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Posted On Thursday, 02.12.2015 / 4:16 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flames at Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – The Los Angeles Kings have had to patch holes in their defense for most of the season, so this latest setback isn't anything new.

Defenseman Alec Martinez will miss his second straight game Thursday against the Calgary Flames because he is being evaluated for concussion-like symptoms. He has not been skating. The Kings recalled defenseman Derek Forbort from the American Hockey League, but Forbort did not take line rushes and won't appear to make his NHL debut.

Defensemen Robyn Regehr and Drew Doughty were partnered again as the top pair after coach Darryl Sutter put them together the previous game.

Posted On Tuesday, 02.03.2015 / 3:52 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Hurricanes at Ducks

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks defenseman Eric Brewer will return to the lineup for the first time in two months Tuesday when Anaheim plays the Carolina Hurricanes at Honda Center.

Brewer was acquired by the Ducks in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Nov. 28 when Anaheim was missing half of its defensemen, but he broke his foot blocking a shot Nov. 29.

"There's been no shortage of skating, just practicing, practicing, practicing," Brewer said. "So it's nice to get out in a match. There is an element of having not played, so there is that, but I'm pretty confident it's going to be fine."

Brewer, 35, expects some adrenaline at this stage of his career. He is 16 games shy of 1,000 for his career.

"I've thought about it since I've been out, for sure," he said. "But those things play out. You really do just have to play the game and be healthy and work on the short-term progress to get those things."

Posted On Friday, 01.30.2015 / 3:59 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blackhawks at Ducks

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy used the words tired and disappointed to describe his teammates' mood. But there isn't much time to dwell because they play Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center in a potential Western Conference Final preview.

It's about as tough a turnaround as it gets after Anaheim lost 6-3 to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.

"This is an elite team that we're playing tonight," Lovejoy said Friday. "We're tired. We're coming off a terrible game. We need to be mentally prepared from the start. We need to go out and play one of the smartest games of the year because your legs aren't as perfect as you like them to be."

Lovejoy was one of a handful of Ducks that skated at an optional practice. Most of the players' time was spent at a video session after the Ducks allowed five second-period goals to the Sharks. The main concern was the number of odd-man rushes allowed.

"We always have to pay attention to the details of the game," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "And last night the details got away from us, and that's why they had odd-man rushes. That's why we had bad line changes."

Posted On Wednesday, 01.28.2015 / 5:28 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blackhawks at Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings will likely get right wing Tyler Toffoli back for a crucial stretch of their season that starts Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks at Staples Center (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, SN1).

Toffoli, who skated in line rushes the past two days, was activated off injured reserve. He missed six games with mononucleosis and coach Darryl Sutter said, "It will take him a bit to get up to speed."

Sutter referenced Toffoli's inconsistency. Toffoli scored 10 goals in his first 25 games but has two goals in his past 16 games.

"I think he had a tougher time in the middle of November, middle of December," Sutter said. "It's his first full year in the NHL … he ran out of gas. A lot of them young guys [do that]. They went a long playoffs, those kids, and probably didn't have as much training and didn't put as much work in. They came back excited and had a really good start and leveled off."

Posted On Wednesday, 01.21.2015 / 9:48 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flames at Ducks

ANAHEIM -- The Calgary Flames have grown tired of hearing about their long losing streak at Honda Center, but that didn't stop coach Bob Hartley from pulling out a one-liner about their game Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

"It's another big game," Hartley said. "What went on in 1940 and what went on in 2005, 2010, what can we change? Elvis is dead, the Beatles have split and there's a big game tonight."

Calgary has lost 19 straight games (0-14-5) at Honda Center since Jan. 19, 2004. It is the longest road losing streak in the NHL. The Flames come in 4-0-0 on their five-game Pacific Division trip and can match their six-game road winning streak from 2009.

Calgary is a remarkable 14-3-1 against the division and will continue to ride goalie Joni Ortio, who is 4-0-0 with 1.23 goals-against average, a .958 save percentage and one shutout.

