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30 in 30

Kings bring back entire Cup-winning lineup

Thursday, 08.30.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

If the lineup below looks quite familiar, it's because the Los Angeles Kings took the phrase "getting the band back together" pretty seriously.

Los Angeles completed an incredible run to its first Stanley Cup title, then retained every player who dressed for a playoff game. Dustin Penner was an unrestricted free agent, but he re-upped on a one-year contract.

The Kings did not make a big move to improve the club, but general manager Dean Lombardi has a roster full of Cup winners and plenty of salary-cap space to work with, according to Capgeek.com. Lombardi's biggest move of the offseason was locking up Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick with a 10-year, $58 million contract.

Continuity could help Kings defend title

Thursday, 08.30.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Kings' march to a championship was so remarkable, it isn't easy to place in a historical context.

Not only was Los Angeles the first No. 8 seed to claim the Stanley Cup, but the Kings' level of dominance en route to the title was even more stunning. They went 16-4 in the postseason, missing a chance to tie the 1988 Edmonton Oilers for the fewest losses since the tournament expanded to need 16 wins in 1987 when New Jersey won twice to avoid elimination in the Final.

Los Angeles did win the first three games of every series for the first time in League history, and doing so as the road team in Games 1 and 2 each time made it even more stunning. The Kings simultaneously became one of the most unexpected and most dominant champions in the history of the Stanley Cup.

Quick, power play lead short list of Kings' questions

Thursday, 08.30.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup and brought back every significant player from the first title-winning team in franchise history, so there aren't going to be a lot of questions for the club to answer as the 2012-13 approaches.

Los Angeles will be considered one of the favorites in the Western Conference this season, but the Kings were not one of the best in 2011-12 until late in the season. Some production levels from players may not be sustainable, and injuries are bound to occur.

The Kings can look no further than the Boston Bruins, who won the Cup in 2011 and for the first half of last season looked primed to repeat before a couple of injuries and the wear and tear of trying to repeat ultimately felled them in a first-round upset by the Washington Capitals.

Kings' prospects may have to wait their turn

Thursday, 08.30.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

It started with former general manager Dave Taylor and continued with current GM Dean Lombardi, but the Los Angeles Kings built a champion through the draft -- plus a few shrewd acquisitions via the trade market and free agency to fill in the holes around the homegrown core.

Of the 20 players the Kings dressed in the final four games of the Stanley Cup Final, 10 were drafted by the organization; several others were acquired in trades that featured Los Angeles prospects and picks as the currency going the other way. Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Quick and Drew Doughty were all drafted and developed by Los Angeles.

Even though the Kings return everyone from the Cup run, there are others in the organization that could be ready for NHL duty -- if they can find an opportunity on a crowded roster.

Gagne's return should give Kings more scoring

Thursday, 08.30.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

When Los Angeles Kings forward Simon Gagne returned from a concussion during the Stanley Cup Final, the veteran told reporters he was trying to view the series as "a last chance" to claim hockey's most coveted trophy.

Simon Gagne
Left Wing - LAK
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 10 | PTS: 17
SOG: 75 | +/-: -1
Gagne had been close twice before, and he knew, whether it was injury or just the difficulty of winning a championship, that opportunities like the one the Kings had might not be available in abundance in the future for a 32-year-old.

Not only did Gagne and the Kings complete a remarkable run to the franchise's first Stanley Cup, but they might not have to wait long for a chance at claiming it again -- and he could play a vital role.

Hamilton leads list of Bruins prospects

Wednesday, 08.29.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

The Boston Bruins may be stacked at the NHL level, but their prospect pool doesn't appear to be nearly as deep.

That is not as big of a problem for the Bruins as it may be for other teams, seeing as the big club features several established talents who are 27 or younger: Patrice Bergeron (27), Nathan Horton (27), David Krejci (26), Tuukka Rask (25), Adam McQuaid (25), Brad Marchand (24), Milan Lucic (24) and the jewel of the group, 20-year-old Tyler Seguin.

But as thin as the Bruins prospect pool might be, the club is hoping a big name is no longer on this list a year from now because if defenseman Dougie Hamilton makes the team this season, he'll no longer be considered a prospect.

Horton's status could have huge impact on Bruins

Wednesday, 08.29.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

The Boston Bruins have more experience than they would care to have when it comes to understanding the risks of multiple concussions.

Nathan Horton
Right Wing - BOS
GOALS: 17 | ASST: 15 | PTS: 32
SOG: 90 | +/-: 0
The Bruins have seen both sides of the spectrum when it comes to concussion recovery, with center Marc Savard still unable to play more than two years after he was originally hurt by a blindside hit by Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke, and Patrice Bergeron making a very successful return from a concussion that cost him the better part of the 2007-08 season.

Now, Boston is eagerly waiting to see how Nathan Horton will bounce back from suffering his second concussion in a span of six months when he was hit by Philadelphia defenseman Tom Sestito on Jan. 22.

Horton's return fixes top of Bruins' lineup

Wednesday, 08.29.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

At one point during the 2011-12 season, the Boston Bruins didn't just look like favorites to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, they looked like a juggernaut not seen in the NHL since the days when the Montreal Canadiens last ruled the landscape.

A couple of injuries, particularly another concussion for Nathan Horton, short-circuited the team's forward depth, and goaltender Tim Thomas wasn't quite superhuman like he was the year before. Thomas' play on the ice also was overshadowed by his decision to not join his teammates at the White House to celebrate the Cup win with President Obama.

Thomas has said he's taking the season off, but the Bruins should again be among the NHL's elite, especially with some extra rest after a surprising first-round playoff exit.

Rask's rise to No. 1 biggest Bruins question

Wednesday, 08.29.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

The Boston Bruins have some question marks heading into the season, but none are likely of a make-or-break nature for a team that has had a stranglehold on the Northeast Division for the last two years and doesn’t appear to be on the verge of relinquishing it.

Still, with a new starting goaltender, a sniper returning from injury, a young defenseman attempting to make a big jump to the NHL and a chronic deficiency still unresolved, the Bruins do have some issues that need to be dealt with.

While a playoff berth may not be hanging in the balance, just how far the Bruins go in the Stanley Cup Playoffs could very well depend on the answers to these six questions the team is facing heading into the season.

Bruins refuse to panic after early playoff exit

Wednesday, 08.29.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli was faced with an interesting quandary entering this offseason.

On the one hand, his team was coming off a first-round defeat in the Stanley Cup Playoffs at the hands of the underdog Washington Capitals, albeit one that required a Game 7 overtime goal by Joel Ward. It was a bitterly disappointing loss for a Bruins team that not only had aspirations of winning a second straight Stanley Cup, but also had a realistic chance of doing so.

Such a sour end to the season could have pushed Chiarelli to do something drastic in an effort to improve his club over the summer.

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