Waking up with the Kings: February 27 - LA Kings Insider

There’s not a great deal more to be said that hasn’t been said since about the LA Kings since the second or third week of the season, even as some details change. They’ve lost nine in a row. And though their team game may have been relatively healthy a week or two ago, they lost 6-1 in two of their last three games, scored only one goal in three of four and allowed their 10th power play goal since the losing streak began in Boston on February 9. Their two most significant investments, Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar, have been on the ice for 19 and 18 goals against in all situations. For the second straight game after Rob Blake placed an onus on the veterans to be “just as competitive” as the younger players, the team was again slower to pucks early, and the Trevor Lewis line was on the ice for 10 of the 21 first period shot attempts, while the combination of Ilya Kovalchuk (1 CF, 11 CA in 8:40 5×5 TOI), Jeff Carter (2 CF, 15 CA) and Tyler Toffoli (3 CF, 16 CA) was ineffective throughout. Sure, they’d emptied the tank in Tampa, and the red-hot Hurricanes, led by Dougie Hamilton and the underrated Jaccob Slavin on Tuesday, are clicking and rejuvenated. But it’s bizarre to think that there are still questions about investment and purpose and drive when they’re looking to end the third-longest losing streak in club history, and that they continue to perform wretchedly in front of Jonathan Quick.

Karl DeBlaker/NHLI

With sincere respect to Willie Desjardins, an NHL, Olympic and World Juniors head coach and a Calder Cup and two-time Ed Chynoweth Cup champion, I’m fine with Quick showing some fire in the absence of the first period challenge on Hamilton’s goal. Nothing else seems to be sparking the team at this point; maybe this demonstrative event provides some kind of twilight rallying cry. The teams’ personnel are not on equal playing fields, but when the 2014-15 team shut Darryl Sutter out of the locker room after a win in Tampa, they went on to win a franchise-record eight in a row. Something like that is fantasy at this point, but perhaps Quick restarted the pistons that allow this club to climb out of the nosedive they’re currently in. My initial reaction upstairs while watching Hamilton’s goal live was that Quick had been interfered with. After viewing the replays, it looked like Dion Phaneuf did help channel Saku Maenalanen into Quick, and that the goal would probably be upheld. But I didn’t think the interpretation would be cut-and-dry, and one never knows with the somewhat subjective and non-linear precedent in the history of goaltender interference verdicts. Desjardins showed good character by acknowledging after the game that he should have challenged the play.

Karl DeBlaker/NHLI

What a gift Don Cherry gave to Carolina by calling them a “bunch of jerks” and denouncing the Storm Surge, catalyzing at the perfect time a young and improving team whose captain, Justin Williams, has transferred his personality into the organizational DNA while creating a savvy and effective marketing campaign. This has resonated among Hurricanes fans, a unique and highly loyal fanbase that might get a few extra chances to tailgate this spring. Last night’s game, a Tuesday night cross-conference non-rivalry match-up, drew a larger crowd than I remember seeing during weekend PNC Arena dates, speaking to the initial success at which the team has capitalized on this opening. By winning a playoff round or two, Bunch of Jerks becomes the Rat Trick or the Rally Monkey, an organic sports talisman whose legacy is built through postseason success. A series between Carolina and Washington or Tampa (RIP, Southeast Division) would provide highly compelling match-ups.

Karl DeBlaker/NHLI

–Lead photo via Karl DeBlaker/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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