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Mike Richards still not skating as frustration builds for Kings

Dec 7, 2011, 9:39 PM EST

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Mike Richards, Joe Pavelski AP

Their 13-10-4 record isn’t catastrophic, but the Los Angeles Kings might just be the most disappointing team in the NHL so far. They’ve been one of the most top-heavy squads in the league, so Mike Richards‘ injury certainly doesn’t bode well. Rich Hammond provides an update on the Kings’ four banged-up players and the word is that Richards hasn’t skated since getting injured last Thursday.

All Terry Murray had to say was that Richards is “progressing,” although that hasn’t meant much more than some time on an exercise bike. Meanwhile, Willie Mitchell participated in a full practice, Alec Martinez is expected to get back in on practices and Justin Williams isn’t expected to miss a game after hurting his hand.

That’s good news, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Kings are struggling mightily to score goals. Anze Kopitar spoke with Hammond about their irritating slumps.

“I’d be lying if I said there was no frustration in the room,” Kopitar said. “I don’t think we have even come close to playing our best hockey, so we’re still in good shape but we’ve got to turn it around. But it can get frustrating.”

I’ve made this point before, but it’s hard not to wonder if the Kings’ frustrations might dissolve a bit if they open up their system to some extent. Of course, that would likely also subject Jonathan Quick to tougher scoring chances in the Los Angeles end, so maybe it’s more about improving by increments rather than rebooting the whole thing. (Oddly enough, Kings players discussed this topic moments before this post was ready to publish, so check out their comments on Murray’s system.)

Either way, the team will be a lot better with a healthy Richards on the ice, though.

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