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Posted On Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 5:11 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Kings' Brown, Williams, Stoll all say their healthy

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – One by one, key veterans of the Los Angeles Kings popped their heads out the door of their practice facility locker room a day before training camp opened.

Captain Dustin Brown, Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll all pronounced themselves ready to go Wednesday after offseason medical issues. The scariest was Stoll's seizure incident at his home in July. Stoll said he underwent evaluations for three weeks and has since felt fine.

"Everything looks normal, 100 percent," Stoll said. "Just for peace of mind, I guess - I feel good. I feel healthy."

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Posted On Thursday, 06.06.2013 / 2:13 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Toffoli made magazine cover in unusual way

LOS ANGELES -- Tyler Toffoli first got a text message from his father, Rob. Then the texts came in from his friends.

Toffoli made news.

No, this wasn't after a big goal or a big play. The Los Angeles Kings forward was on a regional cover of this week's Sports Illustrated -- upside down, to be exact, on the receiving end of a hit by Marcus Kruger of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Yes, Toffoli has been posterized.

"I think my dad maybe texted me and everyone else texted me so it was kind of funny," Toffoli said after the morning skate Thursday. "It's not a big deal. It's hockey. You get hit. It's a pretty funny picture, to be honest."

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 1:13 AM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Quick's save on Bickell could be a turning point

LOS ANGELES – It was a game saving save and perhaps a series-changing save, and it also meant much more to the Los Angeles Kings.

Late in the third period with a 2-1 lead to protect, Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell found himself with the puck on his stick and a gaping chance to tie the score and send Game 3 of the Western Conference Final into overtime.

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick somehow got his right leg down and his blocker up to stop the shot. The sellout crowd might still be digesting it and enjoying it on replay. Quick did not have that benefit.

"On the initial shot, I kind of got bumped a little and spun a little off angle, so I wasn't really able to put the rebound where I wanted to, so it ends up on his stick," Quick said. "You're just trying to cover net and get fortunate and it hits your blocker. Obviously, it was a big save at the time. You got to get lucky sometimes. It was good."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 3:54 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Title defense hangs in balance for Kings in Game 7

LOS ANGELES -- During last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs, Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter veered from routine and held morning skates at Staples Center instead of the team's South Bay practice facility. He wanted his team to get a feel for a "big-game day."

Though the Kings played in many high-intensity games on the way to the Stanley Cup last spring, they never had to play a game facing elimination. In that respect, Sutter will get what he wished for Tuesday night in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinal series against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN).

"This is for a chance for us to defend what we have," Kings forward Justin Williams said. "There's certainly butterflies. There's everything that you can imagine. Every play's magnified and every play will be magnified, and you don't want your last game to end on a loss. You want to have good memories of the way you played in your final game.

"[The Cup run] came as a surprise last year. But this year there's a big target. There's a sense of satisfaction if someone knocks off the defending Stanley Cup champs. We don't want that to happen."

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 6:28 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Kings confident heading into Game 7 vs. Sharks

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Anze Kopitar never has played a Game 7 in the NHL. He's among a group of young Los Angeles Kings who developed in the organization long after the franchise's prior Game 7, back in 2002.

But Kopitar played many Game 7s in his head when he grew up in Slovenia and dreamed of a stage like Tuesday, when the Kings will play the San Jose Sharks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals at Staples Center (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

"I got blood under my skin just like a Canadian," Kopitar said Monday. "I don't think it's any different over in Europe either. Everybody wants to be in these types of games, and you want to raise the level of play and eventually you want to be the hero in these types of games. It's going to take a great effort [Tuesday], and we're looking forward to it."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.25.2013 / 6:14 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Kings hope to end road woes at Shark Tank

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – There are few secrets to unearth by the time a series gets to Game 6. All the storylines have played out and it’s one or two plays that make the difference.

