Kings lose fourth straight, shakeup questions begin


Lisa Dillman of the L.A. Times reports the Kings were booed off the ice last night following a 2-1 loss to Dallas.

The loss was Los Angeles’ fourth straight (and seventh in its last nine games). Over that period, the Kings scored just six goals and now sit last overall in goals per game (2.21), five-on-five goals (38) and first period goals (11).

Yes, that’s right — the Kings have scored 11 times in 29 first periods.

As such, Dillman asked Kings captain Dustin Brown about a potential shakeup. Given crosstown rival Anaheim made a big move in light of its struggles — firing head coach Randy Carlyle after losing 16 of 19 games — it’s been suggested L.A. do the same.

So, does Brown see change on the horizon?

“It’s hard to say. I’ve never been on a team that’s good, that’s gone through this,” Brown said. “That’s probably the biggest difference for me. We have a good team in here. We’re capable of doing everything we need to with the people we have in here.

“I don’t think guys consciously think about that. Maybe it’s in the back of some guys’ heads.”

It’s probably at the front of head coach Terry Murray’s head. As Brough wrote earlier in the week, the veteran bench boss has been in L.A. since the start of the 2008-09 season, yet hasn’t led his team past the first round of the playoffs. This was supposed to be the season the Kings put it all together, but clearly that’s not happening — and Murray has to be feeling the heat.

Much like we heard from the Ducks prior to Carlyle’s firing, Brown alluded to a lack of urgency and intensity in the team’s play.

“Right now, we’ve got to be more desperate,” he said. “We’re not desperate enough right now.”

After PTO, Upshall signs one-year deal with Blues

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
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Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.

On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.

But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.

The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.

Panthers’ Crouse is going back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.

Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.

Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”