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Kings Notebook (Nov. 22)

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Stoll sat out of practice on Sunday with a lower body injury.

Already reeling from the loss of two veterans, the Kings on Sunday practiced without center Jarret Stoll, who sat out with an undisclosed lower-body injury.

Coach Terry Murray would only say that Stoll suffered the injury during the last five minutes of the Kings' loss to Calgary on Saturday. Stoll's status for the Kings' game Wednesday at Edmonton is not known.

Stoll's absence, coupled with injuries to Rob Scuderi and Ryan Smyth, actually left the Kings one player short at practice. Brad Richardson took Stoll's place as the second-line center and Mark Hardy, who played 15 seasons as an NHL defenseman, filled the role of fourth-line center in practice.

After practice, coach Terry Murray indicated that the Kings would likely call up a forward from Manchester of the American Hockey League, but did not indicate which forward.

"We're going up to Canada for back to back games,'' Murray said. "You've got to err on the right side of that one.''

Andrei Loktionov leads the Monarchs in points (17) and Oscar Moller leads in goals (8).

Rob Scuderi skated for approximately 20 minutes, by himself, before the Kings practiced Sunday morning, the first time Scuderi had been on the ice since he suffered an undisclosed lower-body injury during the Nov. 14 game at Tampa Bay.

Afterward, Scuderi said the skating session went "OK'' but said he was unsure as to whether he would be able to play Wednesday at Edmonton.

"I think it’s still too soon,'' Scuderi said. "It’s going to be up to the trainers and myself to see how I feel. I’m certainly hoping. It’s not fun to be out of the lineup and watch your team, so I’m hoping for Wednesday.''

During Saturday's game, Kings forwards and defensemen played more even minutes than they had at any point this season.

For instance, Drew Doughty played 19 minutes, 24 seconds, more than four minutes under his season average, while Matt Greene played 21:03, more than four minutes above his average. Anze Kopitar and Michal Handzus had their time decreased, while Peter Harrold and Raitis Ivanans had their time increased?

A statement? Not really. Murray said it's a product of the fact that the Kings have played, arguably, the toughest schedule in the NHL this season and, starting Wednesday, face 13 games over a 23-game span.

"I’ve seen this coming for a while, what’s going on here right now with our energy overall,'' Murray said. "It’s down. The fact of the matter is, the scheduling does play a part in this. Quality practice time is not there. With the travel, it all plays into it. When you look at the schedule, as you get started at the beginning of the year, in my experience I can project when you’re going to start to hit the downside of a cycle.

"So we consciously made a decision to get more guys to play more minutes at this time. I would like to continue with that, if I can. If everybody responds to it the right way, I would like to stay with it.''

Before the players departed for a "meet the players'' event with season-ticket holders at Hollywood Park, they went through a grueling, 80-minute practice in El Segundo, perhaps the most difficult practice of the season.

For a Kings team that is generally acknowledged to be tired, that's a lot of time on the ice. Team captain Dustin Brown said there is "a balance'' between resting and correcting mistakes in practice, during a stretch in which the Kings have lost five of eight games.

"We've been playing a lot,'' Brown said, "but when you don't practice that much, you get away from the basics, and sometimes you need a good, hard practice. We had one today that was tough, but at the same time, we haven't had a practice like that in a couple weeks, at least, and only a couple throughout the year.''

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