There’s really nowhere but up for the LA Kings after finishing last in the Pacific Division and recording a league-worst goal differential of minus-60 last year.
A new season provides a much-needed fresh start, and Kings captain Anze Kopitar feels that their 2018-19 campaign provides ample motivation.
"The way [last season] went, nobody was happy about it from top to bottom, so we have something to prove right now," the centre told Tracey Myers of NHL.com. "If that's not motivation enough, I don't know what is."
Head coach Todd McLellan, who took over the reins in April, had a full off-season to prepare and shape a new perspective and direction for the Kings.
"Todd coming in is going to be somewhat of a fresh start, a new voice that we needed. And then it's the same thing: You have to have a good start to the season. That's what it is,” added Kopitar.
A good start to the season is exactly what the four-time NHL All-Star, Lady Byng, and double Selke trophy winner needs. Kopitar led the Kings with 22 goals and 60 points last year, but it was still a big drop from the 92 points that put him in the Hart Trophy conversation the season before.
"Sometimes not having a good start to the season certainly affects everything,” Kopitar said. “You're not feeling as good, you don't feel comfortable or confident or all of the above, and whether that's personal or team, things just didn't go right, and we could not get it going.”
The 32-year-old has played his entire NHL tenure of more than 1,000 games as a member of the Kings, securing two Stanley Cups along the way. Kopitar knows first-hand what it will take to lead this team from worst to first.
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