to terms with veteran defenseman Rob Scuderi, 30, who just won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins, to a four-year deal that is reported to be worth $13.6 million, an average of $3.4 million per season—a nice raise from the $725,000 he earned last season.

The 6-0, 218-pound defenseman scored a goal and added fifteen assists for sixteen points with a +23 plus/minus rating and eighteen penalty minutes in a career-high 81 regular season games last season.

In the playoffs, Scuderi scored a goal and tallied four assists for five points with six penalty minutes in 24 games, averaging 20:29 of ice time. Read more of this post

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