The Kings skated at Toyota Sports Center from 11 a.m. – noon and then took part in an Adopt-A-Family program in which each of the Kings players gave presents to families from 1736 family crisis center.
In the evening, the Kings held their Annual Team Christmas Party.
THE DEFENSE PITCHING IN ON OFFENSE
With Rob Blake’s goal last night vs. Minnesota, the Kings blue liners have now scored six goals over the last six games, after scoring just six goals over the first 27 games of the season.
When approached about this statistical anomaly after Kings practice, defenseman Tom Preissing said: "The statistical anomaly was that there was just six in the first 27, not the six in six," the first-year Kings rearguard said. "A big part of it is we have a defensive corps. that has that ability."
Preissing has led the defensive, offensive resurgence, scoring three goals in the last six, with Blake, Jaroslav Modry and Brad Stuart each pitching in a goal as well over that span.
O’SULLIVAN COMING INTO HIS OWN
With the Kings facing Minnesota and former Kings forward Pavol Demitra last night, it is natural to look back at the 2006 Draft Day trade that sent Demitra to the Wild in exchange for Patrick O’Sullivan and a first round pick which turned out to be Trevor Lewis.
While Lewis continues to develop at the AHL level, O’Sullivan has been playing for the Kings all year in multiple roles and is in the midst of a four-game point streak (1-3=4) after his assist vs. the Wild last night.
Head coach Marc Crawford analyzed his second-year forward and the strides he has been making.
“I think he has been playing real well,” Crawford said. “A lot of times last year he would have a bad game and it would be a complete bad game…Now he is able to correct himself in a much quicker fashion. I think that points to great progress and development, and not just mentally, but physically.
“He has been a high-end player for us, he plays in every position, in every situation, penalty kill, power play, five-on-five, four-on-four, protecting a lead and when we need a goal. He has been good.”
LABARBERA ON HIS WAY BACK, QUICK ON HIS WAY DOWN?
A noticeable absence from practice today was rookie netminder Jonathan Quick.
Quick, who was an emergency recall on Dec. 2, after Jason LaBarbera’s rib injury vs. Colorado, appeared in three games, posting a 1-2-0 mark, becoming the second Kings rookie netminder to win his NHL debut this season.
All indications are that LaBarbera will be activated on Monday and Quick will be returned to the AHL, or even the ECHL, as Erik Ersberg and Daniel Taylor have been splitting time with the Monarchs.
LaBarbera had a full practice on Sunday and a return as early as Monday is possible.
"On the ice, it’s not too bad,'' LaBarbera said. "When my whole body is warm, I don’t really feel it as much. Off the ice, it’s miserable. It hurts. But when I get warmed up and I’m on the ice, it seems to be all right.''
Crawford listed his No. 1 netminder as a 'game-time decision' for Monday.
"It will be nice have Jason back in lineup,'' Crawford said. "We’ll make the decision tomorrow whether to play him or not but he’s in a position now where he's at least healthy enough to play. It was great for him today to have a solid practice and a good practice and be able to play against everybody."
FROLOV BACK, NAGY ON HIS WAY BACK
Alexander Frolov returned to the lineup last night after missing 11 games with a groin injury.
Last night Frolov commented on his return to the ice: "It’s always hard to get back when you’re out for almost a month," Frolov said. "It’s going to affect your game a little bit. I had a couple good chances tonight. The groin is a little sore but I think it’s going to be fine.’’
Meanwhile, Ladislav Nagy skated with team today wearing a bright yellow jersey to avoid contact as he rehabs from his hip flexor injury as well.
"It's feeling better but it's tough to say when I will come back because, when I push a little hard, it still bothers me," Nagy told reporters on Sunday. "I have to be patient and not push it hard. It was my first practice so tomorrow, hopefully, it will be better. I’m going to skate and push it more and more every day.''