But the Los Angeles Kings have not been able to make that play go their way at HP Pavilion for quite some time. They last won there against the San Jose Sharks in Game 5 of the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinal series, which they lost. Including the Stanley Cup Playoffs, L.A. is 0-4-3 in its past seven games in San Jose.

Captain Dustin Brown and teammates intend to change that and close out the semifinals against the Sharks in Game 6 on Sunday night.

“We’re preparing to go up there and win,” Brown said. “We don’t want to go up there and steal a game. We want to go up there and win a game. Your game plan doesn’t change, it’s just a mentality to go into a tough building and get the job done. There’s a difference between knowing you’re going to win and hoping you’re going to win and we got to go up there knowing we’re to win.”


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Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 6:36 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Greene brings big presence back to Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- From opening day to the end of April, the Los Angeles Kings' dressing room was quieter. They are not a chatty bunch to begin with, and when defenseman Matt Greene was gone, his deep tone was noticeably absent.

"He's a big voice in the locker room, and when he was missing this year, you could really feel it in the atmosphere in the dressing room," defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "It's not something that is necessarily needed to play well, but it lightens the atmosphere and it keeps things loose, which is a big part of a season and the playoffs. It can't be serious all the time. We certainly missed him in that way, and certainly what he brings to us on the ice. We've missed his experience and leadership."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 3:55 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Clifford likely starting on Kings' top line

LOS ANGELES -- The faces will be the same although some will be rearranged, so to speak, for Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

The Kings stuck with their new look at the morning skate, with captain Dustin Brown dropped to the third line and Kyle Clifford on the top line with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams. Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Wednesday that Clifford might not stay with the top line, but for now it appears he will -- at least at puck drop.

How will Clifford mesh with Kopitar and Williams?

"Ask me at the end of 10:15 [Pacific time]," Sutter said. "Or later."

Sutter said it wasn't really about Clifford so much as the need to get better play from all his forwards. The Brown-Kopitar-Williams line has two points in the series, which prompted a change.

San Jose coach Todd McLellan stuck with his same lines and said forward Martin Havlat is out for Game 5. "And we'll just go day-by-day with him," he said.

McLellan said he didn't know if it was an advantage to see an opponent make changes.

"It's probably best to answer that later on in the series," McLellan said. "We looked at our lineup after two games and wondered if we needed to move some people around. Sometimes injuries dictate that. You guys don't know what's going in our room as far as injuries and bumps and bruises. We don't know what's going on in theirs. Sometimes minutes are cut back … because guys are hurt. We really don't know what's going through either of the locker rooms, and I'm only worried about mine right now."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 7:12 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Lack of scoring pushes Brown to Kings' 3rd line

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings were able to grind out a low-scoring first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the St. Louis Blues, but the past two second-round games against the San Jose Sharks have forced coach Darryl Sutter to make changes.

Kings captain Dustin Brown was dropped to third line right wing while Kyle Clifford took his spot on the first line with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams at practice Wednesday.

Los Angeles has scored one goal in each of the past games, each a 2-1 loss to the San Jose in that evened the Western Conference Semifinal series at two games each.

Game 5 is Thursday at Staples Center (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN).

"We've scored two goals in 120 minutes, so I'm not surprised by any changes," Brown said.

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Posted On Monday, 05.20.2013 / 4:46 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Clifford expects to return for Kings in Game 4

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Kyle Clifford could return to the Los Angeles Kings' lineup for Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the San Jose Sharks when the series resumes Tuesday (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Clifford skated with the fourth line in practice Monday, with Brad Richardson and Colin Fraser, and indicated he will be in for Game 4.

"It definitely looks that way," Clifford said. "It feels good to get back in the lineup. Playing with those guys, it's going to be a lot of fun."

Coach Darryl Sutter said that "everybody that's on the ice is available. At some point it will be good to have him back."

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Quote of the Day

My job was to get that puck and put it on net, and his job was not letting me do it. I got the best of that, but that game's over and to be honest I already forgot about it.

— Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk on his late game-tying goal in Montreal's 2-1 OT win
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