Best of Times, Worst of Times

A tale of two Southern California hockey teams.

During the summer of 2000:

The Kings signed defenseman Mathieu Schneider as a free agent and improved the power play. He finished with 51 points and the Kings made the playoffs.

The Mighty Ducks signed German Titov, who seemed to be easing into retirement with a $4.6-million buyout. The Ducks finished last in the Western Conference.

During the 2000-01 season:

The Kings traded defenseman Rob Blake, their most popular player, to Colorado for forward Adam Deadmarsh and defenseman Aaron Miller. Both were key components in the Kings' playoff run and their current surge.

The Ducks traded popular forward Teemu Selanne for forward Jeff Friesen and goalie Steve Shields. They are key components in the Ducks going from 15th place last season to 14th place today.

This season:

The Kings traded for Boston center Jason Allison. It cost them Jozef Stumpel and Glen Murray, but they landed a first-line center.

The Ducks, who balked at a trade for Allison in August, traded for Minnesota's Sergei Krivokrasov. It cost them virtually nothing, but Krivokrasov has been a healthy scratch in 13 of the last 14 games. Steve Rucchin, who is supposed to be their first-line center, is once again missing a large chunk of the season because of injuries.

The King lost Schneider and standout forward Ziggy Palffy to injuries for an extended period, yet had the depth to hold things together.

The Ducks lost Rucchin and Keith Carney, their top defenseman, and fell further off the pace.

The Kings were six points out of first place in the Pacific Division after beating San Jose on Saturday.

The Ducks were three points ahead of Columbus, the conference's last-place team, after losing to Nashville on Saturday.



vs. Nashville, 7:30

Fox Sports Net 2

Site--Arrowhead Pond.

Radio--KDIS (710).

Records--Ducks 13-25-6-3, Predators 16-20-8-0.

Record vs. Predators--1-1-0-0.

Update--The Ducks are 0-6-2-0 in their last eight games, one shy of tying the franchise's longest winless streak.

Tickets--(877) 945-3946.

Chris Foster

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