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Scuderi To Return Tonight

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Rob Scuderi, who has not played since Nov. 14 vs. Tampa Bay due to a lower body injury, is set to return tonight.
At some point, "day to day" turned into "week to week," but the speculation finally ended Monday morning when Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi pronounced himself ready to play.

Scuderi, who is expected to partner with Drew Doughty in the game against Calgary, suffered an injury during the Kings' Nov. 14 game at Tampa Bay and was initially expected to miss only a couple games.

Things didn't go as planned, though, and Scuderi -- who disclosed Monday that his injury was actually a sprained ankle -- ended up missing nine games. Scuderi was fortunate to avoid the type of high ankle sprain that can sideline players for up to a couple months.

"Sometimes when your hear the doctor's diagnosis, you just take that for complete fact," Scuderi said. "It lagged on for maybe an extra week. I thought, `I want to play now,' but it definitely didn't feel right. I had a couple more days of working with the trainers, and everyone did a good job, so it's a little longer than I wanted but I'm glad to be back."

In previous, similar situations, coach Terry Murray had dressed Peter Harrold at forward as an "insurance" defenseman, in case the injured player didn't feel right, but Murray said he was confident enough in Scuderi's health that he didn't need the insurance of Harrold.

Davis Drewiske will be scratched in favor of Scuderi.

Oscar Moller grew a beard over the past couple months, perhaps to better prepare himself for the cold winters in Manchester, N.H. Maybe now he won't need it.

Moller, called up Sunday from the AHL to join the Kings, is expected to be in the lineup tonight as the fourth-line right winger, next to center Brad Richardson and Raitis Ivanans. Harrold will be scratched.

The beard isn't Moller's only new look. A natural center, Moller said he now feels comfortable playing both wings. That type of versatility could allow him to stick around with the Kings, especially if he starts contributing points.

"Maybe I can use my quickness more, I think, and get in on the forecheck more and create some scoring opportunities," Moller said of playing wing.

Murray said Moller was called up out of concern for an unnamed player, one whom Murray said had suffered "a bruise" during Saturday's shootout loss to St. Louis. At the time of his call-up, Moller led the Monarchs in goals and points.

"He's a creative guy, he's a competitive guy and he also has been playing the other two positions down in Manchester, a lot of left wing," Murray said of Moller. "So if necessarily, I can have some flexibility to move he and Richardson around again."

There's not yet a timetable on the return of Brandon Segal, who is out with a self-described knee sprain, but Murray said Segal spent Monday morning running on a treadmill and "looks pretty good."

Ryan Smyth, still at least one week away from a possible return from his undisclosed upper-body injury, stayed on the ice for the entire morning skate Monday but did not participate in drills.

Asked if there was any change in Smyth's status, Murray said no, and joked, "Contrary to what he might tell you, no there is not."

Erik Ersberg, who has started only two games in goal this season (and none since Nov. 13), is likely to start either Wednesday in San Jose or Thursday at home against Phoenix.

Jonathan Quick is scheduled tonight to make his 29th start in 31 games. The Kings also have a set of back-to-back games next week, in Vancouver and Edmonton, before their eight-day holiday break.

"Seven games in 11 days is a lot of work for one guy, so I'm prepared to make a change," Murray said. "I don't want to push it too far, with a compressed schedule, but on the other side, Ersberg has been better. He's working hard."
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