GLENDALE, Ariz. --
It took a little longer than initially hoped, but Drew Doughty
is ready to play.
Doughty, out of the lineup since Oct. 15 because of an upper-body injury, is expected to be removed from the injured-reserve list and be in the lineup for the Kings’ game against Phoenix on Saturday night (6 p.m., Fox Sports West, 1150-AM). Initial estimates had Doughty missing 7-to-10 days.
In order to make room for Doughty on the active roster, the Kings are expected to assign Slava Voynov
to Manchester of the AHL. Voynov was impressive during his five-game stint as Doughty’s fill-in, particularly on Thursday night in Dallas when he had two goals and one assist, including the game-winning goal.
No official announcement has been made, but the Kings feel Voynov’s development would be better served by playing every night, at a high level, in the AHL, with some confidence built from this NHL stint.
On Friday, Doughty made it through a third straight day of full-contact practice and said he’s ready to play.
"I felt good. I’ve felt good for a while now," Doughty said. "I’m ready to play whenever. It’s just up to the training staff, up to the coaches, to put me back in the lineup."
Terry Murray said that will happen tomorrow.
"He has come through the practice feeling good," Murray said of Doughty. "He did some extra work at the end of the practice, down at the far end, 1-on-1, pushing and battling, and he came out of that fine. He’s ready to go. He will play."
Murray also had some strong praise for Voynov, who, as a 21-year-old getting his first taste of the NHL, had a plus-3 rating in five games and did not look out of place on the ice.
"I think what he’s got to know, from the coaches, is that he’s an NHL player," Murray said. "That’s the bottom line on it, summing it up in a nutshell. He played very well every game. He’s showing the intensity, the readiness every shift. He has come to the practices with the NHL attitude of learning something every day. He’s now, to me, based on what I’ve seen -- and that’s all I can base my opinion on -- he’s an NHL player."REST DAY FOR GAGNESimon Gagne
did not practice Friday -- Murray called it a "maintenance day" for the veteran winger -- but Gagne is expected to play in his normal first-line spot on Saturday night.
Based on the way they practiced Friday, no changes are expected among the Kings’ forwards. Scott Parse
skated with the second line and Dustin Penner
skated with the third line, coming off Thursday’s game against Dallas in which both players seemed to excel in their new roles.
Penner didn’t record a point but was active throughout the game. Parse scored a second-period goal.
"(Parse) played very well for the 60 minutes," Murray said. "I thought his composure with the puck, his playmaking ability, everything that we’ve seen in the past and what’s probably been missing in the early part of the season for me, he showed it to me last night. That’s a real good sign, a positive. He’s another player who gives us an ability to score, which he did last night. Overall, I was very excited about what I saw in his effort.
"Pens is starting to wonder what he has to do to score, but I think if he continues to bring that kind of a look that he did last night, with the work, the end result is, he will find a way to get the scoring going."JOHNSON COMES UP BIG
Murray saved his most lavish praise for defenseman Jack Johnson, who didn’t record a point against the Stars but had a stellar effort in 27 minutes, 27 seconds of ice time, a team high.
"He’s really taking strides this year," Johnson said. "He’s a real man out there. There was a play, late in the third period, and it was just a puck battle, stick on stick, compete for a loose puck. And, man, that’s just compete right there. That’s being in the right place at the right time, knowing that that’s a dangerous area but you’re in readiness. So I really like his game on both sides of the puck right now.
"He’s playing well with his partner. The play off the puck, the support to his partner, getting available, has really improved dramatically for me. It’s a great thing to see. It gives us that player that you always want to get to. Whenever you have a young, raw player, you’re hoping to get to a point where you can talk this way, and it’s happening right now for me. Jack is doing a great job."STICK WITH QUICKJonathan Quick
will start in goal against the Coyotes, Murray said, but the coach did not commit to a starting goalie for Sunday’s game against Colorado.