ERIK ERSBERG TO START TOMORROW
Kings head coach Terry Murray announced today that Erik Ersberg will start in net for the Kings tomorrow as they host the Anaheim Ducks.
“Coach told me I am going in tomorrow and that is all I really needed to know,” Ersberg told LAKings.com after practice. “This is my first start of the year, I am going to focus on this game and try and get a win. I am excited.”
Ersberg has faced Anaheim once before, stopping 39-of-40 shots on March 26, 2008 in a 2-1 shoot out loss. Former Duck Mathieu Schneider scored the winner in a 2-1 shootout at the Honda Center.
“I had a fun game against them last year.” Ersberg said of the game.
“It is his first opportunity and it is a good opportunity to play against one of the premier teams in the league,” Murray said. “They have been playing great over the past half dozen games or so and we are going to give him his opportunity and I know he is going to take advantage of it. He has practiced extremely hard and has had a great attitude right out of training camp.”
Ersberg has seen action in two games both in relief of Jason LaBarbera, stopping 14-of-16 shots (.857 SV%) and was the tough luck loser vs. Nashville on Oct. 25 in which he entered the game trailing, 3-0. The Kings cut it to 3-2, but Ersberg would surrender two goals in the third period and the Kings would score two more, making the fifth goal allowed – Ersberg’s second – the game-winning goal in the 5-4 loss. LINE CHANGES A PLENTY
As Kings fans have come to know, the team’s lines are typically defined at each practice and are easily spotted with color combinations of the jerseys. Today the squad skated like this:
Kyle Calder, Anze Kopitar
and Dustin Brown
Alexander Frolov, Jarret Stoll
and Oscar Moller
Raitis Ivanans, Michal Handzus and Wayne Simmonds
Patrick O’Sullivan, Brian Boyle, Peter Harrold
“You are always looking for chemistry and some good things to happen on the lines,” Murray said of the switch. “I saw some good stuff with the Stoll line with Frolov and Moller, I liked the look of Raitis on the left side with Handzus and Simmonds, he is a big body guy he has good speed he gets in on the forecheck I think he can make some things happen and get some lose pucks.”
Matt Moulson and John Zeiler did not skate as Moulson will be sent to Manchester later today and Zeiler will be loaned to Manchester after being activated from Injured Reserve to get some game action under his belt. The Kings did not recall anyone as Zeiler will remain on the 23-man active roster while being loaned to Manchester. (click here
to read press release on Zeiler and Moulson).
Harrold also again skated as a forward, more on that below… KINGS TO SUIT UP SEVEN DEFENSEMEN
The Kings skated seven defenseman vs. Calgary on Saturday night with Harrold ‘moonlighting’ as a forward and playing on defense on the Kings power play.
“You look around the league the past couple of years and there seems to be players, defensemen, that have been able to step up and play the forward position,” Murray said. “You look at [Mark] Streit last year for Montreal. He had a great season and was an important player last year. I remember playing him [with Philadelphia last season] and he had some huge goals in different games.
“I see the same thing with Harrold.”
Streit played in 81 games with the Canadiens last season, scoring 13-49=62 as a defensemen/forward and was the team’s third-leading scorer. He signed with the Islanders this offseason and has tallied 4-5=9 in 10 games. PETER HARROLD – SUPER UTILITY GUY
Harrold will continue to see shifts as a forward but also get some time on the Kings blueline.
“The Harrold experiment on the right side as a forward might stay the same for the next game tomorrow. I liked what I saw. It was the first time he ever played the position but he adapted and adjusted and he is open minded about it.”
Harrold recalls playing a few shifts in college, but is open to playing anywhere
“If that is what they want me to do, I am more than happy to learn it,” Harrold said. “It is good for me to be versatile. It makes me a more important part of the team. I just want to play. I will play whatever they want me to do.
“I felt pretty comfortable at the new position, it is fun actually.”
Murray sees Harrold as the perfect candidate to play both positions.
“He sees the ice well and skates well, he is smart and intelligent,” Murray said. “We are looking for someone that just gives us some pop on that line. On the other side of it if we have a defenseman who might not be going as well as we would like then he moves back as a defenseman.”
Harrold spoke with Assistant Coach Jamie Kompon and linemate Brian Boyle before the game vs. Calgary about making the move.
“Offensively, it is a little different, you don’t want to make a mistake,” Harrold said. “You error on the side of defense and I think that is a good thing. But offensive instincts will come, I am a relatively offensive defenseman, but it’s a little different when you are down low on the play.
“That will take some getting used to, but I am open to learning. Sitting on the bench, you watch the guys that are playing the position you are playing and you can learn just by watching them play.”
Denis Gauthier, who has been Harrold’s defensive partner for five games this season, believes that the transition will be an easy one for Harrold.
“He is the kind of guy that can do it,” Gauthier said. “He is a smart player and moves well. It is versatility for him and it is nice for the coaching staff to know that they have guys that can do that and you know these guys are going to be reliable defensively.
“We [as defensemen] always have that defensive mindset, so they are not a liability out there.” GAUTHIER APPROACHING MILESTONE
Should Gauthier play on Nov. 4 against the Anaheim Ducks, which there is no indication that he would not, it would mark the 500th game for Gauthier.
“It is a nice milestone, a good achievement, shows a lot about longevity that besides all of my injury plagued seasons, that I have been able to last that long,” Gauthier said.
“Hopefully there is a few hundred ahead of me.”
Gauthier was Calgary's first round choice, 20th overall, in 1995, playing with the Flames until 2003-04. After the lockout, he was traded to Phoenix where he played in 2005-06 before being dealt to Philadelphia where he played parts of the last two seasons.
For his career, he has posted 15-58=73 with 668 PIMs in 499 games.
“I am thrilled, it is an honor,” Gauthier said. “It was hard work and keeping a good attitude. I am just hoping now to be a good influence and an example for everyone one else.” EARLY PENALTIES HURTING THE KINGS?
Over the last two games, the Kings have had penalties called against them in the first minute of each game that has really put the team behind the eight ball so to speak. On Saturday night vs. Calgary, Stoll was whistled for a holding penalty 56 seconds into the game and Brown had a four-minute, double minor high sticking penalty called 56 seconds into the game vs. Vancouver on Thursday.
Both games ended in Kings losses.
“What happens is it keeps guys deeper in our chart from getting into the game early,” Gauthier said. “You are sitting down after warming up and you have 17 or 18 minutes of sitting before you get out on the ice and then it takes a couple of shifts before you get it back. So we definitely have to be careful about doing that early in the game and let everybody get a feel for the ice and get a shift under them.
“Plus, it is a big momentum builder for the other team too, even if they do not score, they put pressure on us and get a lot of confidence as a result. So we have to be careful and more disciplined as a team.”
KINGS ANNOUNCE TV CHANGE
The Saturday, Nov. 15 game vs. Nashville will now air on FS West at 7:30 p.m. (originally scheduled to air on Prime Ticket)
The Monday, March 16 game vs. Nashville will now air on Prime Ticket at 7:30 p.m.
(originally scheduled to air on FS West)...more