EL SEGUNDO --
Brayden Schenn had already made a strong impression in Tuesday night's game as the final minutes of the third pound wound down at
|Brayden Schenn is making a very strong impression in hoped to make the team this year. |
That's when Schenn really wowed the crowd.
Schenn, a rookie center pushing for a spot on the Kings' roster, dropped his gloves and won a spirited fight with Anaheim Ducks defenseman Luca Sbisa, sending the home crowd into a frenzy near the end of an 8-3 preseason victory for the Kings.
Schenn, typically quiet and mild-mannered, couldn't stop himself from smiling and taking pride in his fisticuffs, a part of his game for which he's not normally known.
"It's always fun, getting in a tilt,'' Schenn said after the game. "I don't have to go looking for it, but when the time comes about, I'll try not to back down.''
It's not uncommon for young players, in search of positive attention from coaches and management, to drop gloves in the preseason. In this case, there was some history. Schenn and Sbisa first fought during the 2008 Western Hockey League playoffs.
"He made a hit on (then-teammates) Scott Glennie and I fought him,'' Schenn said. "He actually asked me (to fight Tuesday) after we scored two goals, off the faceoff. I said, 'I’ll see you in the third period.’ So he asked me again with about three minutes left, and I got pulled off. Then I got back out there and he asked me again, so I thought, 'Why not?’''
After the game, Schenn earned praise for more than just his right jab. Given a chance to shine in the game, in a second-line role with wingers Brad Richardson
and Justin Williams
, Schenn played nearly 15 minutes and had one shot on goal.
Schenn, presumably, is competing with fellow rookie Andrei Loktionov
for the fourth-line center spot. If Schenn doesn't make the Kings' roster, he will have to return to his junior team, Brandon of the WHL, for one more season.
"Schenn was really good,'' coach Terry Murray said. "I thought he grabbed the opportunity to move up with more of a skill player on both sides. He really took advantage of it. They had a shift in the first period that was phenomenal.
"That’s what I wanted to see out of this look here tonight, was a player who could make plays, hold onto the puck, carry it, match up against veteran players on the opposition and, at the same time, be solid away from the puck. Then, at the end, he kind of surprised me with what he did.''
A TOUGH CALL
Loktionov, arguably, had an even better game than Schenn, as Loktionov had one goal, one assist and three shots on goal in nearly 15 minutes of ice time. The one negative for Loktionov was the faceoff circle, where he lost 7 of 8 draws.
"Outstanding,'' Murray said. "On the power play, with our best players, most skilled players, he does not look out of place one bit. He made plays, he’s got a lot of composure when the pressure is on him, by the penalty-killing team.
It's likely that the Kings will wait until the end of training camp to make a choice on the fourth-line center. Trevor Lewis
is also in contention for the spot but did not play Tuesday.QUIETER DAY
With two days of practice coming up before the final two preseason games, half of the Kings skated today while the other half focused on off-ice workouts.
The Kings, with 27 healthy players on the roster (not including Matt Greene
and Scott Parse
) were not expected to make any roster cuts on Wednesday.LOOKING FORWARD
The Kings are scheduled to practice at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo.LOMBARDI ON THE FAN 590
Dean Lombardi appeared on The Fan 590 for an interview with Greg Brady, Nick Kypreos, and Doug MacLean... Check out the interview here