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Morning Skate: Homecoming for Peter

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Peter Harrold is the lone Ohio born member of the Kings.

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Talent gets a player to the NHL. Consistency keeps him there.

Kings coach Terry Murray often speaks glowingly about the talent Scott Parse possesses, but from time to time, Murray has expressed a need to see more consistency from Parse.

That desire, it seems, nearly forced Parse out of the lineup this week, but Murray said he changed his mind Thursday. Parse will stay in the Kings’ lineup for the game against Columbus, and Teddy Purcell will continue to be a healthy scratch.

Parse, a 25-year-old rookie, has eight goals and 10 assists in 41 games this season, but Murray has been worried less about Parse’s offensive efforts and more about his consistent two-way play, something Murray still sees as a concern.

"I think it's something that he will work through as he continues to play at this level," Murray said. "It seems to be a pretty common issue, whenever you go through the process with young guys, calling them up. There's a lot of adrenaline, a lot of emotion, and they step back a couple paces after maybe five or six games and you've got to give them a little push up.

"Or, in the past, that player would go back down again and learn how to develop that attitude that you've got to bring it every day, every practice. He's improved. It's coming, and he's a bright guy, a smart guy, and he's going to grab onto this thing."

Parse will remain in a good spot, as the right winger on a line with Alexander Frolov and Michal Handzus. It’s a big role, given that he’s partnered with two forwards who are two of the Kings’ strongest two-way players.

Parse, listed at 6-foot, 193 pounds, isn’t particularly big or fast, but has some deceptively strong moves that, perhaps, caused Murray to think twice about taking him out of the lineup.

"He's kind of an intriguing player for me," Murray said. "He can score some goals. He's got high skill level, and he brings that element of, you better keep your head up or he can lay a pretty big hit on somebody if you're not paying attention.

"That's the right attitude for him to play with. He doesn't have to show that on every shift, but certainly the consistency with the intensity and the compete is demanded on every shift. That's maybe where there's a little drop-off at times."

INJURY UPDATE

Davis Drewiske, out since Jan. 4, continues to practice, and Murray said it’s possible that Drewiske might return to the Kings’ lineup for Sunday’s game at New Jersey.

"The plan, at the beginning of the trip, was that he would get in at the end," Murray said. "If I decide to put him in, it would probably be the game in New Jersey, and that's been the plan from the very beginning."

HOMECOMING WEEK
Peter Harrold, a native of Kirtland Hills, is the only Kings player from Ohio. Harrold said his parents and two friends were scheduled to make the drive to watch Thursday’s game.

The Kings have been circling Harrold’s hometown during this road trip. Kirtland Hills is southeast of Detroit and south of Toronto. It’s also southwest of Buffalo.

So which team did Harrold grow up cheering for? The Chicago Blackhawks.

"I think, when I was younger, I just liked the way their uniforms looked," Harrold said.

Harrold’s parents also drove to see him play in Detroit on Saturday. Tomorrow, Harrold will return to Boston, where he spent four years playing at Boston College.

FAMILIAR FOE
Murray knows Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock well. The two men have coached against each other in the NHL since the mid-90s and, for two-plus seasons in Philadelphia, worked together, as Murray served as an assistant under Hitchcock.

Murray’s Kings are 3-3 against Hitchcock’s Blue Jackets in the last two seasons. There are few secrets between the two coaches, and Murray said he knows what to expect from the Hitchcock-coached Blue Jackets.

"It's a demanding game, a hard game," Murray said. "He wants everyone to finish, and there's a bit of a bulls-eye put on several players on the other team. You've got to be ready to compete. Every play is important. Board battle, faceoff, every drive you have to battle for your ice and you have to make sure you're ready to compete in your D-zone, in front of your net, because they have some guys who have a pretty good attitude about getting there.

"If you're not ready to take that challenge, it looks like you're getting pushed aside easy. I think our attitude is better. We have improved in that area. We still have areas to grow there, but we have more of a playoff mentality today than at this time last year."
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