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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 6:40 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Kopitar looks forward to Swedish homecoming

It's been six seasons since Anze Kopitar played in Sweden, but he still has fond memories of his time in Sweden and is looking at Friday night's 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere game against the New York Rangers as a homecoming of sorts.

Kopitar played two seasons with Sodertalje, a Swedish Elite club located about an hour south of here. He has made countless trips to Stockholm with Sodertalje. He even played several games in the Globe Arena, site of Friday night's game.

"I played a few games here that I remember well," he told NHL.com after Friday's morning skate at the Globe.

He is also excited to have some family and friends in the building. Slovenia is several hours away, but his grandparents and his girlfriend have made the trip. His parents, though, are back in Los Angeles and will watch the game on TV.

There will also be a contingent from the Sodertalje organization at Friday's game

"Not a whole lot of guys," Koptar said. "The organization has changed. It's been a few years since i played there, but I will have a few guys coming in."

After traversing much of North America during the preseason and then having extended training camp and an exhibition game in Hamburg, Kopitar is ready to start the regular season.

"It's time," he said.

He knows the Kings are expected to be better than the club that finished No. 7 in the Western Conference last season and was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. He believes the Kings are better, but wants to see his assumption challenged by the pressure of the regular season.

"It seems that way that we've gotten a lot better over the summer," Kopitar said "It's tough to see guys go, but I guess you have to give up something to get something. It's nice to see those guys come in and obviously they are hungry. There's a lot of experience in that group. It's definitely going to help us experience-wise."



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Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 2:33 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Doughty faces no limitations

Drew Doughty may have just three full practices and one preseason game under his belt after signing a new-long term deal last week, but he will be under no restrictions when it comes to playing time in Friday's season-opening game against the New York Rangers (1 p.m. ET, Versus, TSN).

"I had a conversation with Drew the other day after the game and asked him how he is doing and how he is feeling," Kings coach Terry Murray said Thursday. "He said he felt very comfortable in the exhibition game against Hamburg. I have confidence that he is going to be able to log the minutes we need from him.

"He's energized, he's enthusiastic, he's excited about his new deal and coming back to join the team. He's a great player and we'll get him the minutes we feel we need to get from him."

Last season, Doughty played almost 26 minutes a game. His mark of 25:38 was topped by just four other defensemen.

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Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 2:14 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Doughty faces no limitations

Drew Doughty may have just three full practices and one exhibition game under his belt after signing a new-long term deal last week.

But he will be under no restrictions when it comes to playing time in Friday's season-opening game against the New York Rangers.

"I had a conversation with Drew the other day after the game and asked him how he is doing and how he is feeling," Murray said Thursday. "He said he felt very comfortable in the exhibition game against Hamburg. I have confidence that he is going to be able to log the minutes we need from him.

"He's energized, he's enthusiastic, he's excited about his new deal and coming back to join the team. He's a great player and we'll get him the minutes we feel we need to get from him."

Last season, Doughty played almost 26 minutes a game. His mark of 25:38 was topped by just four other defensemen.



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Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 2:10 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Kings without Penner for season opener

The Los Angeles Kings will not begin the 2011-12 season with their full roster.

Dustin Penner, normally a top-six forward, will not play in Friday's opener against the New York Rangers at Globe Arena. He has been ruled out with an undisclosed injury.

"Dustin Penner is still not feeling great," Murray said Thursday after the team's 75-minute practice at the Globe. "He's probably about 80 percent. It's improving, but it's going to take some time. He's not going to be ready for tomorrow. He'll just continue to rehab, get some ice time and push him until he's comfortable."

Penner took part in Thursday's practice, but left after 40 minutes.

With Penner out, Murray juggled his lines a bit. Brad Richardson moved into the top-six rotation and spent Thursday on a line with Mike Richards and Dustin Brown.

That alignment was a bit of a surprise, but Murray said it was a reward to Richardson for his work in camp, as well as a strong showing to close last season.

"He's been real good, right from the first day," Murray said of Richardson. "He's just coming off the playoff from last year where I thought he showed some signs of breaking through. He's got great speed. I think the confidence is starting to show in his game. He put a lot of numbers up in junior, and sometimes with players it takes a little bit of time.

"Again, he is starting to feel it, it's starting to come. He's more comfortable in tighter situations with the puck on his stick. He's always been a player that can create separation with his speed. I just hope he continues to go forward from here. It's a great opportunity for him."

In other lineup news, Murray confirmed that Jonathan Quick would start Game 1. He would not, however reveal if he has a goalie already in mind for Saturday's game in Berlin against the Buffalo Sabres.

