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Kings Notebook (Oct. 27)

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Justin Williams could be close to returning to the Kings lineup soon.

The Columbus Blue Jackets seem unanimous in their belief that Rob Scuderi’s hit on Jason Chimera was low. Kings coach Terry Murray remains adamant that it wasn’t bad.

Scuderi’s opinion? That might be a bit of a surprise.

"It was low," Scuderi said, a day after he received a fine of an undisclosed amount from the league office. The maximum fine, as dictated by the collective bargaining agreement, is $1,000, and that’s almost certainly what Scuderi got, although he avoided suspension.

The hit took place roughly 11 minutes into the first period Sunday, when Scuderi went for a hip check along the boards. Chimera skated into the zone, and Scuderi’s initial contact with Chimera appeared to be on the outside of Chimera’s knee.

Chimera took a rough tumble, landed face-first, and sustained a cut on his face. Derek Dorsett came to Chimera’s defense and received a game-misconduct penalty, and Chimera got a 10-minute misconduct for also trying to go after Scuderi.

Scuderi was not penalized on the play, and after the game said he wasn’t certain exactly where he hit Chimera. After Tuesday’s practice, Scuderi had a definitive answer.

"I got a call from (NHL director of hockey operations) Colin Campbell yesterday, and he expressed to me that he thought the hit was a bit low," Scuderi said. "At the time, I hadn’t seen it yet. I did see it later in the day, and I wish I could disagree with his judgment, but it was low. I’ve had a lot of hip checks the last few years, but that one just wasn’t right. It was definitely in a questionable area, and I have to pay my fine.

"It’s the first time I’ve ever been involved in anything even remotely controversial. … If anything, I’m more disappointed in myself, because I’ve always played hard but I’ve always played fair and honest, so it’s not the way I want to be seen as playing in this league. Fortunately, Chimera wasn’t hurt any more."

Scuderi said he has attempted to get in touch with Chimera and apologize for the hit. In the eyes of his coach, no apology is necessary. As he did immediately after the game, Murray said the hit was clean.

"It's a great play. He's fronting the man that's carrying the puck," Murray said. "The puck gets chipped in and immediately the hit is there. It's a good hit."

The game got rough, at times, after the hit on Chimera, as Drew Doughty got elbowed in the head and Alexander Frolov got smacked in the back of the head (by Chimera). The Kings did not retaliate, and Murray said he didn’t have a problem with the plays... to an extent.

"We need to recognize, though, when things go the other way a little too much," Murray said. "One of the areas that we grew, big time, in last year was the response of the team whenever something happened with a particular player, or situations that started to build up, and everybody was there for everybody.

"You just have to pile in there and say, `Hey, we're not going to put up with that stuff.' Maybe that's one of the scenarios that I wish we had responded just a little bit more with that attitude, at that time. We'll be aware of it."

Justin Williams, who has missed three consecutive games with an undisclosed lower-body injury, did not accompany the Kings to San Jose on Tuesday and will not play Wednesday, Murray said.

Murray said Williams skated for a half hour before Tuesday’s practice and felt some mild discomfort at the end. Murray said Williams will attempt to skate in El Segundo on Wednesday and that it was possible Williams would play Thursday against Vancouver.

Down in the AHL, goalie Jonathan Bernier has been cleared to play this weekend. Bernier had X-rays and a MRI on his wrist, but no damage was found and Bernier is expected to play for the Monarchs on Friday.

After tomorrow, Jonathan Quick will have started in 12 of the Kings’ 13 games, and Murray said Quick will also play Thursday, in the second of back-to-back games.

Murray said he had no plans to start backup Erik Ersberg in a game in the near future, and that he wasn’t concerned about wearing down Quick.

"One thing I have a feel for is players getting tired," Murray said. "If I see that, then I’ll take a look at it and address it, but I don’t see anything bothering Quick right now. He will play both games."
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