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Rob Blake, Luc Robitaille Have Much To Build Upon As New Leadership for LA Kings

From left to right: Dan Beckerman, President/CEO. Anschutz Entertainment Group; Luc Robitaille, President, Los Angeles Kings; Rob Blake, Vice President/General Manager, Los Angeles Kings.
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Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — On April 11, the new leadership of the Los Angeles Kings made their debut during a press conference at Staples Center in Los Angeles, where they discussed the need for change.

But before he looked ahead, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) Dan Beckerman, praised former Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi and former head coach Darryl Sutter, who were fired on April 10.

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LA Kings: Dealing With Frustration On Two Levels All Season

Los Angeles Kings left wing Tanner Pearson, shown here at a recent practice.
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO AND LOS ANGELES, CA — With nine games left and being eight points out of a wild card playoff berth, the Los Angeles Kings’ playoff chances are virtually non-existent. But they’re not eliminated and to their credit, they continue to claw, scratch and fight.

“We’re still alive,” said left wing Tanner Pearson. “We’ll take it game-by-game and focus on two points at a time.”

“We’ve got to win every game,” said defenseman Jake Muzzin. “We’ve got to play with emotion and desperation. [Against Winnipeg on March 23], coming out in the third period, I felt like we were attacking. We’ve got to start games like that and play that way for the full 60 minutes.”

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LA Kings Adrian Kempe Needs “A Bit More Purpose Or Dig In His Game” Despite Good Debut

Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Adrian Kempe
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Although his National Hockey League debut came and went without fanfare, Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Adrian Kempe provided glimpses of what he might bring to the Kings some day, despite their 5-3 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on February 16 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The 20-year-old, 6-2, 202-pound native of Kramfors, Sweden did not record a point and earned a -1 plus/minus rating in 15:19 of ice time against the Coyotes.

“It was tough, but I think I played all right,” said Kempe, who was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft. “I was a little bit nervous [early], but I think I got into it pretty quick. I just tried to play my game.”

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LA Kings: Dean Lombardi’s Plan For Dustin Brown Appears To Be Working

Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — Last June, when the Los Angeles Kings announced that center Anze Kopitar would replace winger Dustin Brown as captain, Brown was not happy about the change, even though he said that he respected the decision and fully supported Kopitar.

At the time, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi said that one of the reasons for the change was to help Brown get his game back after struggling since the team won the 2012 Stanley Cup Championship.

“The other part that’s critical, and like I told him, when you have a responsibility for 23 guys, he perfectly recognizes that for us to be successful, as a team, he has to get his game back to where he’s capable,” said Lombardi. “[Even though] he hasn’t produced at the level he’s certainly capable [of], I don’t think it’s been his effort. In a lot of cases, it’s that he tries so hard and is so critical of himself. He puts enormous pressure on himself.”

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LA Kings Are Showing Signs Of Shaken Confidence, Frustration, Tension

LA Kings Defenseman Drew Doughty
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — After an embarrassing 4-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in front of a sell-out crowd of 19,230 fans at Staples Center on Thursday night, one has to wonder if the team unity and strength of character that the Los Angeles Kings have become so well known for since they won the Stanley Cup in 2012 has begun to fray.

Indeed, the frustration and tension seemed palpable as soon as the game ended.

As soon as the final horn sounded, Kings players skated to goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, as they usually do with whomever is in goal. But Zatkoff, who had been victimized by blatant turnovers and blown coverages by Kings skaters on all four Detroit goals, appeared to want to have nothing to do with that. In fact, he skated straight to the bench—quicker than usual—and into the dressing room, appearing to completely ignore his teammates.

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