Los Angeles Kings Are Running out of Time to Engineer Turnaround

Well, they haven’t woken up yet.

General manager Dean Lombardi tried to shock the Los Angeles Kings’ system by waiving center Mike Richards last week, but the move hasn’t yielded positive results.

The team has mustered a 1-2 record since the decision and scored just four goals to the opposition’s 10 in that span.

Through 50 regular-season games, the Kings have proven incapable of starting well or performing on the road. They’re 2-5-3 in their last 10 outings and drifting further away from the playoff picture with every passing tilt.

A squad that appeared indomitable only months ago may finally have more adversity on its plate than it can handle.


Blue-Line Woes

L.A. has forged a reputation built on stingy defense in recent years. However, the team has not lived up to its billing this season. 

After finishing first in goals-against average in 2013-14, the Kings currently rank 15th in the league in this department. Rather than limiting opponents to perimeter shots, the squad has suffered from multiple positional breakdowns and lousy puck management.

Under head coach Darryl Sutter, this team has never conceded so many high-quality chances. Excluding Robyn Regehr, the back end’s numbers are hurting across the board:

The absence of Slava Voynov is the primary reason for this defensive tumble. While he’s hardly a world-beater, he’s a competent top-four rearguard.

His indefinite suspension has pushed virtually every defenseman on the team into uncomfortable positions. 

Alec Martinez, who is an ideal third-pairing blueliner, has been forced into facing top-sixers on a nightly basis. It hasn’t gone particularly well, as he’s looked more flustered than usual against the forecheck and on the breakout.

The heightened level o...

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