Team's focus has improved from two years ago, Brown says - LA Kings Insider

The Los Angeles Kings aren’t just hoping that success begets success, they’re looking to prove it.

While much of the talk in the off-season that followed the club’s second Stanley Cup in three seasons detailed the continued construction of a burgeoning team culture, there’s still the efforts of many of the other 13 teams in the Western Conference who loaded up to put themselves in the best possible position to disrupt any plans the Kings have of repeating.

Centers were acquired. Ryan Kesler moved a thousand miles down the coast and joined Anaheim. Chicago will get minutes out of Brad Richards, not Michal Handzus, as a second line center. Jason Spezza will give Dallas an awfully potent one-two punch down the middle along with Tyler Seguin.

While the Kings laid low during much of the off-season arms race, they’ll benefit from the experience of recent successes. While they struggled with the proverbial targets-on-their-backs early in their lockout-shortened 2012-13 title defense, there is confidence throughout the dressing room that they’re more ably prepared to tackle the sudden commencement of the regular season and the unique challenges that have kept all teams since the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings from repeating as league champions.

“I think our attitude’s different,” captain Dustin Brown said. “Having gone through it once before – granted, it was a little different with the lockout and everything that that entailed – I think our attitude as a group is a lot different than it was after we won it in 2012.”

“I think we’re a much more focused group than we were two years ago.”

To quote Darryl Sutter, “It’s not that hard to figure out.”

“I mean, it’s just like anything else. Experience,” Brown said. “Everyone talks about experience, and I think it goes a long way that we’ve gone through that experience together. Individual experience is one thing, but having a group of guys together that have gone through it together, I think that experience is much more valuable than individual experience guys have accumulated over their careers.”

That collective experience, as Brown articulated, allowed for younger players who weren’t a part of the 2011-12 team – Jake Muzzin, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson are among them – to quickly assimilate and buy in.

“Yeah, I think that’s where the experience of the group comes in,” Brown said. “They weren’t here the first time…But nonetheless we’re here, and if everyone has that focus and that attitude, a couple guys will pick up on it and kind of erase it.”

Though the team opens the season only 117 days after it paraded the Stanley Cup around the Staples Center ice, there was little to no dawdling during the truncated offseason.

“I’ve been really impressed with all of them, what they did this summer and their mindset coming back,” Sutter said on September 20.

Whether it has been the preparation, the experience, or the willingness to continue to forge ahead as a group, the Kings appear to be getting their game in place to where it needs to be for the season opener. Preseason records are meaningless, but it’s better to be 5-0-1 (Los Angeles’ record) than 0-5-2 (the record of Colorado, tonight’s opponent), and there don’t appear to be any concerns over individual or team play.

“As players, you don’t put much weight in the outcome of games in preseason,” Brown said. “It’s more about getting yourself ready, and if you’re getting yourself ready, everyone’s doing that then together – getting our team game in order coming back after a break – that’s all what preseason is for, is getting ready for October 8th.”

And, as the team hopes, the readiness to continue to embody the focus and intangibles that have led to such a stark outburst of success.

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

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


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.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

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


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.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

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


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.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

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


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.