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After Injury, Kings Turn Page

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Scott Parse has made highlight-reel plays, but needs to find more consistencey in his game in his most recent call up.

The holidays weren't exactly happy for Scott Parse, at least in a hockey sense.

Sent to the AHL, with three other players, to get in some games while the Kings were on their eight-day break, Parse did not get the call to rejoin the team when it played Saturday at Phoenix.

Instead, Parse played at Portland on Saturday and in Manchester on Sunday, when the Monarchs beat Providence. After that afternoon game, Parse caught a flight to Los Angeles, called up in response to the broken leg suffered by Justin Williams on Saturday, and arrived after midnight.

Parse is scheduled to be in the lineup tonight when the Kings host Minnesota at STAPLES Center.

"You never want to see a guy get hurt, especially with a bad injury like that," Parse said. "But I did have an idea that it might be a possibility, that I would come up, so I'm excited to be here."

When Parse left the Kings, roughly two weeks ago, it was with some pointed words from coach Terry Murray, who urged Parse to focus on consistency. The "highlight-reel" plays, as Murray called them, were present in Parse's game, but Murray said he needed to see a stronger overall game.

"I agree with (the coaches)," Parse said. "My last few games, the ones in Canada before the break, weren't good enough, and I knew that. So I can't argue about that. It wasn't good enough; I know that.

"That's the hard thing, consistency. We're playing a lot of games right now, and that's a hard thing to learn. You've got to be consistent. Even as a first-year pro in the minors, it's the same thing. You've got to learn to be consistent and come every night and play hard."

With the return of Parse and the absence of Williams, the Kings will shift their forward lines a bit.

Kings lineup

Teddy Purcell returns to the lineup in Williams' place, as the first-line right wing alongside center Anze Kopitar and left wing Ryan Smyth. Michal Handzus centers the second line, with Alexander Frolov and Dustin Brown. Brad Richardson centers the third line, with Parse and Wayne Simmonds, and Oscar Moller centers the fourth line with Raitis Ivanans and Brandon Segal.

Williams was scheduled to see team physician Dr. Michael Mellman on Monday afternoon and have, according to Murray, a procedure to help mend his broken leg.

"He's pretty emotional about this injury," Murray said, "and I guess I have to be understanding of that, when it's going to be a long, probably three months that he's going to be on the sideline."

Jarret Stoll skated Monday morning, his first time on the ice since he strained his groin exactly two weeks earlier, but Stoll will not play tonight and it's highly doubtful that he will play either Wednesday in Calgary or Thursday in Minnesota.

It's possible, Murray said, that Stoll will accompany the team on that road trip in order to continue skating with teammates, and Stoll said he felt good after his first on-ice test.

"There’s no pain," Stoll said. "I just want to make sure that the strength is there and slowly, gradually, do more and more skating and more and more drills, get into some practices and then I should be good to go. But I just want to be smart with it, to make sure that this time, when I come back, it’s fully healed and I’ll be playing until the end of the season, until we’re done, hopefully sometime in June."

Purcell, a healthy scratch from Saturday's game, will be back in the Kings' lineup tonight on the first line, a dramatic change in fortune but one that comes with something of a warning.

Since scoring two goals in his first three games this season, Purcell has only one goal in his last 32 games.

"Quite candidly, a goal scorer needs to put some points on the board on a fairly regular basis," Murray said. "For Teddy to play, you've got to take advantage of the skill level he brings. He has to play on the top two lines in order for that to happen, and bring it out. This is a golden opportunity for him to be playing on the top line with Kopitar and Smyth. He's capable of playing with those two guys. He's skilled enough.

"He reads the ice, he's smart, and he's got to dig in and play in that area of the ice that maybe he is reluctant to go to sometimes. That's a mindset, that's an attitude, and that's where he's got to be pushed. I'm going to have to keep demanding it and let him run with it for a little bit here. Again, I know he has been given a lot of rope already, but he's been out. I think he clearly understands that he's got to get some production, and give us production on a pretty consistent basis, to stay where he is tonight. We'll watch and see, and hopefully it works out."

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