For years, Kings coach Terry Murray -- a former NHL defenseman -- has stressed the need for players to respect each other on the ice and limit dangerous hits.
Wednesday night, just hours after he showed his players a league-mandated video that outlined dangerous and illegal hits, Murray was left shaking his head yet again.
Less than 13 minutes into Wednesday’s preseason game at STAPLES Center, Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin
went head-first into the glass near center ice after a hit from behind from Phoenix Coyotes forward Mikkel Boedker.
Boedker received a five-minute major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct. Muzzin stayed in the game but didn’t practice Thursday morning. Murray said Muzzin had a stiff neck but that he expected Muzzin to return to practice Friday.
On a day when the NHL suspended Calgary’s Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond for a hit from behind, Murray was not pleased with Boedker’s hit on Muzzin.
"No, it didn't look good," Murray said. "The day before, we just showed the video, which every player has to see before we play games. We show the league video, and that's exactly what's on the video. Exactly.
"So I'm thinking, 'Why is this happening?' It's one thing (if it's) at the end of the boards, where you've got icing or a forecheck or somebody turns back into the play and gets hit from behind, but that's clearly just a play in neutral zone. Why is that happening?"
Murray was pleased, though, that officials were decisive in their punishment of Boedker.
"It was a great call, absolutely," Murray said. "No hesitation."FIRST CUTS MADE
The Kings made their first roster cuts of training camp on Wednesday night, as 11 players were trimmed from the roster.
Returned to juniors were Michael Schumacher
, Jordan Weal
, Christopher Gibson
, Pierre Durepos, Michael Morrison, Taylor Carnevale and Michael Kantor. Released from pro-tryout agreements were J.D. Watt (who was then signed by the Manchester Monarchs), Ray Macias and C.J. Stretch. Released from camp was Teigan Zahn.
There were no surprises among that group, with Weal's name being perhaps the most notable. Weal scored 43 goals in the Western Hockey League last season and now will return for a final season with the Regina Pats.
"I thought he was one of the best players on the ice in those rookie games against Phoenix,’’ Murray said. ``But as I pointed out to him, the most important thing that I saw was a player who is maturing, growing up. He's a better teammate. He's a really good guy now. I thought he had a little bit of a problem with that in his first year here. But he has really grown up in that department.
``He's making players on the ice with him better hockey players, through the right decisions and complementing those guys and finding them with his talent, his skills. So he's bringing out the best in everybody as a result of that. To me, he left my office with me having a very positive feel about him going back and playing another year (in junior).''GOOD REVIEWS FOR TOFFOLI
It’s been a strong training camp thus far for 19-year-old Tyler Toffoli
, a second-round draft pick of the Kings in 2010 who was the top scorer in the junior-level Ontario Hockey League last season, with 108 points (including 57 goals) for the Ottawa 67s.
Toffoli played Wednesday night in Phoenix and scored a game-tying goal in the third period and also had an assist. Toffoli played on a line with Trevor Lewis
and Ethan Moreau.
"We've seen it right from the start of the training camp, through the rookie camp and the two games that were played," Murray said. "He's a guy that shows a lot of composure. He's very strong on the puck. His skating has improved dramatically from last year, when I first saw him. Now he's getting that confidence that some players get early (and) some players need to go through some time before they get it.
"Right now, he's strong on the puck, playing very confidently, seeing the ice, making plays, taking pucks to the net. When you hear about all that stuff, and you see it, you get a little bit excited. There's a lot of potential for being a good pro."