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Frustration and Futility Takes Hold of the Kings

This is what the Kings and Kings' fans hope to see a lot at the STAPLES Center this season. (LAist/Jimmy Bramlett)
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Down and down the drain of irrelevancy the Kings continue to spiral. It was yet another 1-0 loss to a team that was two points behind them in the standings, this time to the Calgary Flames. And to add insult to injury, the Kings have dropped to the ninth seed of the Western Conference outside of a playoff spot.

In front of a sellout crowd at STAPLES Center that had a pregame ceremony honoring former Triple Crown liner Charlie Simmer, it was former King Mike Cammalleri scoring the only goal of the game for the visiting Calgary Flames. It left me questioning whether Simmer had anything left in the tank to lace up the skates for his former team.

As a history lesson, Simmer along with Marcel Dionne and Dave Taylor formed the famed Triple Crown line. From January 13, 1979 and on into the 80’s, the Triple Crown Line became one of the highest scoring lines in NHL history. The entire line was selected for the 1981 All Star Game (coincidentally hosted at The Forum) as they scored 146 goals and 182 assists for 328 points. As a point of reference, the entire Kings team this season has only scored 124 goals.

Unfortunately Simmer was busy with his broadcasting duties with the Flames, so there the Kings were in their scoreless glory limping their way into the final 22 games of the season. The solution for all of the Kings’ scoring woes is quite simple according to head coach Darryl Sutter: “Get shots and traffic.”

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The simplicity of those words seem to taunt the players whose frustration becomes more evident as each game passes.

“If we knew the answer, we’d have it,” Captain Dustin Brown replied when asked about how to emerge from this offensive slump. “I don’t know. We’ve got to get more hungry I guess.”

It’s puzzling watching this team struggle so much when they seemed on the verge of putting something together after Sutter was brought in at the end of December. They have offense in them, but for some reason they can’t make a consistent showing of it from game to game. Sutter disagreed with me that the offense is inconsistent saying they get very few chances.

“I think we really have to bear down on the opportunities that we get. You don’t get a lot of opportunities. We don’t give a lot, so you have to bear down on the ones you get.”

What’s clear is as the fans serenade the players with boos as each game ends, the players are flummoxed. The dressing room is somber with an occasional stick being thrown in exasperation.

“It’s been frustrating all year for all the players in here, the lack of scoring,” Brown said.

Everyone is frustrated, and while the players and Sutter are hesitant in talking about trades it’s clear General Manager Dean Lombardi needs to make some moves to salvage what’s left of the season. After firing then-head coach Terry Murray on Dec. 12, Lombardi told reporters, “the message is ultimately [the players] are accountable. Ultimately the coach had to pay the price.”

Well it’s clear something needs to be done. The trade deadline is next Monday. Time to get moving.

The precedent of disappointment at the STAPLES Center was set by the Clippers earlier in the afternoon with their 103-100 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

LA Lakers at Phoenix Suns. 5:00 p.m. KCAL9, AM 710 KSPN.
Anaheim Ducks at Florida Panthers. 3:00 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 830 KLAA.