April 10, 2012 2:15 pm

Kings want to reach `next level’

Colin Fraser, Dustin Penner, Rob Scuderi and Justin Williams have won the Stanley Cup. Jeff Carter, Matt Greene, Mike Richards and Jarret Stoll have all been to the Finals. No player though, drafted and developed by the Kings and on this year’s team, has even been to the second round of the playoffs. If the Kings hope to develop properly, and fulfill Dean Lombardi’s long-stated prophecy of building a long-term winning team, that needs to change quickly. The young core of the Kings — Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick, in particular — need to experience some winning in the playoffs. So far, they have a 4-8 record in two series. It’s been a slow, patient building process, but the Kings’ window for winning is now open, and in pro sports, a team never knows how long that window will stay open. The Kings have achieved something solid by making the playoffs for the past two seasons. Now, they know, it’s time to build off those experiences.

BROWN: “Part of getting to the next level is losing. We lost in the regular season for two or three years, and then we finally figured out what it takes. I think it’s no different in the playoffs. Everything is just more magnified, and you learn a lot quicker. What you learn in six or seven games in the playoffs, it takes a couple years (in the regular season). We’ve had two years in a row, now, where we’ve had opportunities to give ourselves a better opportunity, later in the series, to have the upper hand and we let it slip by. Now, it’s important for us to give ourselves an opportunity to get that upper hand. We have some different personnel in here a little bit, and some guys have been through it and understand what happened in the last couple years here.

“We’ve had the experience of the last couple years. Now it’s important to apply that this year and bring attention to every little thing, every detail that we’ve learned as a group over the last couple years. I think it’s important for this team, this year, to take it one game at a time. I think maybe that’s been part of our… Last year, we’re up 4-0 (against San Jose) and guys start thinking about the next game and it’s 2-2 (in the series). So, it’s important for us to focus, both individually and as a group, on each game. Right now, it’s a one-game series and that’s Wednesday.’’

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