Teddy Purcell is on the top line, Alexander Frolov is offering up his translation services, two prospects practiced with the team and are expected to play on this upcoming road trip while two current Kings are still nursing injuries and their status is still up in the air.
Quite a lot going on at Toyota Sports Center on Tuesday as the team practiced from 10-11 before hopping a board a flight for a two game road trip at Edmonton and Vancouver on Wednesday and Thursday.
First the new look Kings.
LINE UP CHANGES
With second-line center Jarret Stoll still nursing a lower body injury, Los Angeles yesterday recalled forwards Andrei Loktionov and Brandon Segal from Manchester, while placing injured left winger Ryan Smyth on injured reserve. With those changes, the Kings skated on Tuesday like this:
Teddy Purcell, who started the season as the Kings second-line left winger, scoring two goals in the first three games - but has just three assists in the 19 games since -was promoted to the Kings top line with NHL scoring leader Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams.
"I need him to get going. I want to give him every opportunity to play well," Head coach Terry Murray said of Purcell. "I think, in the last couple games, he has been trying to do more things. He’s been handling the puck with more confidence in practice the last couple days. There’s much better jump, and I want to try to take advantage of that upside of the curve. Hopefully it comes out here tomorrow."
Purcell has seen his playing time continue to decrease as he has been playing on the Kings third and fourth lines, even twice being a healthy scratch. When the Kings play Wednesday at Edmonton, Purcell will be the first King this season to have played on all four lines, leading many to wonder how long Purcell might be on that top line.
"Probably a couple of games," Murray said."I’m going to give him a couple of games here on this top line, get him back on the power play, and also I need to have that conversation with him, that, `Hey, it’s time. I need you to give us some statistics here, point. That’s a big part of your game, to create, score. This is a great opportunity."’
Alexander Frolov, who has been playing on the team’s top line since the Smyth injury, was bumped to the second-line to play with Loktionov, called up yesterday from Manchester in the event that Stoll was unable to go. Loktionov, just 19 years old, had tallied 6-11=17 in 20 games with the Monarchs. The Voskresensk, Russia native is still learning English and playing with Frolov could really help with his transition.
In fact, Frolov served as his translator after practice today, saying that Loktionov was very happy about being recalled and that Kings GM Dean Lombardi had talked to him following the Monarchs 5-4 loss on Sunday, and instructed him to continue to do the same things he was doing in Manchester.
Murray is intrigued by the young centermen.
"Loktionov, he’s a pretty creative guy," Murray said. "He had a good training camp, he sees the ice and he moves (the puck), so I’m looking for offensive production. I talked with their coach down in Manchester yesterday. He has been their best player, so playing with Fro, I’m hoping some good things can happen on the offensive part of the game. He plays the game. He plays the full 200 feet. He’s maybe not quite ready to contribute on a full-time basis, but this is going to be a great taste of what it’s like playing in the NHL, I think."
Scott Parse was moved from the second line to play on the Kings checking line with Michal Handzus and Wayne Simmonds, while Brandon Segal was placed on the fourth line with Raitis Ivanans, Peter Harrold and Brad Richardson.
"With Segal, quite honestly," Murray said. "I don’t know. I saw a little bit in the training camp. Didn’t play him in an exhibition game. Big-bodied guy who should give us some good energy on that fourth line, get some hits and hopefully create some loose pucks and maybe something good can happen off that. But just give us some minutes where we can back off the top three lines and buy us some safe shifts."
Segal, who grew up in Richmond, BC, not far from Vancouver where the Kings play on Thanksgiving, is an energy guy whose orders are "to go out there and get the puck deep and create havoc, take the puck to the net and make sure to finish with the body."
The Kings fourth line has contribute one assist so far this season and is a minus-13.
Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi and forward Jarret Stoll both skated with the team today and are questionable for either game on the two-game trip.
Kings Injury Report
"I’d say it’s slightly better than that today," Scuderi said. "It feels better every day. It’s tough to judge where you’re going to be tomorrow, but for the most part now I feel pretty good. If they feel that they would rather have another guy, who’s at 100 percent, that’s certainly their decision, and I think we have the depth to do that."
Scuderi has missed the last three games with a lower body injury, while Stoll was injured – also a lower body injury – in the last five minutes of Saturday’s game.
"We’re going to bring Scuds and Stoll with us," Murray said. "They’re pretty close. They felt good after the skate today, but questionable for both games. I’m hoping for one of the two. Saying that, obviously the Vancouver game would probably be the better choice, so that we can get another day of practice in."