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Kings Notebook (Jan. 6)

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Matt Greene could join Davis Drewiske and Matt Jones and sit out Thursday's game after experiencing back stiffness in practice on Wednesday.

It's a tough time to be a Kings defenseman.

Randy Jones took a big hit in mid-December and still isn't ready to play. Davis Drewiske might be out for two weeks after a hit during the first period of Monday's game at San Jose.

Matt Greene? He didn't even make it through warmups in practice Wednesday. Greene, according to coach Terry Murray, is suffering from back pain, and his status for tomorrow's game against Detroit at STAPLES Center is in question.

Alec Martinez, called up from Manchester of the AHL on Wednesday morning, is almost certain to be in the lineup Thursday, and if Greene can't play, Peter Harrold likely would go in as a defenseman.

Greene had to leave the ice Wednesday morning after pre-practice warmups.

"He just kind of locked up a little bit. His back seized up on him," Murray said. "So we'll treat him and see where he is tomorrow morning...He had just come on the ice and got started with the drills. He was around yesterday, getting some therapy for the same thing. He thought he was really good last night, at the end of the day. Then he comes in and it locks up on him. So we'll see where it is."

The news on Drewiske was better than expected. Drewiske had to leave Monday's game with a shoulder injury, and after the game, a grim Murray feared that Drewiske could have a long-term injury.

Murray indicated on Wednesday, though, that Drewiske had suffered only a sprain, which Murray called the "best-case scenario," and Murray estimated that Drewiske might be sidelined for two weeks.

"It's a matter of rehab," Murray said. "There's nothing else that needs to be done but getting in the off-ice stuff that will get him back as quickly as possible."

To make room for Martinez, who would be appearing in his third game with the Kings tomorrow, the Kings put Jones on injured reserve, but that was largely a paperwork move.

Jones suffered his injury on Dec. 15, when he ran into Edmonton's Dustin Penner, and had been suffering from headaches and dizziness. The symptoms seem to have subsided, and since Jones was placed on injured reserve retroactively, he can be taken off at any time now.

Jones continues to practice with the Kings but is not expected to play Thursday.

"Jones is very close now," Murray said. "He got through yesterday, and now it looks like he got through today, in real good shape."

"It's a matter of getting physically ready to go, and that will be up to us now, with the off-ice and on-ice workouts... It's just a matter of getting his physical conditioning going."

From the Kings' perspective, perhaps the most positive thing about their three-game winning streak is that the points are coming from everywhere.

Early in the season, the Kings' first line was doing most of the scoring. Then, the second and third lines picked it up, but the first line went into a slump.

In the past three games, the Kings have totaled 13 goals. Four have come from first-line players (Anze Kopitar and Ryan Smyth), five have come from second-line players (Alexander Frolov and Michal Handzus), three have come from third-line players (Scott Parse, Brad Richardson and Wayne Simmonds) and one has come from a fourth-line player (Oscar Moller), albeit on the power play.

Also, 12 different Kings recorded at least one assist in those three games. Ten of the 20 assists in those three games came from defensemen, with Drew Doughty totaling six assists.

"It's real important," Murray said of the balanced scoring. "To be a team that's going to make a run to get into the playoffs, you're going to have to have secondary scoring, not only from your lines but from your blue-line group. Doughty put up four points (against San Jose). Jack Johnson is putting some points up on a fairly consistent basis now. That's real important. It's a great confidence thing for your team, going into every game, that one guy doesn't have to look at himself as shouldering the responsibility.

"The other team matches up your top line with their top defensemen shutting them down. Getting Stolly (Jarret Stoll) back into the lineup, in the role that he's in right now, to get him back into it, gives that line a threat too, with Moller on the right side. So it's nice to see."

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