Gann Matsuda On The Hockey Writers: LA Kings Must Keep It Simple Without Kopitar, Williams

LOS ANGELES — Although the Los Angeles Kings were not lighting the National Hockey League on fire by scoring goals in bunches before losing their top two scorers, the task at hand has become far more difficult. Read more of this post


Gann Matsuda On The Hockey Writers: From Top To Bottom, LA Kings Must Raise Their Level Of Play

LOS ANGELES — Those who are old enough to remember the CBS television show from the late 1960’s, The Wild Wild West, starring Robert Conrad and Ross Martin, should be able to relate very easily to what’s been going on in the National Hockey League’s Western Conference this season.

Indeed, the The Wild Wild West would be more than an accurate description of how tight the Western Conference standings have been from day one of the 2010-11 season to now, and it is likely that the West will remain as wild as ever right up to the final day of the regular season.

The Los Angeles Kings will have to do without right wing Justin Williams
for at least the next 3-4 weeks...maybe longer.
Photo: David Sheehan

The Los Angeles Kings find themselves smack dab in the middle of the action in The Wild Wild West, in sixth place with 88 points going into action on March 23, six points behind Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks.

But what makes the West so wild is that five teams are behind the fifth-place Chicago Blackhawks (also with 88 points), and just three points separates the fifth place team from the out-of-the-playoffs tenth place club, the Calgary Flames. Read more of this post

Gann Matsuda On The Hockey Writers: Will LA Kings Netminders Hold Up Or Collapse From All That Weight On Their Shoulders?

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Bernier makes a
save during a recent practice session.
Photo: David Sheehan

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Los Angeles Kings are currently in the Western Conference playoff picture, holding down the eighth and final playoff berth, through games played on March 6. But they are just four points behind the fourth place Chicago Blackhawks, and six points behind the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks, who are ranked third in the Western Conference. Read more of this post

Gann Matsuda On The Hockey Writers: Strong Play On The Road Gets LA Kings Back In The Hunt

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Los Angeles Kings have returned to Southern California following a six-game Eastern road swing in which they earned a respectable 3-1-2 record. But that was part of a larger nine-game stretch of games, all on the road, in which they emerged with a 5-1-3 record, earning 13 out of a possible 18 points. Read more of this post

Gann Matsuda On The Hockey Writers: Young Defenseman Alec Martinez A Surprise With LA Kings

LA Kings defenseman Alec Martinez has moved up from the AHL to become
a fixture on the Kings’ blue line.
Photo: David Sheehan

EL SEGUNDO, CA — So far this season, the Los Angeles Kings have been a surprise, but mostly for the wrong reasons.

Indeed, the Kings were expected to be among the top teams in the Western Conference. But after a stretch in November when they lost seven out of eight games, and an even more brutal stretch from late December through most of January when they lost ten out of twelve games, the Kings are struggling just to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot in the hyper-competitive Western Conference, even though they are 5-0-1 in their last six games, and 6-3-1 in their last ten.

Perhaps as big a surprise has been the play of young defenseman Alec Martinez, 23, who not only failed to make the Kings roster out of training camp, but was also a big question mark in terms of ever making the jump to the National Hockey League level. Read more of this post