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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- Update: Wild’s Harding out indefinitely with fractured foot 20
- Johansen heads home from Columbus as talks get even messier 22
- Kesler accuses Vancouver media of making up stories, ‘throwing people under the bus’ 22
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal 52
- Mike Yeo is pretty unhappy with Minnesota’s goalie situation 22
- Much to his relief, Lecavalier will start season at center 21
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- No icing on the PK? The USHL will see how that looks (43)