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LA Kings D Prospect Alex Roach Is Quickly Earning Trust, Gaining Confidence With Ontario Reign

AUDIO: Story includes audio interviews with Ontario Reign head coach Jason Christie and Los Angeles Kings defenseman prospect Alex Roach.


LA Kings defenseman prospect Alex Roach, shown here
during the Kings’ 2014 training camp.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — The name, Alex Roach might not be familiar, but if he plays his cards right, and if the Los Angeles Kings guessed right back in 2011, he might be wearing a Kings jersey in a few years.

Roach, a left-shot defenseman prospect, played four seasons for the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League, but was not drafted by a National Hockey League team. He was, however, invited to the Kings’ 2011 training camp, and turned enough heads to earn a three-year, entry-level contract, signed on September 26, 2011.

Roach played three more seasons with the Hitmen after that, and had a five-game stint with the ECHL’s Ontario Reign (Kings ECHL affiliate) at the end of the 2013-14 season.

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2013-14 Was A Solid Development Year For LA Kings Goaltender Prospect Patrik Bartosak

LA Kings goaltender prospect Patrik Bartosak
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Around this time last year, Los Angeles Kings goaltender prospect Patrik Bartosak wowed spectators with a stellar performance during the second game of the 2013 rookie tournament against the Anaheim Ducks, making several difficult saves, bailing out his teammates time and time again.

Bartosak led the rookie Kings to a 3-2 shootout win over the rookie Ducks, allowing one goal on 26 shots in two periods of work. But even though Mathias Niederberger played in the third period (a planned move), Bartosak faced the most difficult of the Ducks’ scoring chances, most of which came during a very poor first period by the Kings rookies, who were badly out-skated, outworked and out-chanced.

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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 Rookie Goalie Martin Jones Has Come A Long Way From The North Shore Winter Club

LA Kings rookie goaltender Martin Jones
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — As he left the ice after earning his first National Hockey League shutout in a 3-0 victory over the New York Islanders on December 7 at Staples Center in what was just his second NHL game, goaltender Martin Jones entered the dressing room while his teammates chanted his name.

In two games, Jones has won both contests, the first coming at Anaheim, a 3-2, nine-round shootout win on December 3. In those games, Jones earned an 0.97 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage.

Those are magnificent numbers, to be sure. However, given the small sample size, they do not mean a whole lot. Even so, it represents a tremendous, near-fairy tale start to a young goaltender’s NHL career.

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