Some extra thoughts on the season-opening game for the Kings at Staples Center, a decided stumble against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night. They next play at Arizona on Saturday and return home for a game on Sunday against Winnipeg.
They struggle in banner-raising games
OK, I jest ... but they have been outscored, 9-2, in the two games at which they have raised the Stanley Cup banner. Chicago beat them, 5-2, after the banner was raised at Staples Center to celebrate the 2012 win.
Teams don't always lose on those special occasions. It just seems that way. But the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2013 and started off the next season by beating Washington after their banner-raising event.
Project Mike Richards might need more time
Center Mike Richards hired a trainer, worked out diligently in the summer and came to camp saying all the right things about his increased commitment.
This came after Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi decided against buying out the contract of Richards. In fact, the Kings never exercised either of their two permitted compliance buyouts.
Opening night was a rough one for Richards. To be fair, he had plenty of company. Richards was a minus-two, lost 13 faceoffs and won just two. His linemates, Dwight King and Justin Williams, also were each a minus-two
Jake Muzzin's absence had repercussions on the blue line
You take away half of the team's top shutdown pair and it is going to have an impact, naturally.
Defenseman Jake Muzzin, who missed the season opener with an undisclosed upper-body injury, formed an effective partnership with Drew Doughty in the run to the Stanley Cup.