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Hard to Fulfill Last Season’s Promise

Times Staff Writer

After the Kings and Vancouver Canucks strung together the NHL’s best records in the final four months of last season, King Coach Andy Murray envisioned both teams building on that success as a new season dawned.

And while the mostly hale and hearty Canucks have shot to the top of the Western Conference standings, the Kings have remained stuck in the middle of the pack, scrambling for points while battling an inordinate number of injuries.

“I think it’s great for them, but we’re having to do it a little differently,” Murray said Sunday before sending out a patchwork lineup against the Colorado Avalanche. “It’s just something that’s happened and we’ve got to deal with it.

“It’s nice for Vancouver. I like their coaches. I think our teams play very similar games, so it’s good to see that a team that plays the same way we do, basically, can be successful. A team that’s going with young players, which we are; that didn’t do a lot in terms of going out and signing high-priced free agents; a team that has one dominant offensive line. It’s good to see that.”

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Ian Laperriere, on the two-game suspension given Todd Simpson of the Phoenix Coyotes for high-sticking Laperriere in the throat during Thursday night’s game: “He made a spearing motion and he deserved what he got.”

Laperriere, however, said the NHL shouldn’t have to get involved.

“Players have got to start respecting each other a little bit more,” he said. “Fighting and hitting are part of the game, but the rest of that crap is not. [The solution] is not the referees or the league. The players have to do it.

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“You’re playing on the edge but when you cross that line, that’s when it gets ugly.”

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TONIGHT

vs. Chicago, 7:30

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Fox Sports Net

Site -- Staples Center.

Radio -- KSPN (1110).

Records -- Kings 16-13-4-3, Blackhawks 17-13-6-0.Record vs. Blackhawks -- 1-1-0-1.

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Update -- Of the 10 Kings who sat out Sunday against the Colorado Avalanche, only defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky was listed as possible for tonight’s game by Coach Andy Murray. Jason Allison, Adam Deadmarsh, Bryan Smolinski and Alexander Frolov could be back for Thursday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Murray said.

Tickets -- (888) 546-4752.


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