Entering the holiday break, the Los Angeles Kings find themselves in a good position. With a 20-11-2 record, they sit first in the Pacific Division with a six-point lead. As promising as their start to the season has been, though, most will agree that there is nonetheless room for improvement. This is simply constructive criticism for the silver-and-black. After all, to suggest that the Kings are fine in every area of their game is not only unrealistic but insulting to my readers who, while they may not necessarily agree with yours truly, certainly do not hesitate in calling out their team when necessary.
In recognition of Festivus, here are the top three Airing of Grievances for the Los Angeles Kings:
3) Losing a Step Against Weaker Teams
Let’s be honest. With so much parity in today’s NHL, no team should be treated any more or less seriously than their own. With that said, it is imperative to capitalize on a club’s misfortunes — as cruel as that may sound — whether it’s a significant losing streak, a key injury or friction between players and coaches. So far this season, the Kings have been beyond impressive in games against Chicago, Nashville and Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, they have been flat in games against Columbus, Ottawa and, most recently, Toronto. Yet while the latter three are all good teams, the silver-and-black could have done a lot more to challenge, say, a Blue Jackets club coming off its worst start in franchise history or a former netminder in Jonathan Bernier who had yet to win a game this year. You can factor in anything you’d like, but the Kings simply need to move forward giving each opponent a full 60-minute effort.
2) The Power Play
It’s common sense to suggest that when the opposing team gets called for a penalty, fans get excited. However, that hasn’t been the case for the Los Angeles Kings who have mightily struggled on the man-advantage thus far. In 94 attempts this season, the Kings have scored just 16 times. Their 17.0 per cent efficiency ranks the silver-and-black 21st overall. Improving in this department is a must if the Kings don’t want to wait until the 11th hour to win some games, or to even contend in them.
1) The Delay of Anze Kopitar’s Contract Extension
Since the season has started, they have inched closer to a deal, but some, like TSN‘s Darren Dreger, have said in the same breath that a deal was “not imminent”. Yes, this is simply the reality of the business but to read so many reports about when and if Anze Kopitar will re-sign isn’t so much maddening but annoying. As of late, more reliable sources like Pierre LeBrun have suggested that an extension will be reached, and clues like Kopitar’s love for Los Angeles and his parents moving in with him indicate that the franchise cornerstone will continue to be just that. Yet, while all of this is well and good, nothing is official until the new contract is signed. So, what are we waiting for?