Posted On Monday, 01.19.2015 / 3:58 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flames at Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings will get a much-needed piece of their defense back when defenseman Robyn Regehr returns from an upper-body injury Monday against the Calgary Flames at Staples Center.

Regehr took line rushes with defenseman Alec Martinez and said he is ready to return after a 12-game absence from what was believed to be a hand injury.

"It's been four-and-a-half weeks," Regehr said. "It's always exciting to get back in the lineup and play against a former team too."

Regehr was cleared last week but needed extra days to regain strength and test it out with contact.

"A lot of is strength, because I had to be immobilized in a cast for a while, in a splint, so it was just working on getting strength back as much as I could, and also mobility too," he said. "When you immobilize something for a little while it stiffens up and it wasn't moving quite the way the way it needed to."

Posted On Saturday, 01.17.2015 / 4:16 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Ducks at Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The spotlight will be bright for center Nick Shore when he makes his NHL debut for the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday at Staples Center. A packed house is expected for the jersey retirement ceremony of Rob Blake, and it's a rivalry game against the Anaheim Ducks.

"It's going to be really exciting," Shore said. "It's a new experience for me. Obviously there's going to be some nerves going for me before the game, but I'm really excited to jump into one."

Shore, 22, was recalled after a leg injury to left wing Tanner Pearson and illness to right wing Tyler Toffoli. Shore is a point-per-game player for the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League and was tied for the AHL lead with 20 goals at the time of his recall. His older brother, Drew, was recently traded from the Florida Panthers to the Calgary Flames, who play at the Kings on Monday, so it could be a brother vs. brother matchup.

Shore isn't thinking that far ahead. His two-way game is well-suited for the Kings, and he said it helped having been through two training camps. The Kings did not do line rushes but Shore on Friday skated with left wing Dwight King and Jeff Carter on right wing.

Posted On Wednesday, 01.14.2015 / 3:50 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Devils at Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Kings goalie Martin Jones did his part to earn another start, and it comes just in time to give goalie Jonathan Quick a rest.

Jones will make consecutive starts for the second time this season when the Kings play the New Jersey Devils at Staples Center on Wednesday. He was first off the ice after the morning skate.

Jones had a 19-save shutout Monday in a 2-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs, after he had allowed 10 goals on 36 shots in his previous two games. Kings coach Darryl Sutter dismissed the notion of Jones bouncing back and referenced managing his goalies to the All-Star break.

"We need both our goalies to win games," Sutter said. "We're giving Quick here another chance to get at least six or more days between games, and you need your other goalie to win games. It's not bounce back. They either win or you lose. If we had won the other night, then Quick would play tonight. It's not somebody ahead of the other."

Posted On Monday, 01.12.2015 / 4:12 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Maple Leafs at Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – The depth of the Los Angeles Kings is about to be tested again.

The Kings will be without left wing Tanner Pearson and right wing Tyler Toffoli, two-thirds of "That '70s Line," indefinitely, starting Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Staples Center.

Center Nick Shore was recalled but he did not take part in line rushes and center Andy Andreoff skated on the fourth line. Toffoli and Pearson have scored 24 of the Kings' 118 goals. How do the Kings make up for their absence?

"You don't," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "They're very important players on our team, not just numbers-wise, but they're a big part of our whole puck-possession game, our penalty-killing game. All that. You don't replace those players. What you do is you put other guys in, guys that are either [complaining] about ice time that think they should be playing … or veterans have to give you a little bit more."

Posted On Sunday, 01.11.2015 / 2:31 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Jets at Ducks

The Winnipeg Jets and Anaheim Ducks were not expected to skate before they played Sunday at Honda Center.

It will be an emotional night for Anaheim, which will retire Teemu Selanne's No. 8 jersey in a pregame ceremony set to start at 4:15 p.m. PT. The Ducks must balance a lengthy ceremony with preparing for a game.

"Mentally, you have to stick with it," Ducks left wing Andrew Cogliano told the Ducks website Saturday. "You have to prepare differently because it's just a different day. There's different things going on. Your schedule's a little off, and you have to find a way to get ready for the game … it will be a challenge."

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