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Kings behind the eight-ball early this season

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I don’t think anyone could have envisioned the Dauphin Kings starting this Manitoba Junior Hockey League campaign 1-5. Not with all the talent and skill on the roster.
But that is where the local junior squad finds itself through the first six-game segment of the season.
Doug Hedley told me they were expecting to end this first segment with 10 points. Instead they only have two, so there is a lot of work ahead for the Kings.
The first thing is to start games on time. In all six games, the Kings have been slow out of the gate. It cost them against Swan Valley at the Showcase last week when the Stamps scored twice in a 14-second span.
There is also work to be done in the defensive zone. Through six games, the Kings have allowed 25 goals against. Only Virden, Winnipeg and Neepawa have allowed more, but the Kings have only played six games, tied with OCN for the fewest.
And despite all their speed, the Kings have only scored 14 goals in their six games. Only Neepawa has scored fewer goals, netting 13 in eight games.
Obviously, there is more than one area where the Kings have to improve and it needs to begin tonight when the Kings host Neepawa, the only team still looking for its first win of the season.
The only saving grace for the Kings could be the fact the Blues and Natives are in rebuilding mode and will not likely contend for a playoff spot.
• • •
So other than a wrong prediction in the American League wildcard game, I’ve pretty much been spot on in my Major League Baseball picks.
I’ve got to admit I’m not used to this. Usually when I pick a team to win, it would be a safe bet to pick the other team.
But so far, so good. At least when it comes to the MLB postseason.
All four division series had a chance to end, yesterday. As I write this over the noon hour on Monday, Houston, New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles are all one win away from advancing to the championship series.
That would be spot on with what I predicted last week. Weird, huh?
• • •
The NHL season began last week, with some surprises.
Of course, it’s no surprise Leafs fans are already planning the Stanley Cup parade after a 2-0-1 start. That usually happens when the Leafs get off to a good start before faltering at some point during the season.
Anyone who took Mika Zibanejad of the Rangers or Detroit’s Anthony Mantha in their fantasy leagues are probably smiling from ear-to-ear after they got off to hot starts.
Through two games, Zibanejad has eight points, while Mantha is right behind with seven, including five goals.
Of course, it will be impossible for either one to keep up that pace, but it’s a good start, nonetheless.
Jets fans may be a little concerned over Winnipeg’s 1-2 start to the campaign, especially when they’ve given up 14 goals in three games.
The Jets may be missing Big Buff more than they expected. If that situation is not settled soon, it could hamper what GM Kevin Cheveldayoff can do to help the defence.
But it is still early. There is a lot of hockey ahead, so sit back and enjoy. It’s going to be a great ride.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER