Head coach Terry Murray is looking to add a spark to the Kings’ offense by mixing up his forward line combinations for their game against the Red Wings tomorrow night.
This afternoon’s practice featured the following line combinations:
Dustin Brown - Jarret Stoll - Patrick O’Sullivan
Alexander Frolov - Anze Kopitar - Teddy Purcell
Kyle Calder - Wayne Simmonds - Michal Handzus
Derek Armstrong - Raitis Ivanans - Brad Richardson - John Zeiler (did not dress last night)
"There’s a lot of good things I liked about the lines, the way they have been for the last half a dozen games, there’s some pretty good chemistry starting to develop," Murray said. "But the bottom line is that we need to find a way to score some goals and get some wins under our belts."
Last night, the Kings fired 34 shots at Philadelphia netminder Martin Biron, but failed to beat him in the 2-0 road loss. Los Angeles is in the midst of a five-game road trip, with games at Detroit, Chicago, and Columbus.
Anze Kopitar, who leads the Kings with 50 points this season, said that he isn’t bothered by the changes.
"Change is always welcome. We haven’t scored a whole lot of goals the last couple games, so I think Terry had a good reason to mix it up a little bit, and we’ll see what happens tomorrow."
TEDDY MAKES MOST OF HIS OPPORTUNITY
Murray said that forward Teddy Purcell looked good in his 19th NHL game this season, but that he needs to convert on his opportunities.
"He competed, he dug in, I liked his involvement on the dots and the boards, he was strong on the puck. He’s here to score goals and make plays…but he’s got to score too. There was a two-on-one there, that should be his bread and butter … so again, we need results.
"We need offensive production from everybody here that are playing big minutes and the expectations are falling on the shoulders of those players, and that’s why I made the changes on the lines, so hopefully we can get their attention tomorrow."
GUESS WHO'S BACK?
Captain Dustin Brown was back on the ice this afternoon, skating with his team for the first time since Saturday’s game against Phoenix. Brown’s wife Nichole gave birth to their second son, Mason, on Tuesday.
Brown arrived in Detroit at 5 a.m. this morning, but said that his amount of sleep won’t be an issue for tomorrow night’s game.
"I think it’s more a mental thing then a physical thing," the 24-year-old said. "Preparing yourself, getting your legs ready and getting ready - properly warmed up - is going to be a key part for me tomorrow night."
The Kings’ All-Star said that it was difficult to be away from his team.
"Somewhat, but at the same time, you look at the situation at hand, and I felt I was in the right spot, being at home and making sure everything was okay with my family first."
QUINCEY REUNION PART DEUX
Defenseman Kyle Quincey is back in Detroit for the second time since he was picked up off of waivers by Los Angeles on Oct. 12.
"It’s great. It’s good to see all the guys again, and it’s a great place to play obviously, a lot of memories, so it’s good."
Quincey, who is sixth on the Kings’ roster with 32 points, said there were mixed emotions in his first game against his former squad, but now it’s all about what matters for his new team.
"I think it was the first game, but now it’s just…it’s two points, and you have to get them. It’s nothing about them, it’s all about us, and how we have to get those two points to get into the playoffs. It’s a little weird playing against all your buddies, but at the end of the day, we’re still going to be friends after the game."
The 23-year-old defenseman said he is most excited to play against former teammate Derek Meech, who has played both forward and defense for the Wings this season.
"I haven’t played against Meecher yet, he was a healthy scratch in the games we played against them in, so it’ll be nice to see him."
When asked if he was looking to land a couple extra hits against him, Quincey laughed, but declined.
Much has been made of the Kings play at home vs. the road this season. Looking at the numbers, the stats tell a different story, their play is nearly identical whether they played at STAPLES Center or on the road...
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BOB MILLER LOOKS BACK AT THE KINGS/WINGS RIVALRY
Kings’ play-by-play announcer Bob Miller has seen a lot in his 36 seasons as "Voice of the Kings."
And as the Kings prepare for the Detroit Red Wings Friday, the Hall-of-Fame broadcaster was happy to discuss how the Wings weren’t always at the top of the NHL standings, but for a long period of time, the exact opposite.
"In the 80’s, starting in about 1980, [the Red Wings] were not very good," Miller recalled. "I think they missed the playoffs about 11 out of 12 years. The Kings used to come in here, and we had Marcel Dionne with us, and everybody hated him because he left [Detroit]."
Dionne, the Red Wings first round choice, second overall in 1971, played in Detroit for four seasons before heading to Los Angeles. He spent 12 seasons with the Kings, where he recorded 550 goals and 757 assists for a total of 1,307 points. Dionne holds the Kings’ all-time records for assists and points, and is only seven goals behind Luc Robitaille's all-time total.
"They would have signs hanging on the balconies and throwing things on the ice," Miller said. "And Marcel would come in and get three or four goals what seemed like every game. And the Kings would beat Detroit all the time."
Miller said that he likes to discuss points like this to show Kings fans that every organization has its ups and downs, and it’s possible to climb up the standings and stay there for good.
"The reason we bring that up on our telecast is to show people that it can turn around. There are franchises like this that always weren’t dominant like this, and they had to be rebuilt, and they rebuilt themselves to be good, year after year."
Miller said that while the games have cooled a bit of late, the rivalry with the Red Wings was something to behold in the ‘80’s.
"The intensity of that rivalry in those years, because of Marcel being with the Kings, there were times in the old Olympia which had a lobby where players would leave the dressing room and meet family and friends. One night they told us 'no one from L.A. is allowed in that lobby, you will leave through a backdoor from the dressing room that went right out to a parking lot.'
"And they pulled our team bus up so that when the doors of the bus opened nobody could get between the doors and the building. People were throwing things at the bus and standing right in front of the bus, and it was kind of fun."
Miller said that his former play-by-play partner Pete Weber, who now calls the games for the Nashville Predators, once described the rivalry as a famous war.
At the time, broadcasters conducted post-game interviews with the players right on the ice after the game, and that wasn’t always the safest place for an interview - something Weber learned that the hard way.
"He goes down to the ice, and says to the usher, ‘I’m going to interview Marcel Dionne,’ and the usher said ‘What? Right here on the ice?’ So he goes out, and they’re doing the interview, and bottles are being thrown from the balcony."
"Pete says ‘This is London, it’s like the blitz in World War II’ and they said ‘That’s it, the interview is over.’ So there were some crazy times here in Detroit."
Compiled by Michael Caples | Special to LAKings.com