We are not even a full week into the
2012-2013 NHL season, and there has been next to nothing for LA Kings fans to be happy about. Well ok, maybe that big, black banner that was raised to the Staples Center rafters but aside from that the Kings’ first two kicks at the can in their quest for a repeat have been nothing short of a pair of duds.
The Kings, who brought back virtually their entire Stanley Cup winning roster (sans Kevin Westgarth), as well as had an extra four months to sleep off their championship hangover, showed definite signs that they have a lot of sobering up to do after getting dominated in their home opener to the Chicago Blackhawks and dropping a 3-1 decision at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.
Now going into Thursday night many Kings fans have one eye on their Stanley Cup Champion memorabilia and their other eye on the panic button as Los Angeles looks to avoid an 0-3 start as they take on a youthful Edmonton Oilers squad.
What or who is to blame for the uninspired start? Injuries to franchise player Anze Kopitar and cornerstone defenseman Willie Mitchell definitely didn’t help the cause. Although Kopitar was able to return ahead of schedule and play on Tuesday in Colorado, that good news was matched by some equally sour news, that fellow assistant captain Matt Greene was out indefinitely with what turned out to be a herniated disc in his back.
Moving forward without two of their veteran defensemen in Greene and Mitchell leaves the Kings’ blue line a bit suspect. Now all eyes are on Andrew Bodnarchuk, Davis Drewiske, and Jake Muzzin to see if they can fill the empty spaces left in the defensive end.
Offensively the Kings have looked like the Kings of old with their lack of scoring pop, only scoring three goals in two games. A bright spot can be seen in the promising play of Kyle Clifford, who leads the team with 3 points; but it is evident that to be effective as a team Los Angeles is going to need more players getting on the score sheet than their 4th line grinder, as Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, and Dustin Brown are all waiting to get their first points of the season.
There seems to be a lot of question marks with the Kings early in this abbreviated season but one has to keep in mind that the last time we got to watch the Kings they finished the greatest playoff run in perhaps league history. God forbid if they actually lose a couple games.
It remains to be seen if the Kings can get out of their apparent funk and have their championship experience override the Oilers and their massive supply of youth and top draft picks. If they can leave Edmonton with two points, then operation repeat has the green light. If not, than protect the women and children and get to the fallout shelter, we have a disaster on our hands.