Tomorrow’s game story tonight …
One of these nights, one of the Kings’ centers will actually put the puck into the back of the net. Until they do, until one of them actually scores a goal, the Kings will have to settle for some effective playmaking from Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and company.
The Kings hit the road Thursday for a four-game trip that starts Friday in Raleigh, N.C., lugging some serious baggage after four games to start the season. Here’s the third of three things to watch during an eight-night trek to play the Carolina Hurricanes, the Florida Panthers, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Nashville Predators:
No team has won the Stanley Cup in October, but plenty of them have lost a chance to play for it with lackluster starts to the season. It’s only been four games, including two at Staples Center, but there are already some disturbing defensive numbers for the defensive-minded Kings. Take a look at some of their individual plus-minus defensive ratings. Matt Frattin and Jake Muzzin are each minus-5. Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Drew Doughty and Jarret Stoll are each minus-3. No one on the roster is a plus. That’s a poor sign for the Kings, who pride themselves on suffocating the life out of opponents. Look for it to improve soon. If not, then coach expect Darryl Sutter to continue to tinker with his lineup and especially his line combinations.
Here’s the second part of an interview with new Kings forward Matt Frattin, who was acquired during the offseason in the multi-player deal that sent backup goalie Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Of playing with veterans Jeff Carter and Mike Richards for two exhibition games so far, Frattin said of his new linemates:
“They’re guys who have played in the Olympics for Team Canada plenty of times. They’ve definitely proved themselves. They definitely are bringing me along. They’re great linemates for me. First game was a tough one, I guess. (Tuesday), was definitely different. Got back to work Monday. I’ve been here over a month now. Every since I got traded, I’ve gotten a warm welcome from the leaders in the room. That’s awesome to be a part of. They’re a great team, a great group of guys. I kind of wanted to get here, find a place (to live) and meet the guys as they came in instead of 25 guys all at once. That’s why I can down here about three weeks ahead of time.”
Matt Frattin has settled comfortably into his new home in Hermosa Beach. It’s about a block from the beach and a world away from his previous place of residence in Toronto. Frattin has been in Southern California for about a month now. The question is, can the former Maple Leaf find a comfort zone on a potentially productive line with Jeff Carter and Mike Richards? He talked about playing with the Kings’ veteran forwards in two exhibitions.
“They’re two great players,” Frattin said of Carter and Richards. “Carts has the speed down the wing and he’s got that long reach and has a great shot. Richie’s just smart and hard working. He’ll get the puck if you’re wheeling. It’s only two games. Tough first game and then a good second game. It’s early. We have to keep working at it and build that chemistry. I ask questions and they tell me what they’re thinking. It’s pretty good communications between all three of us.”
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and forwards Jeff Carter and Mike Richards are going camping with Team Canada. They have been invited to an Olympic orientation camp Aug. 25-28 in Calgary. Doughty and Richards were among 15 players who represented Canada for the 2010 Vancouver Games, winning gold. Team Canada sent out 47 invitations. Steve Yzerman, a former Detroit Red Wings great, is the executive director the Olympic team. Mike Babcock, the Red Wings’ coach, was named Monday as the Canadian coach.
Kings center Mike Richards said he felt helpless while sitting out with a concussion for three games during their conference finals loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Here’s more from the veteran, who returned to the lineup and scored an unforgettable goal on a deflection in the closing seconds of regulation play to force Game 5 to overtime:
Mike Richards sat out three games during the Kings’ conference finals loss to the Chicago Blackhawks because of a concussion suffered when Dave Bolland cracked him behind the net late in Game 1. So, Richards knows how hard-hitting the Kings’ playoffs were in 2013. Here’s more on his view of the physical play, starting with the first round victory over the St. Louis Blues: “I know, personally, it was one of the most grueling first series I’ve played. … I think this was the most physically draining (postseasons).”
Injured Kings center Mike Richards was ruled out of Game 4 of the Western Conference finals Thursday night. He won’t play for the third consecutive game after suffering a concussion on a hit from the Chicago Blackhawks’ Dave Bolland near the end of Game 1.
Mike Richards went for a twirl on the ice Wednesday morning for the first time since suffering a concussion in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals Saturday in Chicago. Richards, a veteran center, skated for about 25 minutes with the Kings’ extra players. He didn’t stop to speak with reporters after leaving the ice for the dressing room.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter ruled center Mike Richards out of Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Tuesday night. Richards suffered what the team calls an upper-body injury and what everyone assumes is a concussion when the Chicago Blackhawks’ Dave Bolland cracked him in the head late in Game 1 on Saturday.