The Los Angeles Kings' defense of their Stanley Cup title looks a whole lot like their championship season so far.
They just haven't got to the good part yet.
The team that turned a rocky regular season into the franchise's first NHL title is off to another slow start. Injuries, poor offense and a rough schedule have pushed the Kings well back in the Western Conference pack during the first quarter of the season.
Although the Kings (5-5-2) climbed out of last place in the conference with a 2-1 win over NHL-worst Columbus on Friday night, it was their only home appearance in a nine-game stretch over the first three weeks of February.
With so many obstacles already, the Kings have learned why repeating is so tough in the NHL.