LA Kings: No Quick? No Problem

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, shown here
during practice at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Looking back to a cold, dark night in Buffalo, New York on November 12, 2013, Los Angels Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick suffered a grade 2 groin strain in a game against the Buffalo Sabres, forcing him to miss significant time.

Media, pundits and fans—just about everyone predicted that the Kings would go into a tailspin without their superstar goaltender. But what happened next surprised shocked the hockey world, as Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones stepped up to backstop the Kings to points in 17 of their next 19 games, putting the Kings in position to go on to win the 2014 Stanley Cup Championship.

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LA Kings Are Looking To Exorcise Their Demons From The 2015-16 Season

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar, shown here during an October 2016 practice at the
Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — With opening night for their 2016-17 National Hockey League season upon them, the Los Angeles Kings would like to exorcise their demons from last season by forgetting all about the way they played down the stretch.

Indeed, the Kings flew through much of the season, leading the Pacific Division for a long, long time. But not only did they blow a 14-point lead in the standings, once they clinched a playoff berth after a win over the Boston Bruins at Staples Center in Los Angeles on March 19, 2016, they went into the tank the rest of the way. In fact, they struggled to a poor 4-6-1 record in the final eleven games of the regular season. To make matters worse, three of those wins came against Pacific Division bottom-dwellers, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, with the fourth win coming against a disinterested Anaheim Ducks team that had already clinched the Pacific Division title.

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Jeff Zatkoff Has Come Full Circle With LA Kings

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, shown here during
their 2016 Training Camp at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — For Los Angeles Kings faithful, if the name “Jeff Zatkoff” doesn’t ring a bell, beyond the fact that he played for the 2016 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, it should.

Indeed, Zatkoff got his start in professional hockey with the Kings, who selected him in the third round (74th overall) of the 2006 National Hockey League Entry Draft. But that was also the year that they selected goaltender Jonathan Bernier in the first round (11th overall), and one year prior, they selected Jonathan Quick in the third round (72nd overall).

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Adrian Kempe Is Getting A Long, Hard Look At Center During LA Kings Training Camp

Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Adrian Kempe, shown here
during their 2016 Training Camp at the
Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — After spending the vast majority of the 2015-16 season on left wing with the American Hockey League’s Ontario Reign, Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Adrian Kempe is playing center in the Kings’ 2016 Training Camp, which has been more than a bit of an adjustment for him.

“Until I was 15, I played center my whole life,” he said. “Then, mostly the wing. Last year, I played 15-20 games at center.”

“I’m playing center right now, so it’s tough,” he added. “I played left wing almost all last year, so it’s been tough to play in the middle. But I’ve felt more and more comfortable after each game. I got better and better in the defensive zone, and better in terms of puck possession, too.”

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Simplicity Is Key For LA Kings Defenseman Prospect Derek Forbort

LA Kings defenseman prospect Derek Forbort
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft was a deep one, with a vast majority of the first round picks making to the NHL to stay.

But the same cannot be said for the 15th overall pick in that draft, Los Angeles Kings defenseman prospect Derek Forbort, who played 14 games with the Kings last season, but was a healthy scratch more often that not.

Back in June 2010, with the draft held at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi referred to Forbort as a “project.”

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