Jan 7, 2011, 9:40 PM EDT
When people discuss the NHL’s biggest disappointments this season, the New Jersey Devils rightfully command the headlining position. Yet there are some other would-be contenders who are falling short of their preseason hype. One example is the Los Angeles Kings, a youthful group many pundits expected to win the Pacific Division and possibly contend for the Stanley Cup.
While it’s far too early to count Drew Doughty & Co. out, it’s still a bit of a letdown to see the methodically constructed contenders sitting outside the playoff picture right now. They’re only a point behind the seventh/eight seeds and two behind the fifth/sixth seeds, but even the heaviest Kings Kool-Aid drinkers must admit their recent efforts have been underwhelming.
With a five-game losing streak, the Kings surely must relish the return of steady defenseman Willie Mitchell and middling forward Alexei Ponikarovsky. Rich Hammond reports that both players will be in the team’s lineup tomorrow against the suddenly frisky Toronto Maple Leafs, with Poni apparently primed to take a first line left wing spot. The former bit of news is good, but the latter is up for discussion.
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- Lundqvist shuts out Red Wings to claim 300th victory 5
- NHL on NBCSN: Hawks know they can’t take Sabres lightly 8
- NHL on NBC: Red Wings, Rangers fight to cling onto playoff spots 2
- Video: Flames score center-ice goal against Canucks’ Lack 17
- Stars believe Lehtonen suffered concussion from Haula collision (update) 22
- Video: Stars retire Mike Modano’s jersey 11
- Rostislav Klesla passes on joining Sabres organization following trade 12
- Ryan Murray has knee surgery, likely done for season 1
- Washington finally signs top prospect Kuznetsov 33
- Canucks trade Luongo to Panthers (93)
- BLOCKBUSTER: Lightning trade St. Louis to Rangers for Callahan (82)
- Kings make splash, acquire Gaborik from Columbus (72)
- Report: Canucks want center, top prospect and first-rounder for Kesler (68)
- Steve Moore remains shocked, disgusted about Todd Bertuzzi attack (66)