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LA Kings Brayden McNabb Looks Like An Improved Player

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Brayden McNabb, 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 — Last season, young defenseman Brayden McNabb got off to a somewhat rocky start to his second full season in the National Hockey League. In fact, he was a healthy scratch for the Los Angeles Kings in their season opener against the San Jose Sharks (5-1 loss) due to what head coach Darryl Sutter characterized as a “rough training camp.” The now-25-year-old, 6-4, 212-pound native of Davidson, Saskatchewan didn’t score his first goal that season until December 6, 2015, a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

What a difference a year makes.

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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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Third Time’s The Charm: LA Kings Drew Doughty Wins 2016 Norris Trophy

LA Kings Defenseman Drew Doughty
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — As the saying goes, the third time’s the charm.

That was indeed the case for Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, who was named as the 2016 recipient of the James Norris Memorial Trophy today at the National Hockey League’s Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Norris Trophy is awarded annually to “the defenseman who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”

To top things off, Doughty was also named to the NHL’s 2016 First All-Star Team.

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LA Kings Anze Kopitar: “It Only Comes Down To Winning Or Not.”

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

EL SEGUNDO, CA — On April 22, the Los Angeles Kings gathered at their practice facility where they met with the local media, lamenting their first round playoff loss to the San Jose Sharks, who eliminated them in five games.

Even worse, although the scores were close in all but Game 5, there were long stretches in the other games where the Sharks dominated, at times, making the Kings look like they didn’t belong.

“Teams in this league are pretty good,” said center Anze Kopitar. “You can’t just think that you’re going to come in and just roll over everybody. I think San Jose was a good example. They just flat out played better hockey than we did. They got timely goals on their power play and we weren’t as sharp as we wanted to be on the penalty-kill and on the power play. That’s what usually makes the difference.”

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