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11 LOS ANGELES Kings
Mark Beech
October 08, 2001
When the Kings acquired right wing Adam Deadmarsh from the Avalanche last February as part of the trade that sent Rob Blake to Colorado, they knew he would provide more than a nice scoring touch. Deadmarsh, who had 138 goals in six-plus seasons, is one of the feistiest forwards in the league, and Los Angeles, a franchise that hadn't won a playoff game since 1993, wanted him to add grit to a team that had rarely showed any. Deadmarsh fulfilled that hope in the postseason, scoring an overtime goal in the Kings' first-round upset of the Red Wings and leading Los Angeles forwards with 35 hits in a grinding, seven-game loss to the eventual Stanley Cup-champion Avalanche in the next round.
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October 08, 2001

11 Los Angeles Kings

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Inside

CATEGORY

SI RANKING

SKINNY

FORWARDS

14

Balanced unit led by Palffy, Deadmarsh should excel

DEFENSE

13

Norstrom can handle any power forward in league

GOALTENDING

25

Potvin must prove terrific late run wasn't a fluke

SPECIAL TEAMS

13

Solid shooters on PP; Schneider a top quarterback

MANAGEMENT

19

Coach Murray has Kings very well prepared

When the Kings acquired right wing Adam Deadmarsh from the Avalanche last February as part of the trade that sent Rob Blake to Colorado, they knew he would provide more than a nice scoring touch. Deadmarsh, who had 138 goals in six-plus seasons, is one of the feistiest forwards in the league, and Los Angeles, a franchise that hadn't won a playoff game since 1993, wanted him to add grit to a team that had rarely showed any. Deadmarsh fulfilled that hope in the postseason, scoring an overtime goal in the Kings' first-round upset of the Red Wings and leading Los Angeles forwards with 35 hits in a grinding, seven-game loss to the eventual Stanley Cup-champion Avalanche in the next round.

With the free-agent departure of 37-goal scorer Luc Robitaille, the Kings now want to see more of that scoring touch from the 26-year-old Deadmarsh, who had only four goals in 18 regular-season games after the deal. He will be counted on, along with centers Jozef Stumpel (16 goals and 39 assists in 2000-01) and Bryan Smolinski (27, 32) and right wings Glen Murray (18, 21) and Steve Heinze (27, 27 with the Blue Jackets and the Sabres), to lighten the load on wing Ziggy Palffy, who was 10th in the league in scoring with 89 points. "We have more depth than ever at every position," says coach Andy Murray, who also counts impressive second-year center Eric Belanger among his top forwards. "Steve Heinze can't replace all of Luc's goals, so we're going to need balanced scoring throughout our lineup. We don't have a choice."

If the Kings do score, they'll be tough to beat. Their defense, even without Blake, was strong last year. Veteran blueliner Mathieu Schneider, who efficiently runs the power play, and Lubomir Visnovsky can dish the puck like point guards. Goaltender Felix Potvin, who was obtained from the Canucks for future considerations in February, went 13-5-5 with five shutouts to lead a late-season surge that vaulted L.A. into the playoffs. He was equally impressive in the postseason, with a .909 save percentage and 2.44 goals-against average.

"Luc and Blake were big parts of our team last year," says Deadmarsh. "It's going to take gritty efforts for us to win games now, and it's going to have to come from everybody."

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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