It has been less than a year since the city of Los Angeles could crown themselves hockey champions of the world. Well, the last 250 days have seen quite a change for the defending champions, the Los Angeles Kings.
The opening third of this season for the Kings has been the quintessence of the "sophomore jinx," a phrase that describes a team’s struggles following the season after winning a championship.
In my opinion, if anything, the Kings’ roster only improved over the offseason, but the 13 games played thus far have resulted in only 12 points, as they stand at a 5-6-2 record. Maybe it was the shortened training camp due to the late lockout agreement, but thankfully, they take the ice 33 more times this season, so they, along with every other team, are still among playoff contenders.
But what is the catalyst for the Kings’ early season snafu? I think that their lack of success narrows down to three major categories: Power play percentage, goals per game, and shots on goal. Respectively, they are 23rd, 27th and 28th in the league in those categories; all signs point to their inability to put the puck in the back of the net. However, they are 14th in shots per game and are in the upper half in the "times on power play" category.
The future is certainly brighter for the defending world champions – more than half of their remaining 35 games are against teams currently ranked below the seventh seed. Additionally, the Kings have six home stands consisting of two or more games, with two home stands consisting of five straight games at the Staples Center. Here's a quick look at their schedule for the remainder of the season:
Los Angeles Kings Schedule 2013
So, if you are a Kings fan and hanging your head low, you shouldn’t. After all, they were the eighth seed going into last year’s playoffs, and they were the only ones to hoist the Stanley Cup above their heads.