Waking up with the Kings: December 7 - LA Kings Insider

There wasn’t going to be any profound understanding gained from a meeting between the 27th and 31st place teams in the NHL, but those who attended Thursday’s game probably entered Staples Center thinking there would be at the least decent chance for victory against a team that entered the night with fewer wins than the home team and losers of six straight. They left disappointed, particularly so as the same issues such as special teams impotence continued unabated before the familiar post-game references to “emotion” and “competing” bored readers and listeners to tears to a much greater degree than the surprisingly un-Devils/Kings-like wide open play did. But, to say that there is any life in this team is an insult to the living. Drew Doughty spoke passionately again, answering similar questions to those that had been asked the game before, and the game before, and so on and so forth. He’s also a player that will dive to spectacularly deny cross-ice passes on two-on-ones, but with an opportunity to perhaps knock down Blake Coleman’s empty net attempt with the game already decided, chose not to lay out. I’m not sure if he really had an opportunity on that puck; we’ll never know, because he didn’t try.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

No one should buy the theory that this team is too talented to be in the place that they are. This is a 31st place team. Sure, they should probably be several standings slots higher, but this is a lineup without any consistent scoring and without much identity, never mind the convoy of injuries. Apart from several younger players recalled and affixed to the lineup, they’ve largely aged and plateaued while trends clearly depict a league getting younger and faster. One Anze Kopitar and one Drew Doughty does not make a contending team, even if they’d both played the first 29 games of the season at last year’s pace. This is the eighth season I’ve covered the Kings, and a second line of Brendan Leipsic with post-injury Jeff Carter and rookie Matt Luff is Los Angeles’ worst second line I’ve seen since joining the beat – and that even takes into account the chances Leipsic has been involved in (and finished off) over his first two games. We’re at the stage of competitiveness where there is disappointment that one of two players claimed on consecutive days off waivers does not have visa clearance yet, so please hold off on “this team is too talented for this.” The standings are accurate, give or take a few slots.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

Change comes to 31st-place teams. Tanner Pearson has been removed from the room. Because there are no indications that this team has the talent, direction or fortitude to pull out of this spiral, there will be additional familiar, appreciated players who will also be jettisoned. There have been calls for a rebuild; you’re standing on the precipice of one. No-movement clauses make this more challenging and will keep the most expensive players on the roster affianced to Los Angeles, but those without protection or on expiring UFA contracts will and have had their names brandied. Slow train comin’. Reform, Lamar, reform.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

–Lead photo via Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

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

Bio

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

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

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

Bio

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