By Justin Kischefsky
hen asked to comment on his play during the first six weeks of the season. Kings left wing/center Dmitri Khristich responded, "I'm playing okay." This at a time when he was leading the Kings in scoring and was ranked among the top-10 in the. National Hockey League.
     Last season Khristich was named the Kings' most valuable player as he led the team in goals (27), finished second on the club in assists (37) and points (64); and had 19 multiple-point games. "Last year was a pretty fair year for me, but not great," said Khristich.
      Early into the 1996-97 season Khristich was leading the Kings in assists with 14 and to topped the team in points with 19. He had scored at least one point in 10 games and the team with six multiple-point games. Khristich scored three points in a game twice on the young sea- son and during one six-game stretch scored 11 points (3-8=11).
      "I am pleased with all of the assists this season," Khristich said. "It seemed last year that I would make good passes but the puck just would not go in. This year it seems to be going in more for us."
      "I think Dmitri in both years here has played exceptionally well," commented Kings head coach Larry Robinson. "This year we have had him play center instead of left wing so he is playing against some of the better centers in the league and I think he is doing a great job there. Also, we have asked him to kill
penalties for us and he is really helping us with that."
      The 28-year-old native of Kiev, Ukraine, was originally drafted by Washington in the 1988 entry draft (120th overall) and began his NHL career with the Capitals in the 1990-91 season, playing 40 games and scoring 27 points (13-14=27). The following year he scored 36 goals and 73 points for the Caps. He was acquired by the Kings from Washington in a july 8, 1995, trade.
      Now in his seventh NHL season, Khristich has averaged 31 goals per 82-game season. The fewest points he has scored in a full season is 58 (29-29=58) in the 1993-94 campaign. Entering this season he had scored more than 300 career points (148-166=314). One of the senior members of the Kings, Khristich played in his 400th NHLgame Oct. 21 at Detroit. He ranks fourth among current Kings in NHL games played and in games played as a King.
      "With being traded last year everyone on the Kings was a new face to me and with all of the changes it seems that everyone is new this year as well," Khristich said. "As the season has gone on we have gotten to know each other better and have been playing better as a team."
      Despite all of the personnel changes Khristich feels the Kings can be a playoff team. "We definitely can make the playoffs this season and can be successful in the playoffs as well."

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