Time For LA Kings To Press The Reset Button

Los Angeles Kings winger Dustin Brown
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography”]

EL SEGUNDO, CA — When the Los Angeles Kings practice at home, once their practice session ends, players trickle off the ice—Jeff Carter is usually the first—one here, two there, maybe three at a time.

But on February 5, after a lengthy practice session that lasted over an hour, those present at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California witnessed a very rare sight: all but five or six players streamed off the ice at once, heading into the dressing room.

The unusually rigorous skate was not punitive, even though the Kings dropped a 4-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks at Staples Center in Los Angeles the night before.

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LA Kings Looking For Improvement, Consistency After All-Star Break

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar
(click above for larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — With the National Hockey League’s All-Star break behind us, there is a bit of concern about the Los Angeles Kings as they enter February, a month in which they will play nine out 13 games on the road, including their annual Grammy road trip, a grueling seven-game road swing this time around.

Indeed, the team that led the Pacific Division by twelve points not so long ago has seen their lead drop to seven at the All-Star break.

The Kings’ lead over their division rivals has shrunk as they’ve sputtered in recent games—they have lost three out of their last five, and ended January winning just four of their last nine games.

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Luke Schenn Is Having The Desired Impact On LA Kings Defensive Corps

Newly-acquired LA Kings defenseman Luke Schenn spoke with
the local media for the first time on January 7, 2016.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Although center Vincent Lecavalier and defenseman Luke Schenn have only been in town for twelve days after being acquired by the Los Angeles Kings in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers, the Kings are already reaping the benefits of the deal.

As I reported previously on Today’s Slapshot, Lecavalier has given the Kings all that they’ve asked for, and to top it off, he has scored a goal in each of the last two games.

On the other side of the red line, Schenn has also made an impact for the Kings, despite his -2 plus/minus rating in those five games.

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LA Kings Darryl Sutter On Dustin Brown: “We Need Him To Play The Role That He’s Played For Us When We’ve Been A Successful Team”

LA Kings forward and captain Dustin Brown, shown here
addressing the crowd at Staples Center in Los Angeles during
the team’s 2014 Stanley Cup Championship Rally.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Los Angeles Kings are on a roll, having won five straight games, not to mention ending December with a franchise record in wins and points, earning a 10-3-1 record (21 points) last month.

The Kings end a stretch in which they will have played 16 of their last 22 games on the road tonight in Denver where they will face the Colorado Avalanche. But heading into tonight’s contest, the Kings have earned an impressive 9-4-2 record in the 15 previous road games with play that has been at least somewhat reminiscent of how they played during their playoff run in 2012, leading to the first Stanley Cup Championship in what was then their 45-year history.

Especially during their previous road trip in which they earned a 4-0 record against Phoenix, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary—all Pacific Division rivals, one player stood out, not only because of his strong play, but also because of his previous lack of production.

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LA Kings LW Michael Mersch Talks About Move Up To The NHL, First NHL Goal

LA Kings left wing Michael Mersch
(click above to view larger image)
Photo courtesy National Hockey League

EL SEGUNDO, CA — For many National Hockey League rookies, it takes dozens of games, often a lot more than that, for them to record their first NHL point, let alone score their first NHL goal.

For Los Angeles Kings rookie left wing Michael Mersch, it took just nine games.

The 6-2, 218-pound native of Park Ridge, Illinois scored his first NHL goal and tallied his first NHL point at the 5:42 mark of the second period on December 29, helping lead the Kings to a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place in Edmonton.

Mersch, whose game is trademarked by his net-front presence, scored the goal in typical Michael Mersch fashion, as he won a loose puck battle in the right corner, and then took the puck straight to the front of the net. Using a power move, he took the puck to the goalmouth and slid it between the leg pads of Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot.

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