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Kings Notebook (Feb. 12)

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Dean Lombardi opened up to Rich Hammond at practice today.

Friday afternoon marked the trade deadline before the NHL trade deadline.

After noon (Pacific time) Friday, rosters were frozen until the end of the Olympic hockey tournament in two-plus weeks. The Kings -- wild, unsubstantiated rumors out of Canada notwithstanding -- did not make any moves, other than assigning Scott Parse to the AHL.

General managers can continue to talk about potential trades during the Olympic break, and there figures to be a brief, intense flurry of activity before the March 3 deadline.

On Friday, minutes after the deadline passed, Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said he hadn't come close to making any deals but called himself a ``buyer'' under the correct circumstances.

``It's got to be the right fit,'' Lombardi said. ``Unlike two years ago, where I was looking for everything -- just give me a body that can play -- you're getting closer now in terms of what you want. There's more things out there, but it ain't what I'm looking for.''

Two high-profile trades -- Ilya Kovalchuk to New Jersey, Dion Phaneuf to Toronto -- have taken place already this season and, at this point, there aren't many ``stars'' presumed to be available on the trade market.

Lombardi predicted that the roster freeze will give his fellow GMs a chance to exhale and reevaluate what they want to do with their rosters for the rest of this season.

``The one thing I think the stop will do is take the emotion out of it,'' Lombardi said. ``Too many times, people think, `Well, we've got four games this week. If we don't win two of them, I'm selling.' It's really not looking at your team. It's like you're caught within this. As we see, you win three in a row and you're in third place, and you lose four in a row and you're in 14th. Particularly in the East, it's ridiculous.

``Boston loses 10 in a row, and at the end of it they're two points out. So it's really hard for people to `define' themselves as sellers. So like I said, now there's this deadline and you've got (two) weeks off and people can step back and say, `OK, what are we?' So there's going to be a lot of talk during this. It doesn't mean people can't talk.''


Lombardi said he is not putting a priority, during this season, on trying to re-sign winger Alexander Frolov, who is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

``No,'' Lombardi said. ``I think we decided to put that on the back-burner. I think after Toronto -- we met there, when we were back East -- I'm fine with that.''

Lombardi met with Frolov's Toronto-based representation during the Kings' latest East Coast road trip, last month.

Rich Clune made his NHL debut Thursday night. He started the game on the fourth line but was later promoted to the third line, alongside Wayne Simmonds and Brad Richardson. It appears as though Clune will stay there Saturday night, when the Kings host the Colorado Avalanche at STAPLES Center.

``I liked him,'' Kings coach Terry Murray said of Clune. ``His first game in the National Hockey League. He brings energy, he brings enthusiasm, he brought some physical play, some grit. He gets around the ice very well. He's a good skater, and he showed some good poise there in pressure situations, to make some plays.''

The verdict wasn't as good for Parse, who has now been sent to Manchester twice this season. Parse has eight goals and 13 assists in 48 games with the Kings.

``It's the same issue that I've talked about before with Parse,'' Murray said. ``He can give you the spectacular effort, score the great goal and look like he's a top-six player, and then the next shift, or the next period, you're wondering what the hell happened. To me, that was exactly the scenario last night. He starts off the game on that line. Turnover after turnover, and not able to make the passes on breakouts. Just too many things were looking as if his game was going the wrong way.

``I think a part of that, the word `concentration' covers him in those situations. He's just not right there, where you need him to be, in the concentration part of things, and bad things happen.''

Erik Ersberg started Thursday's game in place of Jonathan Quick, who was recovering from flu symptoms. Quick practiced Friday, said he felt better and said he would be able to play against the Avalanche on Saturday.

``I felt great out there,'' Quick said after practice. ``My wind was there, so I'm just looking forward to tomorrow.''


It was a bit of an odd sight at the start of Thursday's game, that of Jarret Stoll, who has played center exclusively during his stint with the Kings, lining up as the right winger alongside left winger Alexander Frolov and center Michal Handzus.

After Friday's practice, Murray explained the move.

``A couple things there,'' Murray said. ``I was trying to find a right winger, to begin with, on that line, that's going to have speed and maybe generate something off that side. I look at Stolly and his speed, his quickness, his shot. He had a couple good looks last night. I like that part of it.

``The other side of it, quite candidly, is I'm looking to get that Simmonds-Richardson-Parse line back together. They were very good for me for several games. I broke them up out of necessity there, because of injuries. I was really looking to find a way to get them back together again. That was my thought process.''

Murray stayed with the Frolov-Handzus-Stoll line throughout the game, but replaced Parse with Clune during the game.
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