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LA Kings Season Preview

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AP photo by Jae C. HongWhen the best moves made by an organization in the off season are in the front office, you can probably bet that it isn't going to be a stellar year on the ice. However, new GM Dean Lombardi was instrumental in turning San Jose into a legit contender. And new coach Marc Crawford is a flat-out winner. He coached the Avs to a championship in 1996. The previous season he was the NHL's Coach of the Year. Since then he's had a largely successful run in Vancouver.

On the ice, there'll be more questions than answers in what can probably be described as a rebuilding year.

One of the positives will be the defense. Future hall of famer and great locker room presence Rob Blake is back. Aaron Miller is another quality d-man that can be counted on. It should be mentioned that while I don't want to say that this group will be watching “Matlock” reruns during intermissions... they ain't young.

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In goal for the Kings this year will be... Well, I'm not entirely sure. Dan Cloutier, who Crawford coached in Vancouver, is now in LA. He has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his career, but expecting him to put it all together – and to stay healthy – is like expecting the Dixie Chicks to play at The White House. He'll be battling Mathieu Garon and Jason LaBarbera. Actually, if I was a betting man, I'd say that Cloutier will battle his groin, Garon will battle inconsistency and LaBarbera will get a lot of playing time by default.