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Posted On Tuesday, 11.19.2013 / 4:38 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lightning's St. Louis reflective as he hits 1,000 games

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Fifteen years ago Martin St. Louis was in Japan for his first NHL game, and he felt just as unfamiliar on the ice as he did off it.

Then with the Calgary Flames for season-opening overseas games against the San Jose Sharks, St. Louis took the ice at small Yoyogi Arena on Oct. 9, 1998. His teammates included Theo Fleury, Phil Housley and Jarome Iginla.

"I remember walking away from my first game thinking I could have done more," St. Louis said. "I was still a fan. I was impressed by the players I was playing with and against. Once I stopped being a fan, it helped my game."

Fast forward to Tuesday night, when many will be in awe at St. Louis, 38, who will play his 1,000th game when his Tampa Bay Lightning plays the Los Angeles Kings. It has been a remarkable run for St. Louis, who has missed only seven games in the past 10 years. Fewer than 300 players have reached the milestone.

Posted On Saturday, 11.09.2013 / 3:04 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Martinez hopes to stay in Kings lineup

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It's not the way Alec Martinez wanted to get back into the Los Angeles Kings lineup, but he's trying to make the most of his opportunity.

Los Angeles went down to six available defensemen when Matt Greene sustained an undisclosed injury, so the Kings had little choice but to insert Martinez back in the lineup. After he was scratched for the previous seven games, Martinez played Thursday and will be back in Saturday night when L.A. hosts the Vancouver Canucks.

"Obviously it's unfortunate that we've got other guys getting hurt but I think we've got a lot of depth in this room and injuries are going to happen," Martinez said. "You need to be able to rely on those players when it does happen. I'm just trying to play my game and help the team win."

Posted On Friday, 11.08.2013 / 3:11 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Ducks to go with Andersen in goal

ANAHEIM -- Depth at goalie for the Anaheim Ducks has worked out so well that backup Frederik Andersen is 4-0-0 without having started a game at home.

Logic would dictate that coach Bruce Boudreau would go back to Jonas Hiller after a win, but Andersen will get his first home start Friday against the Buffalo Sabres. Andersen was recalled from the American Hockey League when Viktor Fasth was injured, and his adjustment to the NHL has been smooth enough that Boudreau is comfortable going back to him.

"We play Vancouver on Sunday, which I want [Hiller] to play, so it seemed like a good spot for a goalie that's undeterred," Boudreau said. "What I mean by that is that there's no letdown I think in his mind because he's still trying to impress to be here."

Posted On Thursday, 11.07.2013 / 4:02 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kings' Vey to make NHL debut against Sabres

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Linden Vey's family lives too far for them to come to Los Angeles for an extended period of time. Vey is from Wakaw, Saskatchewan, with a population of about 1,000.

"Really small," Vey said. "Everybody knows everybody."

They will have to settle for seeing Vey on television for his NHL debut, as is expected when Vey and the Los Angeles Kings play the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday. Vey took line rushes at center on the fourth line while Colin Fraser stayed out for extra skating.

"You just got to think of it as just another hockey game," Vey said. "Obviously it's a little more than that. I've been playing ever since I was 4 years old and I'm looking forward to this. I think there will be a little bit of nerves the first shift, but once I get into it I'll be fine."

Posted On Saturday, 11.02.2013 / 3:33 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kings insert Toffoli for Carter; Vey could debut

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Tyler Toffoli was deep asleep when Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi tried his cell phone Thursday night several times to give him and teammate Linden Vey the big news: They were being recalled from the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League because of an injury to Jeff Carter.

"I was taking a nap and I turned over and I had like six missed calls," Toffoli said.

"I was confused. I had a 310 [area code] number [on my phone]. I didn't have his number on my phone. I didn't really know what to expect, and then once he picked us up [in the car], we were just trying to go through our heads and see what we did wrong for Dean have this meeting with us. Fortunately, it was a good meeting."

Posted On Wednesday, 10.30.2013 / 3:51 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sharks' Havlat to make season debut

LOS ANGELES -- The San Jose Sharks hardly needed more offensive firepower, but right wing Marty Havlat will make his season debut Wednesday in a big divisional game against the Los Angeles Kings.

Havlat is recovered from pelvic surgery in June and it will be his first game since Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals, also against the Kings, on May 18. He will step onto the third line with Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels. Havlat isn't sure what to expect but he's anxious to get back in.

"I haven't played a game in six months," he said. "It's been a long time. It feels good to be back on the ice with the guys. We'll see how it goes."

Posted On Thursday, 10.24.2013 / 2:58 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kings juggle lines, split Brown and Kopitar

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter doesn't mix his lines as much as other coaches, but he does it at predictable times.

Los Angeles is coming off a rare home loss in which it allowed three power-play goals and enters its game Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes having been shorthanded 43 times, third-most in the NHL. Home-ice dominance and penalty killing are staples of the Kings' game, so it wasn't surprising that Sutter shook things up.

"We've seen it before so it's not really a big deal," Kings center Anze Kopitar said. "But I guess it brings a little bit of attention to everybody."

Sutter separated Kopitar and captain Dustin Brown, who was moved to the third line with Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis. Mike Richards appears to be getting a look at left wing with Jeff Carter at center and Matt Frattin on the right side. Carter takes a lot of faceoffs anyway, while the Richards-Frattin swap is yet another admission that L.A. desperately needs left-wing scoring.

Posted On Monday, 10.21.2013 / 2:56 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kings' Carcillo finally feeling like himself

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Daniel Carcillo admitted he hadn't had the most productive seasons before his arrival in Los Angeles this summer. He was limited to 23 games last season because of an injured right knee and 28 games in 2011-12 because of season-ending knee surgery.

But Carcillo has rebounded with the Kings, specifically on the second line with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in a reprise from the trio's days with the Philadelphia Flyers. He will play his third game in that spot Monday when the Kings host the Calgary Flames.

"The last few years my game hasn't really been up to par and I know that," Carcillo said. "That's from a bunch of different factors, injuries and such. I really focused this summer on getting back down to my normal weight and getting more comfortable with my body after a couple of surgeries. I think it's all coming together again and I feel good again. It's encouraging, but not being in the lineup lights a fire under your butt."

Posted On Friday, 10.18.2013 / 3:49 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Ducks' Fasth sitting out as a precaution

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau had an easy decision on his starting goaltender for his team's game Friday against the Phoenix Coyotes after Viktor Fasth tweaked something at the end of practice Thursday.

Fasth has a lower-body injury, according to the team. Boudreau indicated it wasn't serious, but the Ducks recalled Frederik Andersen from Norfolk of the American Hockey League to back up Jonas Hiller on Friday. Emergency goalie Rob Laurie, 43, took Fasth's place at the morning skate.

"It's just day-to-day," Boudreau said. "Everything's precautionary in this world."

Posted On Wednesday, 10.16.2013 / 3:19 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Penner to return to Ducks lineup

ANAHEIM – Dustin Penner will return to the lineup for the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night against the Calgary Flames.

Penner skated on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry at the morning skate. He missed the previous game because of a lower-body injury.

“He looked good enough to play,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Whether I play him is a different story, but he looked good enough to play.”

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