Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 2/11/13

The Los Angeles Kings had plenty of time to sleep off their hangover. But if their play through their first 10 games is any indication, the defending Stanley Cup champions probably wish they could have hit the snooze button a few more times. The Kings have been one of the league’s biggest disappointments this season, and like the Bruins a year before them, they find themselves in trouble at the 10-game mark. Unlike the Bruins who had 72 games to right the ship, the Kings only have 38 games to figure things out and get going in the right direction. It’s a bit puzzling, too. We’ve become almost too quick to blame a defending champion’s early-season malaise on the dreaded “Stanley Cup hangover.” It obviously exists, and to what extent we probably won’t ever really know, but it’s clear the Kings have something adverse going on. The head-scratching thing, of course, is that the Kings were able to soften the blow of what would have been a short summer with an NHL lockout that pushed the season start date into late January. Only the lowly Washington Capitals, still sorting through the growing pains under new head coach Adam Oates, have fewer points than the Kings. Only the Colorado Avalanche, currently missing Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan O’Reilly and Steve Downie, have scored fewer goals. Only the Caps and the hapless, gutted Columbus Blue Jackets have a worse goal differential than Los Angeles’ minus-9. You look at the Kings’ stat sheet, and it’s hard to believe they were hoisting the Stanley Cup just about eight months ago. Anze Kopitar, expected to take the leap into the game’s elite, hasn’t found his stride this season. He’s tied for the team lead in points — with six. To put that in perspective, the Bruins, who will wouldn’t be confused with an offensive juggernaut this season, have six players with at least six points. Reigning Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick hasn’t been horrible this season, but he hasn’t been dominant either. He put a five-goal embarrassment on opening night against the Red Wings, but he hasn’t gone on anything resembling a sustained hot streak yet. Don’t forget about injuries. The Kings are clearly feeling the effects of key injuries to defensemen Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell. The loss of both has left the Kings scrambling to find some sort of depth on the blue line, something that they’ve obviously struggled to do. Dean Lombardi tried to address that this past week by acquiring former first-round pick Keaton Ellerby from the Panthers. But maybe the Kings’ struggles were to be expected, for reasons other than the Cup hangover. While L.A. dominated the playoffs last season in historic fashion, it’s easy to forget they did so as a No. 8 seed. Granted that was only by a couple of points, but the point remains that the Kings didn’t necessarily take the league by storm last season during the 82-game stretch, and they were helped along by 15 overtime losses, which was second to only the Flames in the Western Conference. So maybe, just maybe, they weren’t that good. Maybe the Kings are about to turn things around, though. Following a heart-breaking loss to the Red Wings on Sunday, Kopitar declared it was the Kings’ best game of the season. Yet it was still a loss, and the Kings are nearing desperation territory. They turned it on at the right time last year, no doubt. They brought their best when it mattered most, and that’s why they got to open this season with a banner raising ceremony. However, if the Kings don’t start channeling some of that late-season magic this year, they’re going to get plenty of time this summer to sleep off that hangover for good.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: K-State players storm student section after big win

Tony Dungy coaches his way into Canton

Top eight takeaways from NFL Honors awards

Report: Austin Rivers out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

Brett Favre Hall of Fame discussion took less than 10 seconds

WATCH: Pop wishes Kobe well in heartfelt message


Eric Berry named NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Cam Newton to be named NFL MVP

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Another star confirmed for Super Bowl 50 halftime show

WATCH: Wayne Simmonds loses his cool, earns match penalty

Winners and losers from 2016 Hall of Fame vote

Brett Favre, Tony Dungy headline Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Terrell Owens says he was not elected to Hall of Fame

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker