Watching the Kings play right now, my reaction is that they have forgotten who they are. They are not playing like the team that steamrolled through the playoffs in 2012. They aren't even playing like the team that sleepwalked through the 2011-12 season. They're just playing badly. But what's wrong with them?
I know they are missing two key players in Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene, taking a lot of size and experience from the defensive corps, but I don't think that's the real issue. Yes Muzzin and Martinez have been exposed on a few plays, but there's a bigger problem.
To my eye, the Kings have forgotten what style of play won them the Cup. They have as many superstars per capita as any team in the league (Kopitar, Richards, Doughty, Carter, Brown), but pretty hockey is not their forte. They were good last spring because they were playing a dirty style of hockey, grinding it out along the boards, hitting other teams' players. That's not how they're playing this year. They are trying to be too cute, over-passing, trying to make plays one-on-one, etc. That's not this team's identity! They're not earning success this season the way they did last spring. I don't know if it's a result of winning the Cup and suddenly thinking that means they should be the kind of team like the Penguins who win based on skill, but someone needs to remind this team that they win with ugly hockey.
I hope someone tells them soon…