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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.
(click above to view larger image)
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 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 Gambling On Reunification and Chemistry Against Divisional Rivals

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

EL SEGUNDO, CA — On their recent seven-game road trip, the Los Angeles Kings earned a 3-2-2 record even though they had to shuffle their forward lines after both Dustin Brown and Tyler Toffoli suffered injuries, forcing them out of the lineup.

Brown returned for the final two games of the trip, but Toffoli remains out of the lineup and did not join the team on their Tuesday afternoon flight to Vancouver, where they will play on Wednesday night, followed by a game at Edmonton on Thursday.

Head coach Darryl Sutter said that Toffoli would not even be examined by doctors again “…for at least a week.” As a result, he has reunited center Anze Kopitar with Brown and Marian Gaborik on a forward line.

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Derek Forbort Has Been A Pleasant Surprise For LA Kings

LA Kings defenseman prospect Derek Forbort
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Although he isn’t lighting up the league, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Derek Forbort has exceeded expectations to this point in the 2016-17 National Hockey League season.

The 24-year-old, 6-4, 216-pound native of Duluth, Minnesota has surprised many with one goal and eight assists for nine points, a +4 plus/minus rating and 34 penalty minutes in 28 games this season—numbers not expected from the stay-at-home defenseman who came into the season with low expectations.

Forbort, who was selected by the Kings in the first round (15th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, has been seeing more ice time since defenseman Brayden McNabb suffered an upper body injury on October 29 at St. Louis, and so far, he has shown some improvement, even though, as it often happens with young players, he has his share of good and bad moments.

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