"The only thing I can say is that Quick will play the game tomorrow," Murray said. "We talked in the past, in the early part of camp back home, where I have said that I won’t lock myself in and have designated games for the goaltenders. We're going to play it out here. Points are so critical that if we got a goaltender that is on a roll, that's the right way to go."


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Posted On Wednesday, 10.05.2011 / 12:38 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Parse makes final cut for Kings

The Los Angeles Kings cut their roster to 23 players Thursday during an off-day for the team here in Stockholm.

Defenseman Slava Voynov was optioned to Manchester of the American Hockey League, while Jake Muzzin was placed on injured reserve. Colin Fraser, meanwhile, will start the season as an injured non-roster player.

Scott Parse
Those moves got the Kings down to 23 roster players, plus Jeff Zatkoff, the third goalie. Zatkoff does not count against the roster while in Europe; he'll be optioned to Manchester when the team returns to North America on Sunday.

The final roster cut-down deadline is Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET.

Wednesday's announcement also means forward Scott Parse has made the club despite struggling through much of camp.

Parse, who admitted to his struggles in the preseason, had a stronger game Tuesday in a 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere Challenge game against the Hamburg Freezers at O2 Arena in Hamburg, Germany, which likely assured his spot on the team.

After the game, Kings coach Terry Murray admitted he wasn't pleased where Parse was at, but believed there still was room for improvement as the forward tries to put major hip surgery behind him. Certainly, Parse's track record helped him stick with the club.

Murray said he put Parse on the team's top line Tuesday in an attempt to get Parse going. He liked the results, to a degree, and suggested Parse could open the season as a first-line forward -- especially with forward Dustin Penner questionable for Friday's 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere season-opener against the New York Rangers at the Globe (1 p.m. ET, Versus, TSN).

"First of all, he's coming through a lot from last year; he missed all but five games during the season, then he ended up with a couple games in the playoffs because of the hip surgery," Murray said after his team earned a 5-3 victory against Hamburg. "That's a major rehab process that he has gone through. He made a huge commitment in the offseason to work out and get himself ready for camp. I think he's still just trying to find his way.

"The one thing that he brings is that first, second step, where he can create separation and score some goals, and I'm not seeing that quickness right now. It's a little methodical, and so he has a ways to go, but on the positive side of it, I like his attitude. He did work very hard. He's trying to get it all together. Parse is a player who can score. I will keep him there and give him the opportunity to get things on track."
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Posted On Wednesday, 10.05.2011 / 10:10 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Doughty passes first test

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty was just happy to survive Thursday night's preseason game against Hamburg.

After all, much was conspiring against him. Most importantly, he had just two practices -- actually one practice and a morning skate -- with the full team after arriving in camp late because of a contract stalemate. Secondly, the game was played on the big ice, meaning he would have a ton of extra ice to cover.

Yet, thanks to the fact that the Kings dressed eight defensemen and coach Terry Murray was judicious with Doughty's ice time, the young defenseman was able to weather the storm and come out the other side in better shape for it.

"I felt good," Doughty said minutes after his team earned a 5-3 win against the Freezers at O2 World Arena. "Obviously, I didn't feel 100 percent or the way I wanted to; but after the long trip, I thought I played well."

Doughty made several good defensive plays in the game and was dangerous from the point on the offensive side of the puck, but he says the Olympic-sized ice was causing him some problems -- especially in down-low coverage.

"That was the tough part," he said. "I think all the guys struggled with that (Tuesday night). You thought you were in a good position and that guy's 15 feet away. It was a tough adjustment, but we did alright. These games are tough to play in."

After landing in Stockholm early Wednesday morning, the Kings were given the day off. They will practice Thursday at the Globe Arena in a final preparation for Friday's 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere game against the Rangers here on Friday.

That game will be played on NHL-sized ice and Doughty says he will be ready.

"You know, I think I will be at my best in that opener there," Doughty said. "Once I put my mind to it, I go out there and play my best. That's my main focus now, getting in a couple of practices and being at my best on opening day."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 2:47 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Moreau pads lead with goal early in third

The Kings finally have a bit of breathing room as Ethan Moreau gives Los Angeles a 5-3 lead on Hamburg here at O2 World Arena.

Moreau, the fifth King to score Tuesday, roofed a backhander off a rebound past a late-reacting John Curry, who had little chance on the play, which started with a great chance by Anze Kopitar.

Hamburg has already erased three leads in this game, but they will be hard-pressed to do so again as there are less than 15 minutes remaining in the game.


