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Kings Notebook (Oct. 4)

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Dustin Brown missed practice on Sunday due to a strained gluteal muscle. He is expected back on the ice on Monday. 

Kings captain Dustin Brown missed practice Sunday with what coach Terry Murray described as a strained gluteal muscle. Murray said he hoped Brown would be able to practice Monday.

It's unclear as to when Brown suffered the injury, because he played 16 minutes, 52 seconds - third most among Kings forwards - in Saturday's 6-3 loss to Phoenix and did not appear to miss a shift.

Peter Harrold, who had been practicing on defense, took Brown's spot as the second-line right winger in practice Sunday, but it's unknown as to who would fill the role if Brown is unable to play Tuesday.

"He's resting it today and hopefully will be on the ice tomorrow," Murray said after practice. "It doesn't (appear to be anything long term). I just checked with the trainer and he said that it's just that. Rest today for therapy."

Murray left open the possibility that Harrold might get into Tuesday's lineup another way: as a replacement for rookie defenseman Alec Martinez.

Martinez played 16:01 in his NHL debut Saturday and had a minus-2 rating and two shots on goal.

After Sunday's practice, Murray said that assuming Brown can play Tuesday - meaning Harrold would not be needed to play forward - he would not commit to having Martinez in the lineup against San Jose.

"Not definite," Murray said. "No, not definite. Harrold is there. I'm going to think about it, but I don't have a definite for you right now."

The eyes were difficult to believe. Was that really Drew Doughty, the wunderkind defenseman of 2008-09, making crucial errors in the Kings' season opener Saturday? Bad passes? A penalty that led to a goal?

One game does not make a season, for certain, but even after Sunday's practice, Doughty and coach Terry Murray were left a bit slack-jawed as to how the game got so far from Doughty's grasp.

"He never played a game like that last year," Murray said.

Doughty did have one goal and one assist, but they were overshadowed. In particular, two defensive-zone turnovers in the third period led directly to goals that allowed Phoenix to push a 4-2 lead to 6-2. Murray said Doughty was trying to do too much in order to bring the Kings back.

"Whenever you get down by a goal or two goals, he's got that kind of mindset that, 'I can get it back. I can do it, and I'm going to show you the way.'" Murray said. "And I love the attitude. Unfortunately, last night for him, it just came right back at him, and it ended up in our net a couple times that he tried to grab a hold of it and take it the other way.

"That's something he's got to work through. I see him in practice today, working the way he did, and I think it's behind him already."

Doughty, typically a chipper, bright personality in the locker room, still looked dour Sunday morning and was asked if he could remember ever playing in more of a "nightmare" game.

"You know what? No," Doughty said. "It was disappointing the way us as a team, and by myself as well, how we played yesterday. Me personally, I made two bad passes and they scored twice.

"I wish I could take those two passes back obviously, but I've just got to kind of forget about it and come out the next game and play my best."


After Saturday's game, and even at practice Sunday, several players commented on how mistakes early in Saturday's game snowballed, and how the Kings were unable to regain momentum.

Murray said he was displeased with the Kings' tendency to compound mistakes by making more mistakes, instead of slowing the game down and slowly re-establishing control.

"It's not the way to get yourself into the playoffs," Murray said. "Stuff is going to happen - shifts, plays, goals against - and adversity is staring you in the face every time you step on the ice. You've got to be able to manage that the right way.

"There are critical times in the game when you (need to) come back out and grab hold of things."

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