By Kevin Roderick
L.A. Times beat writers will no longer routinely cover road trips of the Kings and Ducks, Sports Editor Randy Harvey tells LA Observed. Hockey columnist Helene Elliott will become a general columnist and drop her weekly report on the National Hockey League. "In that role, however, I'm sure she will still often write about hockey," Harvey emails. Pucks have always been less popular than balls within the Times staff, but this marks a pretty sharp swerve in the road. Beat writers might still go along when news or a feature angle warrants, but this makes the Times more like the smaller papers around town. Fox Sports' Ben Maller first reported the change on his blog, and it's apparently drawing howls on the Canadian sports talk circuit. At the fan board LetsGoKings.com, one commenter quipped "The LA Times covered hockey?" but another figured it out: "It's simple. The Kings need to win. LA is always behind a winner. The LAT will cover the Kings if they win and win a lot, and make it deep in the playoffs (not going to happen)."