The Kings returned to the ice today for practice at 10 a.m. following yesterday’s day off. The team is slated to attend the Lakers game tonight as the team hosts the Chicago Bulls at 7:30 p.m. at STAPLES Center.
CHANGES ARE A PLENTY
After scoring just one goal over the last two games, Kings head coach Terry Murray shook up the lines a bit, returning Patrick O’Sullivan to the Kings top line with Dustin Brown
and Anze Kopitar
“I am making a change to get Sully going personally and to add something to that left side of that line that will give them the ability to get some results at the end of the day,” Murray said. “I really feel it is important to add something on that left side, someone with a little higher skill level and ability to finish.”
Kyle Calder, who had been playing on that line, was dropped to the Kings third line, playing with Michal Handzus and Wayne Simmonds. Raitis Ivanans, who was playing on the third line, was dropped to the fourth line, where he will play with Brian Boyle. John Zeiler, who has been down at Manchester on a rehab stint, will return to the lineup and play on the wing. Peter Harrold now will return to his usual role on defense.
“I don’t want him to lose sight of the fact that he is a defenseman,” Murray said of Harrold, one of seven defenseman that skated today. “Any time that I can use him on the blue line in practice, I want to do that. The way it looks today I will have to make a decision, on whether he will be on the blue line.”ZEILER BACK IN THE LINEUP
Zeiler, who played the last two games at Manchester on a conditioning assignment, returned to the Kings for practice today and is expected to make his first appearance of the season vs. Washington on Thursday.
“In my experience, any time a player goes down voluntarily, basically, knowing that he needs to get some games in because of injury after missing some training camp, it’s important to give an opportunity,” Murray said. “He is on the line with Boyle and Raitis, so we will see where he is at.”
Zeiler was just happy to return to the ice with his team.
“It is good to get out there, pass the puck around and get your legs back you know. It feels good. Hopefully we will be able to go out there and play the body and create a lot of things.”ERSBERG TO START HIS EIGHTH STRAIGHT?
Jason LaBarbera, who was named the Kings No. 1 goaltender in training camp and started the first 10 games of the season, has not started since Oct. 25 vs. Nashville as Erik Ersberg has started the last seven straight games. Ersberg who won four straight from Nov. 6-13 and earned points in each of his first five starts, has dropped two straight games, falling vs. Nashville on Nov. 15, 3-0 and then to the Ducks, 2-0 the next night.
So is a change in place?
“I know I want to get LaBarbera back in again, but on the other side Ersberg is playing well, Murray said. “We will make a decision on that tomorrow, but I do not see a reason now why I would make a change.”
Kids from Gratts Elementary, a local downtown elementary, came to TSC to enjoy the Kings annual "Thanksgiving Lunch as part of the Fit to be King Program, a partnership between Kings Care and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. They are being rewarded for their dedication to staying active and eating right.
The kids skated, watched Kings practice and then enjoyed a Thanksgiving Lunch served to them by the Kings Wives and Bailey. After lunch they were treated to some roller hockey with Drew Doughty
, O'Sullivan, Handzus, Calder and Alexander Frolov.
ROY TO HAVE HIS JERSEY RETIRED
Patrick Roy’s No. 33 will be retired by the Montreal Canadiens this Saturday.
Kings Assistant GM and former rival of Roy’s, Ron Hextall chatted with LAKings.com a bit about the Hall of Famer. “You knew when you went in to Montreal that you were going to have to play well to match him,” Hextall said of Roy. “You would obviously hope your team plays better than his, but you knew you were up against a top guy and as a goalie, you always looked at that as a challenge.”
Hextall reflected on some of the battles that his Flyers teams had with the Canadiens. “We played the Canadiens in the playoffs a couple of times and they were always fierce battles. He was a competitor, a leader for their hockey club and obviously a guy that they leaned heavily on. As an opponent, you always respected the fact that he was going to play well and give everything he has got.”
Though rivals on the ice, Hextall sees some of the qualities that made Roy a Hall of Famer.
“He is a very driven individual, he was a very good goaltender, one of the first butterfly guys, but it was his drive that separated him from the pack. He wanted to be successful, he had a mind set that he wasn’t going to take any less and that is what made him the player he was.”