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Morning Skate: Parse Out, Harrold In

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Peter Harrold is back in the lineup with Scott Parse being a healthy scratch tonight.

The Kings have a late-morning practice scheduled for Feb. 12, but Jack Johnson won't be skating. Instead, later that day, he will be marching.

Johnson, a member of the U.S. Olympic hockey team, has received permission from the Kings to fly to Vancouver and participate in the Games' opening ceremony.

It will be a whirlwind week for Johnson. He will play for the Kings on Feb. 11, then fly to Vancouver for the ceremony the next day. He will be back in Los Angeles to play for the Kings on Feb. 13, the last game before the two-week Olympic break.

The U.S. opens its Olympic schedule on Feb. 16 against Switzerland.

Johnson, 23, has represented the United States on several levels, at the IIHF World Championships, at the World Junior Championships and at the Under-18 World Championships, but considers the Olympics to be the pinnacle.

"I think everyone knows how big the Olympics are," Johnson said. "No matter where you go in the world, if you walk in some place and say you're an Olympian, they know what you're talking about.

"It's a huge thing. I've watched opening ceremonies, closing ceremonies, and to be selected in the Olympics, I'd like to march with the other athletes from my country."

It's unknown whether any other U.S. players will march in the ceremony, although none have publicly committed. The Kings' other four Olympians, Jonathan Quick, Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty and Michal Handzus, are not expected to participate.

Johnson, however, had the full blessing of the Kings to go to Vancouver for a day.

"I think it's wonderful that he's going to participate in it," coach Terry Murray said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing, with the Games in North America. Who knows where the opportunity lies again. It's something that I think is a great idea, and I'm glad he's able to do it."

The Kings are expected to make one lineup change for tonight's game against the Anaheim Ducks at STAPLES Center, with Peter Harrold replacing Scott Parse.

Harrold is expected to skate as the fourth-line right winger, alongside Raitis Ivanans and Oscar Moller, with Brandon Segal moving up to skate with Alexander Frolov and Michal Handzus.

Parse has eight goals and 11 assists in 45 games this season and, at times, has impressed, but in explaining why he took Parse out of the lineup, Murray returned to a familiar theme: consistency.

"I think I've spoken pretty highly of him in the past," Murray said of Parse. "He has scored some spectacular goals for us. He teases you a little bit with that, because you want that high energy, that intense play, all of the time.

"Right now, as a young player coming into the game, there's that top end and then there's a bottom that's a little too low for me right now. I need to see that get pushed up to a higher level, so the consistency, shift after shift, game after game, is there."

The Kings' defensive unit is expected to remain the same, and Jonathan Quick will start in goal.

Tonight's matchup will be the first Kings-Ducks game since Jan. 14, a game that the Kings won 4-0 and that featured some contentious play, especially in the third period.

The third period of that game featured four fighting majors, five roughing penalties, one charging penalty, one boarding penalty, one 10-minute misconduct and one game misconduct. The latter penalty was assessed to Anaheim's Bobby Ryan, after a questionable hit on Oscar Moller with eight seconds remaining.

Will there be a carry-over tonight? Not necessarily, the Kings said.

"You always have to expect them to come out hard," Segal said.. "What happened last game, that was obviously out of frustration from them. We were up 4-0 and they were definitely a frustrated team. But they're going to come out hard tonight, and obviously it's going to be a physical game. It's a great rivalry, and we've just to make sure we're ready to go."
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