Kings forward Cam-ouflaged

ERIC FRANCIS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

Anze Kopitar may get all the attention and Rob Blake all the interviews, but it's Mike Cammalleri who gets all the goals in Lotusland these days.

And while the 25-year-old sniper isn't the type of player who sells tickets or dominates games, he's clearly going to be the king of Kings for quite some time -- a budding superstar few are familiar with.

"Maybe people aren't here to watch him, but hopefully they won't appreciate him any more when they leave," laughed former King Craig Conroy before last night's game.

"He kind of reminds me of Brett Hull -- he's down on one knee for one-timers. You're not going to find many natural goal scorers like that. Maybe he doesn't get the flashiest goals but he'll find empty holes and, bang, it's in. He's going to score 35 or 40 goals every year -- he's that good."

It's unlikely many fans left the 'Dome talking about the 5-ft.-9, 185-lb. winger last night, but it was the Richmond Hill native who drew first blood with his seventh goal in eight games to tie for the NHL lead with Dany Heatley and Daymond Langkow. Manning the point on powerplays and winning key draws, the former University of Michigan stud also drew a penalty with solid grunt work and spearheaded most forechecks.

"He's scored goals everywhere he's gone -- college, minors, now here," said Conroy, who replied with one of his own last night as part of a 4-3 Flames win.

"Being in L.A., you don't hear about him -- the 7:30 p.m. start time is 10:30 p.m. out east. And with Kopitar and all that rookie talk, Cammy was unbelievable and wasn't getting the respect."

He got the points, though -- 34 of the quietest goals to go with 46 assists in just his second full NHL season. With his solid start this season and the leadership role he's now providing, it would be hard to argue against including the former world junior star as a top candidate for the Canadian Olympic team in 2010.

"It'd be the biggest dream and honour I could think of alongside with winning a Stanley Cup," said Cammalleri, handed assistant captain status this fall as part of his quick rise to prominence.

"I've thought about it briefly because it's so far away, but I have so much to do to even be considered. I'll do everything in my power to be there."

The rest of the Kings have yet to mirror Cammalleri's brilliance, using a porous defence to get a nice jump on the west basement at 2-6.

"We're at the bottom right now -- I don't think you can get much worse," said Blake, a league-low minus nine entering the game.

"We have a lot of good young talent, but guys like Mike know that to get to the next level in their careers we have to get into the playoffs. There are only a few guys in your career where you see that hunger Mike has. Whether it's a practice or game, he wants to beat every goalie."

Yet, Cammalleri still toils in relative obscurity.

"We talk about that a lot -- it's very different than what you guys are use to here," said Cammalleri of his low profile in L.A. "No one knows who we are and when they do find out they say, 'oh ya? Cool.' The general population is pretty unaware of us. I've only been stopped once or twice a year."

You can bet NHL goalies sure recognize his face.


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