Mike Richards you can say hasn't been the same player since his head injury this year, and not having great line mates most of the time (i.e. Penner) can't help either, but is there something more behind it? Is Los Angeles where good hockey players go to die? Some people have said there is less pressure playing in Los Angeles than let's say Philadelphia, New York or Boston. Is that the key that is missing, vocal fans and ruthless media? Richards has said it is nice to not have fans jeering at him when he is out in public, or the media constantly in his face, like how it was in Philly. Drew Doughty has been a shell of himself since his head injury, but fans were more vocal about his contract issues, than his poor play. Why should the media and fans have to be the motivator for these guys to play their best hockey? Kings fans are pretty passionate, should they have to become rude and boisterous to players to get guys not to kick back on the Staple Center ice? Is the laid back style of the beach and sun frying these guys hockey minds or is Kings management just picking the wrong players?
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Look at the history this past decade of good players that have ended up in Los Angeles either by trade or signing and how they have not been very productive. Jason Allison had 36 goals for Boston in 2001, comes to Los Angeles and plays 10 less games, finishes with 19 goals and then ends up in injury land the following year. In 2004, Anson Carter was picked up in a trade, played 15 games for the Kings and had only 1 point. Carter then ended up with Vancouver after the lockout and had a 30-goal year. Mark Parrish comes to the Kings in a trade in 2006 and is barely noticeable with only 8 points; he was previously a 20-goal scorer. Goalies Roman Cechmaneck and Dan Cloutier were both a bust, both having their worst statistical numbers in the NHL. Even a decent Jeff Halpern couldn't muster a goal in his 16 games with the Kings after being picked up at the trade deadline for a young Teddy Purcell. Dustin Penner in 62 games with the Oilers had 22 goals, is traded to Los Angeles, and only scores 2 goals in 19 games. Marco Sturm (another consistent 20 goals scorer), comes to Los Angeles and then disappears on the ice, he too ends up re-injured. Although it can't only be injuries that can be used as an excuse to the stalled production, not all these guys were injured and when the injured guys played healthy, they didn't do much.
Why don't big named free agents sign there, do they feel like it is too kick back and have yet to see a free agent be successful in LA? The only way the Kings get a big free agent is to grab them in a trade. Brad Richards chose New York over LA because he wanted a "hockey" atmosphere. Kovalchuk used the Kings to get a free trip to California for him and his wife, and then picked NJ, saying they had a better chance of winning a cup. If Rick Nash comes to Los Angeles, will his game "die" too? Nash actually has the Kings on his list of places to go, which is refreshing and a bit of a surprise. Besides Wayne Gretzky, when is the last time a player picked up in a trade or signing has come to LA and dominated? Maybe fans do need to get on the players more and the media needs to get a little gritty, but when players get to go home to the beach and or hang out with celebrities, does hockey even matter anymore? I doubt anyone has told Penner where he could put his pancakes...
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