LA Kings: Ryan Smyth’s Absence Exposes Bigger Problem

November 25th, 2009 by Gann Matsuda Leave a reply »
LOS ANGELES AND INGLEWOOD, CA — A little over a week has passed since the Los Angeles Kings lost veteran left wing Ryan Smyth to that mysterious “upper body injury” and since then, they have lost to the Philadelphia Flyers and the Calgary Flames.

In both games, the Kings not only put in spotty efforts, but their offense sputtered without Smyth’s constant presence in front of opposing goaltenders and in his tenacious work along the boards and in the corners.

“What he does very well is his composure with the puck,” said head coach Terry Murray. “He handles it in pressure situations, makes the game look easy, slows the game down, takes the puck to the net, makes plays in the offensive zone. He can make something happen out of nothing and he has that mentality that it has to end up at the net.”

Indeed, that mentality, or the lack thereof without Smyth in the lineup, is like a black hole on the ice. But the Kings know they have to overcome his absence.

“He’s definitely going to be missed on the team,” said defenseman Drew Doughty. “He’s one of the best players in ...

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