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Transition To North American Game Hasn’t Been Easy For LA Kings Prospect Maxim Kitsyn

LA Kings left wing prospect Maxim Kitsyn, shown here during the team’s
2013-14 training camp in October 2013.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

ONTARIO, CA — While the National Hockey League is off the ice during the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, other North American leagues are still on the ice, including the ECHL, where Los Angeles Kings left wing prospect Maxim Kitsyn is working to hone his skills.

Almost four years ago, Kitsyn, a native of Novokuznetsk, Russia who was 18 years of age at the time, came to Los Angeles for the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft, held at Staples Center. He was selected by the Kings in the sixth round (158th overall).

Back then, Kitsyn was already playing in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, and aside from a 32-game stint in the 2010-11 season with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors of the Ontario Hockey League, he remained in the KHL. As a result, for many NHL followers, he was out of sight, out of mind. He became a mostly forgotten Kings prospect.

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Gasper Kopitar: Forever Skating In Big Brother Anze’s Shadow

Ontario Reign center Gasper Kopitar, the younger brother of Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, scored the overtime
game-winner in his home debut, leading the Reign to a 3-2 victory over the San Francisco Bulls at
Citizens Business Bank Arena, in Ontario, California on January 5, 2014.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

ONTARIO, CA — Those who have brothers or sisters should be very familiar with sibling rivalry, and even having an older sibling who excelled in everything, and then having to follow in their footsteps with those huge shoes to fill.

If you think that’s bad, imagine being the little brother trying to live up to sky-high expectations set by an older brother who is among the best in the world in his chosen field or profession.

That is exactly what Gasper Kopitar has experienced throughout his life, dealing with stratospheric expectations as he follows in the footsteps of his older brother, Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar.

The older Kopitar, now 26 years old, is considered to be among the National Hockey League’s best players, and he has excelled at every level he has played at, whether it was back home in Slovenia as a teenager, two years in Sweden, and then in the NHL with the Kings, winning the Stanley Cup in 2012.

Those are enormous skate boots to fill, and the younger Kopitar indicated that unrealistic expectations nearly drove him away from the game for good.

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LA Kings Defenseman Prospect Nick Ebert Is Working To Make 7 A Lucky Number

Los Angeles Kings defenseman prospect Nick Ebert is currently
playing for their ECHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan

ONTARIO, CA — The Ontario Reign clinched the ECHL’s Pacific Division title back on March 9, and with their first round playoff opponent and schedule already set, young defenseman Nick Ebert, just up from the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League (Canadian junior hockey league), is getting a chance to show the Reign, and more importantly, their parent club, the Los Angeles Kings, what he can do.

Ebert, 18, was selected by the Kings in the seventh round (211th overall) of the 2012 National Hockey League Entry Draft. The 6-1, 207-pound native of Livingston, New Jersey scored eleven goals and tallied 27 assists for 38 points in 68 games with the Spitfires this season.

Ebert’s best season with the Spitfires was in 2010-11, when he scored eleven goals and added 30 assists for 41 points, with 44 penalty minutes and a -2 plus/minus rating.

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LA Kings LW Kyle Clifford Has A Dual Role With ECHL’s Ontario Reign

Left wing Kyle Clifford, who would normally be playing for the
NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, is skating with the ECHL’s
Ontario Reign during the NHL lockout.
(click to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan

ONTARIO, CA — Already leading the Alaska Aces, 1-0 early in the second period of a game on December 1, 2012, at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California, a familiar face to those who follow the Los Angeles Kings, scored a highlight-reel goal to give the ECHL’s Ontario Reign a 2-0 lead.

Left wing Kyle Clifford, who won the Stanley Cup last season with the Kings, scored that goal when he fought off Aces defenseman Alain Goulet. Clifford skated across the low slot, and as he spun, he managed to wrist the puck top shelf, beating Read more of this post

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