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Morning Skate: Jones Out, Second Chance for Martinez

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Randy Jones, who has 12 points in 18 games with the Kings is listed as out for tonight's game.

CALGARY – Another day, another injury for the Kings. Preview

Add defenseman Randy Jones to the list of injured Kings, a list that also includes Jarret Stoll, Ryan Smyth, Wayne Simmonds, Jack Johnson, Brandon Segal and Andrei Loktionov. None of them will play in tonight’s game at Calgary.

Jones, according to coach Terry Murray, is suffering from neck pain and a headache, the result of a collision with Dustin Penner during the Kings’ game at Edmonton on Tuesday.

Alec Martinez, called up from Manchester of the AHL on Wednesday, will enter the lineup and be paired with Davis Drewiske, who moves back to defense after starting the previous game at right wing. Peter Harrold will return to the lineup as a forward.

Murray called Jones’ absence"precautionary" and said he hoped Jones would be able to return when the Kings resume practice Monday. Murray said Jones had not been tested for a concussion but said he didn’t know if a concussion had been ruled out.

"I'm no doctor, that's for sure," Murray said."I don't know that. He's got a stiff neck, I know that. A little bit of a headache, but there's no indication, to me, that there's any nasty word there, on the concussion side of it. ... When we get back, we'll get a look at it with our doctor. I don't even want to go there right now. I'm hoping everything is great."

Stoll will miss a second consecutive game with a groin strain. Murray had hoped that Stoll would be able to skate Thursday morning, but it didn’t happen.

"He's just lacking a lot of strength in his groin," Murray said."For some reason, it needs to get some attention, and hopefully he's going to be back on the ice for the practice Monday."

After more lineup shuffling, the Kings are expected to keep their top two lines intact, with Anze Kopitar centering Alexander Frolov and Justin Williams, and Michal Handzus centering Brad Richardson and Dustin Brown.

After that, the Kings should have Corey Elkins centering Scott Parse and Peter Harrold, and Oscar Moller centering Raitis Ivanans and Teddy Purcell.

On defense, the previously mentioned Drewiske-Martinez union will be accompanied by Rob Scuderi and Drew Doughty, and Sean O’Donnell and Matt Greene.

Martinez’s first taste of the NHL was a short one. He played in the Kings’ season opener, with O’Donnell serving the first of a two-game suspension, but then Martinez was forced out of the lineup after a freak practice injury.

Martinez said he hit a spot of bad ice in El Segundo, lost his footing and crashed feet-first into the boards. The resulting high ankle sprain kept Martinez off the ice for more than a month.

"With those, sometimes you're almost better off breaking your ankle," Martinez said."They just take so long to heal. It was good to get that out of the way and get playing again."

So Martinez actually started the run of Kings injuries this season – not that he will take pride in that – and he has seen it at both levels, with the Kings and the Manchester Monarchs, who have dealt with their own remarkable run of injuries this season.

"It's great that we're able to keep winning, both up here and down there," Martinez said."I don't know, I've never seen anything like this before, so many injuries in one organization, but it's good that we're battling through and getting some more marks in the `W' column."

After tonight, the Kings won’t play again until Dec. 26 at Phoenix, although they will return to practice, for three days, starting on Monday.

Asked about the break, and whether it might be beneficial to a team dealing with so many injuries, Murray seemed to have mixed emotions.

"I'd rather still be playing a few games after tonight," Murray said."It's a long stretch, a very unusual break before the 24th. It would be nice to get a couple more games in there, but on the other side of it, from the 1st of December we have played a pretty compressed bunch of games there. There have been a lot of important games in our division, our conference. The workload has been great.

"Once we do get through this one, I might say, 'Hey, it's a break that we need.' With the number of guys that we have on the sidelines right now, I think it's pretty fortunate that we're going to be able to get through seven, eight days without any games, and have these guys ready to go back in the lineup on the 26th."
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