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Hard Work Pays Off For Drewiske

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Having acquainted himself with press boxes throughout North America, Davis Drewiske now gets to do something much more fun: play NHL hockey.

A healthy scratch for the previous 19 games, Drewiske will return to the Kings’ lineup Wednesday night when they play at Anaheim, partnering with Matt Greene.

Drewiske is scheduled to replace rookie defenseman Alec Martinez, who has been a lineup regular since being called up from the AHL in late November.

Davis Drewiske returns to the lineup tomorrow evening in Anaheim after a 19 game absense.  He will take Alec Martinez's spot and pair with Matt Greene.
Drewiske, a traditional, stay-at-home defenseman, has zero goals and five assists in 36 games this season while Martinez, known as more of a puck-moving, offensive threat, has three goals and seven assists in
38 games.

``The last couple of games, maybe even going back a little bit further, we feel that Marty is just playing a little bit too light, if that's the right word,’’ Kings coach Terry Murray said. ``Not assertive enough. Not doing the things we know he can do, that he was doing, going back a couple weeks, very assertive with the puck, strong in his own zone, D-zone coverage, 1-on-1. He had a real attitude in his play, and I think he has backed off.

``We feel like he looked a little bit nervous at times, in puck-possession situations in the Island [Satuday against the Islanders], and that has been there for a couple games. We have talked to him about it. John (Stevens) spent some time about those issues, and right now, with what we're seeing, it's time to step back and give Whiskey, who has been working very hard, an opportunity to get back in there.’’

Drewiske will be back in the lineup for the first time since Jan. 6 against Nashville.

``He's been paying every kind of price you can imagine, with the extra work in the skating club,’’ Murray said. ``His game, he looks very sharp in all of the drills, skating, handling the puck, shooting the puck. It's his opportunity to get back in.’’

Murray said Jonathan Quick will get the start in goal Wednesday against the Ducks. With the Kings facing another game Thursday (against Minnesota at home) and a home game Saturday against Colorado, Murray has yet to announce a short-term goalie plan.

Winger Scott Parse received some bad news this week when he was instructed to stay away from on-ice workouts.
Scott Parse, who underwent hip surgery in November but, in recent weeks, had started participating in full-team practices, got some tough news this week, when doctors told him to stay off the ice for a while, Murray said.

Murray said Parse had been experiencing some discomfort of late, and there doesn’t seem to be a firm timetable as to when Parse might get back on the ice. He had been on track, perhaps, for a return to game action within the next month.

``He needs to back off,’’ Murray said of Parse’s rehab work. ``It was very aggressive, when he came back, to get going again. He was having a little bit of an issue with some soreness. So the direction, to him right now, is to back off on the intensity of his workouts. Let it settle down and get back at it again.

``He had his doctor's appointment yesterday. So up until that point, there was workouts going on. Again, he just had some soreness and some pain, and it's the opinion of the doctor that it's because of overuse and trying to get back, by pushing it to the level that he's not comfortable. Inflammation, maybe, set in. We're not sure, but take a couple weeks, step back, just slow it down and let things heal up and see how it responds.’’

As expected, the Kings will go with some new-look lines on Wednesday. Marco Sturm is expected to be activated from injured reserve and skate with Anze Kopitar and Wayne Simmonds on the first line.

Jarret Stoll centers Ryan Smyth and Dustin Brown, while Michal Handzus centers Brad Richardson and Justin Williams. Murray has yet to announce his fourth-line trio, from a pool of Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Kevin Westgarth.

Besides Sturm’s return, the most notable part of the line changes is the split of the previous Smyth-Stoll-Williams line, which has been together for a major chunk of the season and, in long stretches, has been the Kings’ most consistent line.

``The line was below average throughout the road trip,’’ Murray said. ``There were just too many minuses. The chemistry was not there, throughout the road trip, I felt, and they were really pushing it, really forcing a lot of play on the offensive side of the game. As a result of it, there was stuff coming back at us, on odd(-man) rushes.

``So we need a different look. We need to get some focus to those decisions that they were making. Stay above it, play from above it. That's when the good things were happening for that line. With the change, with Brownie going there and with Willy going with Zeus, I think they are still important lines, important players. They're going to get a lot of situations, a lot of ice time. To me, it's not a huge change, but it just wasn't clicking the right way for me.’’

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