The Kings practiced for the first time since basically finalizing their roster for the season with final cuts on Monday. The big news of the day broke following practice with the Kings reaching a verbal agreement with center Patrick O’Sullivan on a three-year contract extension, which basically means, the Kings final roster may not be so final.
Dean Lombardi on signing
Coach Murray on Practice
“Obviously it’s not good for a young player to be missing training camp, but I thought it was more important to get it done with a three-year term than going for a stop gap and maybe having to do this next year or the year after,” Lombardi said.
O’Sullivan tallied 22-31-53 in 82 games in 2007-08, his first full NHL season. He also appeared in 44 games in 2006-07, scoring 5-14=19. He was acquired from the Minnesota Wild along with a first-round pick (Trevor Lewis, 17th overall) for Pavol Demitra on June 24, 2006.
On Monday, Jonathan Quick, Teddy Purcell, Alec Martinez and Kevin Westgarth were assigned to Manchester while Thomas Hickey was returned to his junior team.
Head coach Terry Murray spoke on Tuesday of how difficult making these last few cuts were.
“The last cuts, the final cuts are always very difficult,” Murray said. “As I said to each one of them when I met with them, it is a complement that they are here today. It is the final day before we get to our roster and we are making a hard decision.
“There were areas of the game where we talked about [what they needed to improve on]. Their individual efforts and what they needed to focus on as they go back to the American League or Juniors and what we would like to see with them when we see them again.”
Murray sees that each player can gain confidence from their play.
“I think they all left with a good attitude, most importantly, and they have a sense of pride of what they did in camp,” he said. “They are going to grow and get better and look forward to the next opportunity.”
Prior to O’Sullivan signing with the Kings today, Matt Moulson had skated on the No. 1 line opposite Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar at practice today. Last season, O’Sullivan clicked with Brown and Kopitar at the last part of the season and it will be interesting to see how O’Sullivan’s return will affect the lineup.
On the second line, Jarret Stoll centered a line with Alexander Frolov and Oscar Moller. The third line featured Kyle Calder, Michal Handzus and Wayne Simmonds.
On the fourth line, Raitis Ivanans and Derek Armstrong played on the wings with Brad Richardson playing the pivot.
ROOKS TO MAKE THEIR NHL DEBUT
With the final roster set, but not official (the official roster does not have to be set till 12 p.m. on Wednesday), three rookies, - Oscar Moller, Wayne Simmonds and Drew Doughty appear to have made the club and are set to make their debuts on Saturday at San Jose barring any roster move with O’Sullivan being resigned.
“I am real excited and really happy,” Moller said 700K . “I don’t really even know what to say, it is like living a dream.
“I am going to bring my best every night, every shift and be the best player I can be to contribute to this team.”
Doughty is also very excited. 700K
“I am very excited, definitely a dream come true. I am really excited for our first regular season game,” Doughty said. “I learned a lot [from Training Camp], the first few shifts in our exhibition games, it was an adjustment coming from the CHL, it was great getting in those games and getting those under my wing. They are really going to help me.”
Being paired with Sean O’Donnell will also certainly help his development.
“It has been great, he has taught me a lot already and he has only been here for a few days,” Doughty said of the veteran blueliner. “He is talking to me after every shift and talking to me after practice and doing everything he can do.
“He is so calm, I love watching him, he is just a calm player out there and makes everything look so simple, I am hoping I can learn a lot from him this year.”
ZEILER BACK TOO?
John Zeiler, who has been battling an injured groin returned to the ice today. However, Zeiler left practice early. It is not known the severity of the injury and his return is unknown.
“He was out there for about 45 minutes and it sounds like he tweaked his groin again and went off, Zeiler said. :We will re-evaluate it tomorrow.”
CAPTAINS...FIND OUT TOMORROW
The Los Angeles Kings will announce the club’s Captain and Assistant Captains for the 2008-09 season on Wednesday on LAKings.com at 10 a.m. LAKings.com will also feature on-camera interviews with those players and Murray.
Check out our history of Kings Captains.
ZATKOFF SENT TO ECHL
With Jonathan Quick being one of the last cuts the Kings made on Monday after Erik Ersberg had secured the back up goaltender spot to starter Jason LaBarbera, all of a sudden the Manchester Monarchs had four netminders in Quick, Jonathan Bernier, Daniel Taylor and Jeff Zatkoff.
Today the Monarchs announced that Zatkoff had been assigned to the Ontario Reign of the ECHL.