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LA Kings’ New Head Coach Gets Analytical About His Team’s Offensive Woes

LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty (right) receives instruction from then-associate head coach John Stevens (left).
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — As it was when the Los Angeles Kings introduced Rob Blake as their new general manager, offense, or more accurately, the lack thereof, was the most discussed topic when the team introduced their new head coach, John Stevens, who had been an assistant coach under Terry Murray and associate head coach under Darryl Sutter.

Early in the press conference on April 24 where he was introduced to the local media, Stevens said something that has been plainly evident for a long time: that the Kings don’t get pucks or bodies to the middle of the ice or the front of the net anywhere enough.

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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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An Heir of Resiliency

The following is a story I originally wrote for the English section of the Rafu Shimpo, the Los Angeles Japanese Daily News (founded in 1903), on a freelance assignment. It was published in their print edition on November 30, 2016, and they have graciously allowed me to reprint the story here.


Los Angeles Kings right wing Devin Setoguchi
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Photo: Juan Ocampo/Courtesy Los Angeles Kings via Getty Images

EL SEGUNDO, CA — When he was playing youth hockey in Canada, Devin Setoguchi’s favorite player was a fellow Japanese Canadian, superstar Paul Kariya, who played for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks (now the Anaheim Ducks) from 1994-95 to 2002-03, before finishing his National Hockey League career with the Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues.

Today, Setoguchi, 29, is playing for the Los Angeles Kings, hoping to complete a comeback story that would add another chapter to a family legacy in Canada that began in Vancouver, British Columbia, and includes his paternal grandparents having to survive incarceration in a horse stable nearly 75 years ago.

Setoguchi grew up in Taber, Alberta, on a farm that was established by his paternal grandparents, who lived in Vancouver until World War II when they were forcibly removed from their home and community.

Indeed, Canadians of Japanese ancestry, along with their immigrant parents, were unjustly incarcerated during World War II—more than 22,000 people in all—in Canadian concentration camps, in similar fashion to the unjust incarceration of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans and their immigrant parents in American concentration camps and other confinement sites.

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Ontario Reign’s First Season In AHL Deemed A “Rousing Success” – Part 2

Left wing Adrian Kempe is just one of several LA Kings prospects
developing their skills with the AHL’s Ontario Reign.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — As previously reported in Part 1 of this story on June 16, moving their American Hockey League affiliate more than 3,000 miles from Manchester, New Hampshire to Ontario, California was a great success in many ways for the Los Angeles Kings.

But more specifically, about one year later, it is clear that the greatest, most positive impact for them has been how the move west has affected the development of their young prospects—preparing them to become National Hockey League players.

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Kevin Gravel Is Moving Up The LA Kings Depth Chart Fast

LA Kings defenseman prospect Kevin Gravel
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO AND LOS ANGELES, CA — One thing that has been virtually automatic with Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter is that he is a negative feedback kind of guy when it comes to talking about young players.

Indeed, Sutter chooses to tear them down rather than sing their praises, as his way of motivating them. In fact, he has stuck to this method of motivating his young charges so much that when he does say anything even remotely positive about a young player, it comes as a shock.

As such, when Sutter recently offered praise of defenseman prospect Kevin Gravel, who was recalled from the American Hockey League’s Ontario Reign on February 11, without hesitation, shock and astonishment ensued.

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