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Morning Skate: Halpern, Modin Join Kings

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
New additions Fredrik Modin (L) and Jeff Halpern (R) are expected to play on the Kings fourth line tonight at Nashville.

NASHVILLE - Jeff Halpern and Fredrik Modin, combined, have played more than 1,500 NHL games. Modin has lifted the Stanley Cup. Both have played high-level international hockey. It’s unlikely that either will be bragging about any of this.

Halpern and Modin, acquired by the Kings in separate trades Wednesday, joined their new teammates today and are expected to play tonight against Nashville as part of a new-look fourth line with rookie winger Scott Parse.

Halpern came over from Tampa Bay, in exchange for Teddy Purcell and a third-round pick, while Modin came from Columbus for a conditional seventh-round pick.

Neither player will shoulder huge expectations with the Kings. Halpern and Modin are veteran forwards who were acquired for depth, to complement the Kings’ young talent, and both players expressed satisfaction and excitement with their new roles.

Halpern will center the fourth line, with Modin on his left and Parse on his right. (Kings expected lineup) Halpern will wear No. 22 and Modin will wear No. 33.

"I'll try to jump in and just support what's been going on here," Halpern said. "I'd like to think that, going into the playoffs, I'll be able to add solid play at both ends of the ice and be able to contribute in different ways, however the coach needs me."

Modin joins Sean O’Donnell, Rob Scuderi and Justin Williams as current Kings who have won the Stanley Cup - he won with Tampa Bay in 2004 - but Modin said his goal with the Kings is simply to fit in, not to offer unsolicited advice.

"These guys are having a great season, and playing so well," Modin said. "I'm sure they don't need anyone coming in here telling them how to do things. They're figuring things out, and they've been playing such a great type of hockey and playing.

"There's nothing that I'm going to come in and start preaching about. I'm just going to fall in here and see where I fit in. I'm very excited to be here. It's a young team, but they're playing some tremendous hockey. I'm very excited to get a chance to be a part of this."

Modin has dealt with injuries in the past three seasons, and recently had a bout with stomach flu, but said he’s ready to play for his new team tonight.

Kings coach Terry Murray, who has spoken often this season about the importance of team chemistry, said he doesn’t believe the addition of two players will be a negative.

"I think they're real good adds to our hockey club," Murray said, "two veteran players who have established themselves in this league and fit in, because of being really good people, outstanding people in fact.

"I've often talked, in the past, about being aware of the chemistry we have in our locker room also, and not wanting to tinker with that very much. I really look at the group we have on this team, being as solid and understand as they are about the desire to move forward as a group, and adding these two new players, they readily accept it. They will welcome these guys quickly, and bring them in as part of the L.A. Kings. I think we can move forward with those guys in the lineup and not miss a step.''

This is only the second of four meetings between the Kings and Nashville this season, and the Kings aren’t necessarily happy to have three games left against the Predators.

Nashville handed the Kings one of their ugliest losses of this season, 3-1, on Nov. 7 at STAPLES Center, and last season the Kings went 0-3-1 against Nashville.

"They give us trouble," Murray said. "They're a team that we played against four times last year, and they're a very difficult team to play against. They're solid, right through, with their lines. Their goaltending is excellent and their back end is very special, especially with the two guys from the Canadian and U.S. Olympic teams. They're really good players. They bring their defensemen into the attack. There's a lot of activity at the offensive blue line. They look to find those guys, to get pucks to the net.

"On the checking side of it, they really pressure up and make it difficult for breakouts. So this is going to be a little bit of a chess match out there, I think, tonight. With the way they play, the pressure-up game, and the style that we want to play, it's going to be fun, it's going to be, I think, a close game but a real exciting game."

Eight products of Princeton University have made it to the NHL, and three of them have played for the Kings. Jeff Halpern (Princeton, 1995-99) joins George Parros and Kevin Westgarth on the Kings' list.

The others are Chris Corrinet (Washington 2001-02), Andre Faust (Philadelphia 1992-94), Ed Lee (Quebec 1984-85), Mike McKee (Quebec 1993-94) and Darroll Powe (Philadelphia 2008-present).

Halpern, Parros and Powe are Princeton’s active NHLers. Westgarth is playing for the Manchester Monarchs, the Kings’ AHL affiliate.
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