The Kings held a lengthy, spirited practice Tuesday with one notable absence, as Alexander Frolov missed the skate with what coach Terry Murray described as a sore hip flexor.
|Alexander Frolov missed practice today with a sore hip flexor.
Frolov had been strong in recent games, but was limited to five shifts in the third period Monday night when the Kings rallied to beat Phoenix. On Tuesday, Murray indicated that Frolov might have been sore during the game, but said he expects Frolov to return to practice Wednesday.
"(It was) worse last night than it was today," Murray said of Frolov's hip flexor. "He had a therapy day. I feel he's going to be on the ice tomorrow and ready to go."
Without Frolov, the Kings adjusted their lines a bit, and it appears as though most of the changes will stick. The top line of Ryan Smyth, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams remains intact, and a change the Kings made in the third period Monday also seems like it will become permanent.
Jarret Stoll is expected to center rookie Scott Parse and Dustin Brown, a move that signifies two things: Murray's ever-increasing confidence in Parse and a continued need for secondary scoring.
"After looking at it, after the game last night, I felt that maybe we’ll give it another look," Murray said. "I certainly like the way Parse played in the game last night. He was the one player that — throughout the second period, especially — that was moving his feet, had the puck, was getting it in deep, trying to get some good play on the offensive part of it and generated a couple scoring opportunities with smart plays from below the goal line.
"It would be great if we could get three lines with some production on a pretty consistent basis, and it looks, on paper, like it should happen."
That could mean a reunion of the checking line of Frolov, Michal Handzus and Wayne Simmonds, although Teddy Purcell practiced with that line today in Frolov's absence.
One player happy to not be talking about injuries is Williams, who returned Monday after missing five consecutive games with an undisclosed lower-body injury.
Williams scored a goal in more than 15 minutes of ice time, and contributed to a top line that totaled eight points and has totaled 40 points in 10 games together this season.
"Williams played well," Murray said. "I was very happy to see that the chemistry was there right away. There was good flow, good puck movement, they were really reading off each other very well in the offensive zone and they just continued to build on it. That's a good line, and we're going to need it to be good throughout."
NOT JUST YET
Randy Jones, acquired off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers last week, continues to get heavy work in practice, but Murray said he hasn't set a timetable for getting the defenseman into a game.
"I think, anytime you come from the American Hockey League, you've got to get a little boost of energy and get back up to the NHL level," Murray said. "He's moving forward."
"Right now, he's our seventh guy. I like the way our six players have played. They've done a good job. Randy -- and I talked to him -- gives us the depth now, with an NHL player, that we feel good if something happens, through some kind of an injury or a decision by the coach to get him in, that we have that player available."