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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 11:19 AM

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

Young defenseman Martinez has been gaining notice

Although he did not find his way on to the score sheet Friday night in the 3-2 overtime victory against the New York Rangers in Stockholm, it was hard to ignore young defenseman Alec Martinez, who is entering his second full season with the Los Angeles Kings.

On most of the 24 shifts he took Friday night -- combining for 19:44 of ice time -- he did something positive to catch the eyes of the coaching staff and spectators alike. At other times, he was not noticeable at all -- which is also good for a defenseman because it means he is not making mistakes.

Less than 15 hours removed from that performance, Murray had some high praise for Martinez, who played his college Hockey at Miami University and made his NHL breakthrough this past season, appearing in 60 NHL games, as well as the Kings' first-round playoff loss to the Sharks.

"He's the kind of player that you have to make room for and you want to see grow and you want to see get more minutes in a game," Murray told NHL.com. "He's got great mobility, vision, he jumps up in the play and he can score goals and defends very well because of his agility and mobility.

"He's a young guy that still has some stuff to figure out in the defending part of the game, especially the down-low part of the game. But we want to keep pushing and demanding more of him so his game will continue to improve and he can contribute more in the critical situations. "

One of the things that makes Martinez so noticeable is his ability to handle the transition game and get the puck to the right places, allowing the Kings to get into that quick counter-attacking mode they favor. Plus, he can do it either with the puck on his stick, lugging it to the offensive zone, or with the quick pass.

"It is the way the game is evolving, with the speed now and the necessity for defenseman to be able to carry the puck, move the puck through the middle of the ice," Murray said. "We see a tremendous upside with him and we just hope that he is going to be able to handle the workload that we're going to ask of him."

Martinez's workload is approaching 20 minutes per game despite the fact that he plays a similar style to franchise cornerstones Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty. All three like to look for offense and all three still need to work extra hard in their own end to make up for deficiencies there. But Murray says Martinez has earned the extra playing time and he will continue to get it until his play suggests otherwise.

"You do have to have four (defensemen) that play a big part of it," Murray said. "You are looking for your shutdown guys that are going to match up against top lines and your PK guys like Matt Greene and Rob Scuderi. The other players -- particularly with Martinez, I don't think is a problem with putting more of a workload on him. He's able to handle it -- we have seen it in the minors and we have seen it in training camp.

"I'm just excited for him because he's a player that really surprised us last year whenever we called him up. He's become a pretty important player for us."

Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 9:47 AM

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

Murray says Premiere experience has been positive

For the Kings, their European adventure is almost complete.

After arriving in Hamburg on Monday for a Tuesday night game against the Freezers of the DEL, the Kings settled in Stockholm for three days. That stay was finished off Friday night with a 3-2 overtime win against the New York Rangers in the first of two 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere games the Kings will play.

The team arrived in Berlin in the wee hours of the morning Saturday and will play the Buffalo Sabres, 4-1 victors against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday in Helsinki, Finland, on Saturday night at the O2 Arena here. After the game, the Kings fly to the United States for an extended stay on the East Coast before Thursday night's game in New Jersey.

Despite some obvious travel hardships, coach Terry Murray says his team's Premiere experience has been all the team could want.

"It's been a great week here (in Europe)," Murray told NHL.com. "To me, everything was really well done with the planning part of it. It's an incredible amount of work done by a whole lot of people. There's so many details. Our training staff has been phenomenal in getting done what they needed to get done in moving us around and having everything in place for the players.

"From the League standpoint, everything was exactly what we needed. There were plenty of people to give us whatever information we needed, to help us out to move around. I don't think you can ask for anything better than that actually."

Murray raved about Friday night's game in Stockholm, and not just because his team emerged victorious thanks to Jack Johnson's dramatic goal in overtime.

"Overall, I think the experience has been tremendous, giving back to the European fans," Murray continued. "The energy in the building (Friday) night was really good. It was a lot of fun playing in Stockholm. There are a lot of great Swedish players over the years, a lot of them in attendance (Friday night). That part of it was great and we are just looking forward to finish it off tonight in Berlin."

As mentioned, the Kings will charter home Saturday night after the game, arriving in the States in the early-morning hours of Sunday morning. After a rest-and-recuperation day Sunday, the team will hit the ice Monday to begin preparation for Thursday's game against the Devils. The team then plays the Flyers on Saturday night before heading home for next Tuesday's home opener against The St. Louis Blues.

Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 9:42 AM

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

Penner will miss second straight for Kings

Dustin Penner will not play in Saturday's 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere final against the Buffalo Sabres at O2 Arena, missing his second-straight game with an unspecified injury, coach Terry Murray stated Saturday morning.

"Every day that he is off the ice, he's going to get better, he's going to recover more," Murray told NHL.com at the team's Berlin hotel. "We'll get him through another day here with some treatment and then we'll get back over to East Coast after the game tonight and then we have four days before we play again. That's going to be good for him. We'll get him back on the ice on Monday and work on getting his conditioning back up. Three days of hard work and hopefully he'll be ready for the Devils."

Penner missed just the seventh game of his career since becoming a full-time player in the NHL during the 2006-07 season.

Murray also revealed on Saturday morning that Jonathan Bernier will get the start in goal for Saturday night's game. Jonathan Quick was the goalie in Friday's 3-2 OT win against the Rangers in Stockholm, stopping 24 of 26 shots. But Murray has decided to shuffle the deck, in part because of the hard travel conditions to get to Berlin post-game. The team did not arrive at the hotel until after 2 a.m. local time.

"It's back-to-back games and it was a very late night last night," Murray said. "Getting here, that is too hard. That's part of it and the other part of it is both goalies are looking good; they are fresh and we'll give Bernier his opportunity tonight."

Bernier is 15-11-3 in his 32 career appearances, posting a 2.56 goals against average, a .911 save percentage and 4 shutouts.

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."



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.

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.



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."


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."
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."

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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— Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom in an interview with Washington Post about whether he will be able to play in 2015-16 opener
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