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KINGS START FAR FROM HOME.



Byline: Matt McHale Staff Writer

The Staples Center This articlearticle or section has multiple issues:
* Its neutrality is disputed.
* It may contain original research or unverifiable claims.
* It does not cite any references or sources.
 opens in less than three weeks, but the Kings are still a long way from home.

Before they play the first sporting event at L.A.'s new arena they will play seven road games, beginning tonight against the second-year Nashville Predators The Nashville Predators are a professional ice hockey team based in Nashville, Tennessee. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). .

They didn't have much of a choice since the Staples Center is not yet complete. But seven games is a difficult undertaking, especially for a rebuilding team that did not make the playoffs last season.

``There are two ways to look at it,'' said first-year coach Andy Murray. ``You can take the negative approach and say we are going to struggle and take all the enthusiasm away from the new building or you can take a positive approach. Teams bond on the road, get to know each other and it breeds success. I've seen it.''

Although this is Murray's first NHL NHL Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, see there  coaching job, he has been an assistant with three other clubs. He knows the Boston Bruins The Boston Bruins are a professional ice hockey team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They are members of the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL).  often open on the road for that very reason. And the Bruins have won their last 13 season openers.

Although the Kings acquired high-scoring winger wing·er  
n. Sports
A player who plays wing, as in hockey or soccer.


winger
Noun

Sport a player positioned on a wing

Noun 1.
 Ziggy Palffy and agreed to terms with veteran defenseman Mattias Norstrom late Thursday, Murray's biggest task is accentuating the positive with his club.

Last year's Kings never really recovered when coach Larry Robinson For U.S. basketball player, see Larry Robinson (basketball).

Larry Clark Robinson (born June 2 1951, in Winchester, Ontario, Canada) was a star player and a coach in the National Hockey League. He is currently an assistant coach of the New Jersey Devils.
 publicly admitted in November he doubted whether he wanted to be a coach. Robinson was a Hall of Famer, but his comments were so draining to his players that they never recovered.

Palffy is a potentially explosive scorer teamed on the first line with Luc Robitaille This articlearticle or section has multiple issues:
* Its neutrality is disputed.
* It needs to be expanded.
* It may need copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone and/or spelling.
 and Jozef Stumpel. But more critical will be the attitude the club builds before they get home.

``I know the team is very excited about the new building and I think that might have had something to do with getting me in here and getting off on a good foot,'' Norstrom said Friday. ``I was at the practice today and the turnaround in attitude was incredible. We'll use this time together to build something good.''

Norstrom probably won't play tonight against the Predators, who last year finished six points behind the Kings (32-45-5) in the Western Conference. But during his holdout hold·out  
n.
One that withholds agreement or consent upon which progress is contingent.

Noun 1. holdout - a negotiator who hopes to gain concessions by refusing to come to terms; "their star pitcher was a holdout for six
, he has been skating skating: see ice skating; ice dancing; roller skating.
skating

Sport in which bladelike runners or sets of wheels attached to shoes are used for gliding on ice or on surfaces other than ice.
 for at least two hours a day with the Kings' minor-league affiliate in Long Beach.

Norstrom wasn't certain where the negotiations were headed earlier in the week, but things developed quickly after a phone conversation with Murray.

``That really meant a lot because I could tell how committed he is to making this team better,'' Norstrom said. ``For about three weeks I didn't hear anything from them and I really didn't know where I stood. But this is a business and if you're lucky you only have to go through one of these in your career.

``The guys were happy to see me today and it was great to be back. The mood is so upbeat.''

One of Murray's concerns on the road is the other team's emotional lift playing in their home opener. After Nashville, the Kings fly to St. Louis for a Monday game with the Blues.

Wednesday and Thursday they play in Miami and Tampa Bay Tampa Bay, inlet of the Gulf of Mexico, 25 mi (40 km) long and 7 to 12 mi (11.3–19 km) wide, W Fla., separated from the Gulf by numerous small islands; it receives the Hillsborough River. St.  and finish the week Saturday night in Washington D.C. against the Capitals.

The Kings will then fly home for five days but will not play any games. Then it is off to Calgary and Edmonton for games Oct. 15-16.

``One of the surprises in the schedule I found was how much time off teams have before they face us,'' Murray said. ``There are a lot of times when we get back to L.A. and teams already are here waiting for us. But that will only make us work harder.''
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Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 2, 1999
Words:626
Previous Article:DODGERS NOTEBOOK: KINGS EXEC CONTACTED BY FOX'S WELTS.
Next Article:DUCKS SEASON BEGINS ON THE ROAD, AS USUAL.



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