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LA Kings vs. San Jose Sharks: 2014 First Round Playoff Preview/Predictions

LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty is itching to get back into action against the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

EL SEGUNDO, CA — It’s that time of year again.

It’s the time of year when hockey fans all over are either at games, or are glued to a television set somewhere watching Stanley Cup Playoff games, and probably not just games in which their favorite team is playing in.

Indeed, this is the best time of year for hockey fans, and that sentiment is shared by National Hockey League players and coaches as well.

“This is the best time of the year,” said Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar. “Everybody gets excited for it, and it’s no different for us.”

But the players cannot allow that excitement—the visions of Stanley Cups dancing in their heads—to distract them from their immediate goal, which is winning the next game, and focusing exclusively on that.

For the Kings, their first round series begins tonight against the San Jose Sharks, at SAP Pavilion in San Jose (7:00 PM; televised in Southern California on Fox Sports West, and nationally on the NBC Sports Network).

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LA Kings Honor Their Past: Retired Trainer Pete Demers Gets Stanley Cup Ring

Retired LA Kings head athletic trainer Pete Demers received a 2012 Stanley Cup Ring from
the team last week.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — With National Hockey League teams opening rookie camps this week, and with training camps opening next week, the 2013-14 NHL season is just about upon us, and our focus will, of course, quickly turn to the teams and their players.

But before Frozen Royalty begins its coverage of the 2013-14 Los Angeles Kings, starting with Friday’s media day during their Rookie Camp (players are expected to be on the ice at 10:00 AM today at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California), there is one bit of news left from their 2011-12 Stanley Cup Championship to catch up on.

As many are aware, former Kings greats Marcel Dionne and Rogie Vachon each received a Stanley Cup ring from the team during the opening day festivities on January 19, 2013, at Staples Center.

As reported in this space last February, Dionne said that receiving the ring was, “…the closing chapter in my hockey life.”

Vachon said that, “…I had absolutely no idea, no clue, that it was coming. It was just incredible.”

Another Kings alumnus had to wait just a bit longer for his Stanley Cup ring, one who worked 2,632 consecutive games over 34 seasons with the Kings (37 years with the franchise), and was as deserving as anyone.

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There’s A Silver Lining In LA Kings’ Failed Defense Of 2012 Stanley Cup Championship

“Sometimes you have to lose again to remember how hard it was to win.”
LA Kings right wing Justin Williams
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — More than one week has passed since the Los Angeles Kings were bounced out of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Chicago Blackhawks, who took the Kings out in a rather decisive five games in the Western Conference Final.

Since that time, the Stanley Cup Final has begun, with the Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins tied, with one win each, heading into Game 3 in Boston (tonight, 5:00 PM PDT; televised on NBC Sports Network, CBC, RDS). Meanwhile, Kings players are already into the summer routine, many having already left Southern California for home.

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Poor Playoff Performance Shows That LA Kings Anze Kopitar Is Not An Elite Player…Yet

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — At this time last year, the Los Angeles Kings were basking in the glory of their first Stanley Cup Championship in what was then the 45-year history of the franchise.

The team raced through the playoffs, earning an astounding 16-4 record, including ten straight road victories, and they accomplished all that by staying healthy, and getting contributions from everyone in the lineup. But as the old saying goes, a team’s best players have to be their best players in order to achieve post-season success, and that is exactly what the Kings got from goaltender Jonathan Quick, defenseman Drew Doughty, and forwards Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar.

But one year later, the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks are in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, which begins tonight in Chicago. Indeed, the Kings failed to defend their Stanley Cup Championship after being eliminated in the Western Conference Final by the Blackhawks in five games, and in a more convincing fashion than the game scores may have indicated.

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