Kings' blue line is beaten up


EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- There's no question that what has been an inspiring tale so far this postseason for the never-say-die Los Angeles Kings has some parallels to the team's magical run to the 2012 Stanley Cup.

Their current five-game win streak has already produced enough drama for an entire playoff year, with the Kings erasing a 3-0 series deficit in the opening round versus the San Jose Sharks and then forcing overtime with seven seconds left in regulation in Game 1 against the Anaheim Ducks before winning it in the extra session. Game 2 goes Monday night at Honda Center.

The series-opening victory came at a price, though, with defenseman Robyn Regehr leaving midway through the first period with an undisclosed injury. Coach Darryl Sutter did not divulge any new information on the matter Sunday.

"Nope. I'm not talking anything about injuries, ever,'' Sutter said. "It's not something you should have to talk about publicly, it's to protect the player and not give the other team the advantage.''

Regehr joins fellow veteran blueliner Willie Mitchell on the sidelines, the latter injured in Game 6 against the Sharks. No details have been offered on either player in terms of a timeline for their absence.

"Not going to go anywhere with Regehr or Mitchell," said Sutter. "It does me no good to talk about our injured players, just helps the other team."

What we do know is that Regehr and Mitchell are injured -- two-thirds of the left side of L.A.'s defensive corps -- two playoff-savvy veterans who are hard to replace. And that void represents the most obvious difference between this Kings team and the 2012 champs.

Amazingly, Los Angeles used the same six defensemen during their 20-game run to glory in 2012, avoiding a single injury and throwing out the same three pairs night after night. That's certainly not going to be the case this spring, which means the Kings have adversity to overcome if there's another deep playoff run in their near future.

"It's not so much that they've lost high, high-end defensemen, it's what they're putting in,'' an NHL head coach from a Western Conference team told on Sunday. "Matt Greene is limited. And whether it's Jeff Schultz or Andrew Campbell going in, either way, they don't trust those guys as much. Where the biggest disadvantage comes for L.A. is that Anaheim will continue to play four lines. So over time it will be become taxing to the Kings' top guys.

"[ Drew] Doughty will take on three more minutes a night, [ Slava] Voynov might take on two more minutes a night. If they were playing against a three-line team it wouldn't be as much of an issue, but Anaheim I think will keep rolling four lines, and that's going to make it more taxing on L.A.'s D-men.''

Sutter said Sunday the fact that the Kings dealt with long-term injuries last year -- including to Mitchell and Greene -- got his group used to finding other ways to get the job done.

"We've dealt with it," said Sutter. "Injuries are a big part of it. If you use it as an excuse, and I've heard it used as an excuse, it's just another reason to take the wrong road."

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...