My weekly feature on LAKings.com examining the parity in the Western Conference is now available by following this link.

Keep in mind that last year’s Western Conference Finals participants, Los Angeles and Phoenix, were respectively seventh and 12th in the conference after 48 games a season ago. Though Chicago is on an unprecedented run in the Salary Cap Era, the competition throughout the rest of the conference remains incredibly tight as three points separate fourth-place Los Angeles from 11th-place Nashville.

Other comments on the conference’s parity that weren’t used in the article:

Darryl Sutter, on whether there’s an added mental element in persevering through the shortened schedule:
“I think so. I think we’ve talked about that lots in parts of parking and riding, right? So that’s what you do.”

Drew Doughty, on the conference’s parity:
“Yeah, this year’s tough. You can’t take any game off. In the past, you could let one game here and there slip, even though you don’t really want to, but now you just look at the scoreboard. [Saturday] night, if we would have won, we could’ve been all the way up in fifth or something like that, and now that we’ve lost, I’m sure we’re maybe not even in a playoff spot after [Sunday]. It’s tough, and every single game matters so much. We need the two points, no matter what.”

Mike Richards, on parity:
“I think it comes down to consistency, and who can play their game the most consistent on a nightly basis. Usually the team that plays obviously the best is going to win. When you don’t play well, you’re not going to win. Whoever is going to make the playoffs is whoever can go with the most amount of games with playing their best.”

Richards, on the mental strength needed in the tight standings:
“I think it doesn’t allow you to take a break and rest and get complacent. You know that you have to play your best every game to stay in the race. We just won five in a row, or lost one in six, and we’re in the playoffs now. So I think that just shows what kind of consistency you need really just to make the playoffs.”

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Alec martinez

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 210 lb | Age: 29

Born: July 26, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester Hills, MI, USA
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Martinez was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 Draft, while playing for Miami University. He has since become a two-time Stanley Cup champion and the 17th man in Stanley Cup playoff history to score the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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