It was a busy day at Toyota Sports Center on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. The Kings and Red Wings practiced at the same time, with TSC opening up the other sheet of ice that is typically used for figure skaters, to accommodate the Red Wings.
Why did the Wing have to skate early?
Well Detroit is in the midst of their father and son road trip through San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim. The Wings third annual trip, had activities planed for the father and son tandems this afternoon.
PURCELL MAKES DEBUT
Teddy Purcell was recalled on an emergency basis on Jan. 14 and made his debut on Jan. 15 at Edmonton.
“Teddy has played well,” Head coach Marc Crawford said. “He has had a number of very good chances to score. He hasn’t scored yet, he has hit a couple of posts and a couple of crossbars.
“He is a very good playmaker, he handles the puck in an above average capacity and he has very good instincts. I liked his work ethic in the three games.”
Purcell, 22, was named to the AHL all-star team and is one of the most prolific newcomers in the AHL this season. He ranks first among rookies and second in the entire league with 35 assists and 47 points in 36 games for Manchester in his first year out of the University of Maine. Purcell, a native of St. John's, Newfoundland, was the Rbk Edge/AHL Rookie of the Month for November, when he tallied 17 points in 12 games for the Monarchs.
“He has played very well for us,” Kings captain Rob Blake said. “He has had a good start in the minors. You can tell he is a good player, he has good hands and he has had some good chances for us.”
Blake nearly helped the rookie get his first NHL goal on a breakaway.
“It was a on 2-on-1 with me and Blake and I tried to get it to him and he got it right back and I hit the cross bar,” Purcell said. “There were a lot of nerves going through my head and everyone was watching back home and people were excited for me.”
Purcell signed with the club on April 27, 2007, as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Maine.
“Things have happened quickly, a year ago this time I did not expect to be where I am right now,” he said. I am getting more and more comfortable every game."
Brian Willsie and Michael Cammalleri both skated at practice on Monday, but both forwards donned the red no-contact jersey as the two attempt to come back from back and rib injuries respectively.
“You always try and come back as quick as you can from injury but at the same time you have to be cautious,” Willsie said after practice. “It felt pretty good on the ice and I am hoping tomorrow will be a better day then today.”
Crawford was not optimistic about either returning this week.
In addition, Ladislav Nagy is battling a neck injury that kept him out of practice Monday. Nagy was a late scratch at Vancouver on Saturday night.
In his place was defenseman Kevin Dallman, playing at the forward spot. Interestingly, Dallman skated just one shift and logged just :01 TOI at Vancouver, which led to this quip from Crawford: “He played in the game up there, but he had the world record for lowest amount of ice time.”
It was Dallman’s first game since Dec. 22, as he missed close to four weeks with a foot injury. He will be available to play either on defense or up front should the club elect not to make a roster move this week.
JOHNSON LOVES PLAYING VANCOUVER
Kings rookie defenseman Jack Johnson tallied his second career goal vs. Vancouver on Saturday night, in the Kings 4-3 victory over the Canucks. Ironically, his only other career goal came against the Roberto Luongo and the Canucks on Oct. 19.
“To have my first two career goals against a guy that is considered the best in the world, you have to be really happy about that,” Johnson said of Luongo and Vancouver.
In addition, Johnson made his NHL debut vs. the Canucks on March 29, 2007. In three meetings this year, Johnson has scored 2-1=3 vs. Vancouver. In 46 games against the rest of the NHL this season, Johnson has tallied 0-5=5.
“I guess I wish we played them more often,” Johnson said tongue-in-cheek. “They are the only team I can score against and I will take it when I can get it.
“I don’t think that streak will last forever.”
It has been a good couple of weeks for Johnson, who celebrated his 21st birthday on Jan. 13 and was named to the YoungStars team on Jan. 15.
KINGS ON THE ROAD
The Kings are at the beginning of a stretch in which the club plays 11-of-13 on the road. So far, the club is 2-1-0 during the span. Overall, the club has won four of the last five on the road as well as four of five overall.
In addition, the club is 7-4-0 over the last 11 games.
“Since Christmas we have played pretty solid, the Calgary and Nashville games aside,” Blake said.