11 Los Angeles Kings Bringing in old favorites may help Ziggy zag, and an exiled Roman will be tested in net

October 12, 2003

Kings fans may need to dust off some of their memorabilia. Those
posters of center Jozef Stumpel, L.A.'s leading scorer six years
ago? Unroll them. The Kings reacquired Stumpel from Boston over
the summer. And the Luc Robitaille number 20 jerseys? Dig them
out of the closet. The 37-year-old free-agent left wing, who led
the Kings in goals eight times, signed this summer for his third
stint with the team. Those familiar faces should play well with
fickle locals, a genuine consideration given that Anaheim's near
miss in the Stanley Cup finals could lure fans from the Staples
Center and down Interstate 5 to the Pond. "Salute the Mighty
Ducks," says Kings coach Andy Murray. "It was good for hockey in
Southern California."

To make their own Cup run, the Kings desperately need MVP numbers
from left wing Ziggy Palffy, who had nearly twice as many points
(85) as any teammate. (Mathieu Schneider was second with 43.)
Moreover, added punch from Palffy could take the pressure off the
defense, which is thin beyond Mattias Norstrom and Aaron Miller.
The Kings do have high hopes for Joe Corvo, who spent the end of
his rookie year manning the point on the power play after
Schneider was dealt to Detroit.

The lack of back line depth puts a lot of responsibility on Roman
Cechmanek, who had a stellar regular season in goal for the
Flyers (33-15-10, 1.83 goals-against average, .925 save
percentage) before blowing up in a second-round playoff loss to
Ottawa. Kings G.M. Dave Taylor did well to snare Cechmanek for
only a second-round pick this summer, but the Kings know that
Cechmanek can be hit-or-miss. "Roman is very aggressive," says
Taylor. "He gives up bad goals, but also gets to pucks no one
else can."

The wild cards on this team are forwards Jason Allison (28 points
in 26 games) and Adam Deadmarsh (13 goals in 20 games), both of
whom are still sidelined after missing most of last season with
concussions. If those two players don't return quickly, even more
fans could defect to the Pond. --Brian Cazeneuve

COLOR PHOTO COLOR PHOTO: BRIAN BAHR/GETTY IMAGES/NHLI (CECHMANEK) ROMAN CECHMANEK

SI RANKING
( 1 Best - 30 Worst )

OFFENSE 9
DEFENSE 16
GOALTENDING 15
POWER PLAY 14
PENALTY KILLING 16
G.M. AND COACH 15

INSIDER

Adding veteran F Trent Klatt was smart--he's a leader and an
excellent forechecker.... New C Jozef Stumpel needs to play with
more jam or the Kings will have a huge hole down the middle....
Watch 19-year-old rookie blueliner Tim Gleason. He has big-time
talent.... Expect 20-plus goals from second-year F Alexander
Frolov, who should get more ice time.... The team's playoff
chances depend on the health of F's Jason Allison and Adam
Deadmarsh (both out with concussions).

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)