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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 2:25 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Richardson gives Kings 4-3 advantage after two

The Los Angeles Kings wanted a good tune-up for the regular season when they played the Hamburg Freezers Tuesday night at O2 World Arena in their final preseason game.

Well, they are getting just that. After two periods here, the Kings lead 4-3, taking their fourth lead of the game as Brad Richardson scored the go-ahead goal with just 16 seconds left in the second period.

The Kings got off to a dream start, scoring just 36 seconds into the game.

Justin Williams' goal, on the first shot of the game, was a seemingly harmless wrister from the right circle that seemed to handcuff John Curry, the Hamburg goalie. Curry played the past several seasons in the Pittsburgh Penguins' system. This is his first year with Hamburg.

After carrying the play for close to five minutes, the Freezers were rewarded with a power-play goal that tied the game at 1-1. Former NHLer Serge Aubin, who played 374 NHL games for Columbus, Colorado and Atlanta, beat Jonathan Quick with a nasty shot from the slot with 7:09 left.

On the very next shift, Alex Martinez restored the lead for the Kings, snapping home a brilliant feed from Dustin Brown, who used the wide ice of the Olympic-sized rink here to give himself some separation.

However, with a little more than two minutes remaining in the period, Kevin Schmidt, from Markham, Ont., pinched in from the point and received a perfect pass, which he fired over Quick's shoulder to tie the game heading into intermission.

In the second period, the teams exchanged goals again to send it into the third deadlocked.

The Kings failed on a pair of power plays in the first half of the second period and then watched as Hamburg scored on the counter-attack to take a 3-2 lead midway through.

The Freezers earned the goal, as they dominated play on the scoring shift before Aubin scored on his own rebound after Quick had made two initial saves on the sequence. It was Aubin's second goal of the game.

Just as was the case in the first period, though, Hamburg couldn't hold a lead as the Kings stormed back and got a goal from Anze Kopitar after passes from Justin Williams and Scott Parse, who is in a dogfight to make this team.

Quick was pulled after the goal in a pre-planned move as Kings coach Terry Murray put in Jonathan Bernier for the second half of the game

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty is making his preseason debut in this game after signing a new long-term deal late last week and has already made two good defensive plays.


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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 2:15 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Kopitar pulls Kings into 3-3 tie with Hamburg

For the Kings, it was time to get a little nervous.

The team failed on a pair of power plays in the first half of the second period and then watched as Hamburg scored on the counter-attack to take a 3-2 lead midway through. The Freezers earned the goal, as they dominated play on the scoring shift before Serge Aubin scored on his own rebound after Jonathan Quick had made two initial saves on the sequence. It was Aubin's second goal of the game.

Just as was the case in the first period, though, Hamburg couldn't hold a lead. The Kings stormed back and got a goal from Anze Kopitar after passes from Justin Williams and Scott Parse, who is in a dogfight to make this team.

Quick was pulled after the goal in a pre-planned move as Kings coach Terry Murray put in Jonathan Bernier for the second half of the game



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Posted On Tuesday, 10.04.2011 / 1:43 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Kings, Freezers deadlocked at 2-2 after one period

The Los Angeles Kings wanted a good tune-up for the regular season when they played the Hamburg Freezers Tuesday night at O2 World Arena in their final preseason game.

Well, they are getting just that. After one period here, the score is tied 2-2 as the Freezers have twice erased one-goal deficits.

The Kings got off to a dream start, scoring just 36 seconds into the game

Justin Williams' goal, on the first shot of the game, was a seemingly harmless wrister from the right circle that seemed to handcuff John Curry, the Hamburg goalie. Curry played the past several seasons in the Pittsburgh Penguins' system. This is his first year with Hamburg.

After carrying the play for close to five minutes, the Freezers were rewarded with a power-play goal that tied the game at 1-1. Former NHLer Serge Aubin, who played 374 NHL games for Columbus, Colorado and Atlanta, beat Jonathan Quick with a nasty shot from the slot with 7:09 left.

But on the very next shift, Alex Martinez restored the lead for the Kings, snapping home a brilliant feed from Dustin Brown, who used the wide ice of the Olympic-sized rink here to give himself some separation.

However, with a little more than two minutes remaining in the period, Kevin Schmidt, from Markham, Ont., pinched in from the point and received a perfect pass, which he fired over Quick's shoulder to tie the game heading into intermission.

Quick got the start for the Kings and he will play approximately half the game, according to coach Terry Murray. Jonathan Bernier will play the second half. Drew Doughty is making his preseason debut in this game after signing a new long-term deal late last week and has already made two good defensive plays.



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