So after four games, the Kings find themselves at 2-2, able to beat the bad teams ( Blues and Islanders), and not able to beat the good teams (Ducks and Stars). It's tough to judge too much after these four games. They looked good against the Ducks, had a ton of shots, but came up short. They looked poor against the Blues, and so so against the Islanders, but picked up the points. Against Dallas last night, they played their worst game of the season. Very little flow, got behind early, very poor defensive coverage, and a predictable result.
Obviously the story of the early season has been Anze Kopitar, the greatest Slovenian player in the history of the game. His first goal (see post below), was real highlight material, and he did it against a future hall of famer. He added three assists in game two, and a fourth in game three. He has the game breaking skills that the Kings have never really developed from within (although they were close with Robert Lang before Barry Melrose destroyed him). He is the future, and no matter how bad it gets this season, he's going to be fun to watch.
O'Sullivan has yet to find the net, but he's an exciting skater, and he's got a sniper's shot. The kid is going to be good, but it might take half a season for him to hit his stride. He's like a better version of Michael Cammalleri. Mind you, Cammy is better right now, but when O'Sullivan reaches Cammy's experience level, I think he'll be a much better player.
I said last week that the defense had to add significantly more offense. Well, they have four goals so far, two from Visnovsky and two from Sopel. It's a good start, and it includes no goals from Blake or Teverdovsky (who in all fairness has only played two games, although he's looked smooth with the puck in those games). But the defense can't afford to let down on the other end, and they did that against Dallas, particularly Kevin Dallman who may find himself back in the press box tomorrow night.
Cloutier has not impressed me yet, but he's shown flashes of regaining his form. The problem is that he's already established himself as the pariah of LGK, a stigma that is almost impossible to get rid of. Just ask Joe Corvo and Roman Cechmanek. It's a group that practically prides itself on letting preconceived notions dictate their opions. But it's a long season, and if the worst case scenario is that his play inspires Mathieu Garon to play his way back into the number one role, then so be it.
Lots of hockey left, but it's a young team, and a difficult division and conference. There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered.