Waking up with the Kings: November 25 - LA Kings Insider

The opponents change, but the same sad sack story continues for the reeling LA Kings. Returning from a road trip to see Colorado and Vancouver snuff out their faint life in a Pacific Division in which any sustained pulse makes one a playoff contender, they’ve refused at virtually every juncture to build on any stepping stones or take advantage of a cushy, Staples Center-heavy schedule. On Saturday, they wasted an opportunity to gain points at home from a divisional opponent that had lost eight straight games and precariously teetered from a flimsy standings perch above. And though there were some advances in structure and movement and tempo, not to mention the silly term of “emotional investment,” they were still spaced out and laissez-faire at the game’s climax, leaving Dion Phaneuf to issue a post route to Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar that was picked off by Elias Pettersson for a sharply released go-ahead goal. Jeff Carter had caught the underside of the crossbar shortly before Pettersson’s marker, if you were looking for a play that has painfully summed up Los Angeles’ season to date.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

With what Matt Luff, 21, is doing right now, he should basically be used in every opportunity that builds his game and confidence. It was good to see Willie Desjardins return to the Hagelin-Kempe-Luff combination that had built chemistry and provided offense while on the road. If he continues to work, maybe there’s power play time in his future. Let’s not stop there. Luff should literally work in every situation. There are traffic flow issues around the 10 and 110 freeway interchanges; he should fix those. Maybe NASA is hiring. He shows great promise in building and overseeing our country’s exploration of the cosmos, and I promise to vote for him to construct a modern new fleet of spacecraft. Let’s See More Of Matt Luff.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

There’s a lack of skill and playmaking ability in this the lineup, and when they’ve trailed in games – something they’ve done disproportionately this season – they’ve played more stretched-out than is generally comfortable for a traditionally structured and defensive team. The third period Tyler Toffoli turnover to Markus Granlund, similar to the Phaneuf turnover, is the symptom of a number of players not working in concert as compact, up and down-ice units, and served as another early scuff mark in their efforts to work faster and make more plays moving up and down the ice. It did not result in offense; against a team that took the ice yielding nearly 32 shots a game, Los Angeles could only put 22 on Jacob Markstrom, who has allowed at least five goals four times this month.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

The Kings worked on their power play on several different days this week, trying to build innate execution through repetition. The power play did score – Drew Doughty’s shot caught nearly as many deflections and caroms as Happy Gilmore’s game-winning putt – but also seemed reliant on wristshots from beyond the tops of the circles without much movement to the right or left. On the other side, Sam Gagner scored on virtually the same tic-tac-toe passing sequence that Nathan MacKinnon scored on seven seconds into a Colorado power play Wednesday night, a move followed by the body language and reactions by units that have been burned at both ends by its recent special teams spiral.

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


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.