EL SEGUNDO --
The Kings almost made it all the way through their massive three-week transcontinental road trip without any significant injury issues. Almost.
When the Kings take the ice for tomorrow night’s STAPLES Center opener against St. Louis, they will be without top defenseman Drew Doughty
and possibly without second-line left winger Dustin Penner
Doughty left Saturday’s game at Philadelphia in the first period with an undisclosed upper-body injury and likely will be out of action at least another week. Penner suffered a knee bruise, according to coach Terry Murray, during a first-period fight Saturday and only made it through one-third of Monday’s practice.
Penner left the ice 20 minutes into a 60-minute practice, and afterward Murray said he didn’t know if Penner would be able to play Thursday. Scott Parse
took Penner’s place in practice drills.
``There’s nothing I can tell you right now,’’ Murray said. ``There’s no report from our doctor (right now). It’s what I said in Philadelphia. It’s a contusion on his knee. When he had the fight, he fell. That’s what it is. He went to get it checked out by the doctor and see if there’s anything further on that.
``The plan was full practice. There was nothing, before the practice, to lead me to believe there was going to be anything different than that. Obviously it’s bothering him. He’s been reassured by the doctor in Philadelphia and the training staff here, but something is on his mind so we sent him to our team doctor.’’
As for Doughty, there’s apparently no change in his status. During Saturday’s game, president/general manager Dean Lombardi said Doughty’s injury was not concussion-related and that Doughty would miss 7-10 days. After practice today, Murray said he believed that timetable was still accurate.
The Kings put Doughty on injured reserve Sunday, which includes an automatic seven-day stay, and also called up rookie defenseman Slava Voynov
from Manchester of the American Hockey League.
Voynov is expected to make his NHL debut tomorrow night, paired with veteran Willie Mitchell
. Voynov impressed during the preseason and was the final training-camp cut amongst skaters. Last season, Voynov -- a former second-round pick -- was an AHL All-Star and is known for his strong skating and puck-handling.
``I just want him to play,’’ Murray said of Voynov. ``He’s going to get into the lineup. He’s going to play with Willie Mitchell
, as you saw in the practice today. And he’s not a kid. This is a man. He has played in the elite levels in Russia, before he even joined the Kings organization. He’s played some very good hockey since he’s been over in North America. He’s just trying to tie it all together, with the confidence he showed us and the game he showed us in training camp. It was right where we needed it to be. There’s no problem with him handling the high expectations. I think he’s a very confident young man.
``When we had the conversation in Europe, for him to go back to Manchester, with the coaching staff and Dean and Hexy [assistant GM Ron Hextall], we all reassured him, `Feel good about your game. You’re on the threshold. You’re ready to make that step across and become a player on a regular basis in the NHL.’ It’s here a little bit sooner than what we anticipated, and it’s unfortunate that it is, but it’s his opportunity to show that he can play. He’s not called up to fill in for an injured player in my mind. This is a time for him to show us what he can do.’’CLEAN HIT, GOOD REACTION
Doughty left Saturday’s game after a big open-ice shoulder check by Philadelphia’s Zac Rinaldo. Penner immediately jumped Rinaldo and the two fought, but Murray said he didn’t think Rinaldo’s hit was dirty.
``I thought it was a hockey hit,’’ Murray said. ``You’ve got a player coming into the offensive zone with the puck, and he got a glimpse of him, I think, at the last second. The way teams are structured, on the checking part of the game today, you’ve got four, five guys backing up, protecting that red line, to the top of their circles, and if there’s any lateral movement, you’re going to see those kinds of hits.
“I didn’t think that the player launched himself. He seemed to hit him straight on. It’s just a hockey play.’’
On the other hand, Murray said he also didn’t have a problem with Penner’s strong, quick reaction. Penner received a two-minute instigator penalty and an automatic 10-minute misconduct.
``I didn’t know if it was an instigator,’’ Murray said. ``Two players came together. I guess they have to interpret it as that, but I’m fine with what he did, sure. A player sticking up for a teammate, it’s a good thing.’’LOVE FOR LOKOMOTIV
In order to support the families of the KHL team Lokomotiv that perished in a plane accident last month, the Kings' wives and girlfriends will selling silicone red bracelets during all home games in October (and at LAKings.com).
The bracelets, which will be sold at the Kings Care Foundation’s booth outside section 103, cost $10, with 100 percent of proceeds going to the Lokomotiv team's families.