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Segal no Duck

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Brandon Segal was once a member of the Ducks organization, though he never appeared in a game with Anaheim.

ANAHEIM - On the active rosters, the Kings have Sean O’Donnell and the Ducks have George Parros, players who have played games on both sides of the rivalry.

Then there’s Brandon Segal, who occupies an odd place in the rivalry’s history.

Segal has quickly become a staple on the Kings’ fourth line with his gritty play, and tonight at Honda Center he will play in his first regular-season Kings-Ducks game, but this isn’t Segal’s first experience with the crosstown matchup.

Drafted by Nashville in 2002, Segal never cracked the Predators’ roster and was traded to the Ducks in July 2007. That fall, Segal made the Ducks’ roster out of training camp, but didn’t appear in a game and got assigned to the AHL after the Ducks’ first four games.

So Segal isn’t on the books as having played for the Ducks, but in an odd twist, he did accompany them to London in 2007 for the two-game series against the Kings.

""I got a free trip to London out of it," Segal joked. ""It was actually a really good time, just to see what it was like in the NHL. It was pretty much my first experience, during the regular season, to be up. I came into camp that year kind of under the radar and I had a great camp, well enough to make the team. Unfortunately, they made a trade for Mark Mowers and there were just too many players."

Segal got traded to Tampa Bay the following February, appeared in two games with the Lightning last season, then signed with the Kings this summer.

Assigned to the AHL early in training camp, Segal played well for the Monarchs and got the call to join the Kings on Nov. 23. Segal has drawn praise for his play on the fourth line alongside center Brad Richardson and winger Raitis Ivanans.

""I feel pretty comfortable," Segal said. ""I know my role. My linemates that I play with, we know what to do, go out there and create energy. Whether it's getting four minutes of ice time a night or 10 minutes, you've just got to be prepared to go out there every time your name is called and just do your job."

SCUDERI STILL OUT
Rob Scuderi is expected to miss his seventh consecutive game, with a lower-body injury. Scuderi has been skating with the team in full practices for several days.

""If a player is not coming out, at the end of the day after a hard practice, and saying, "Yeah, I feel 100 percent, and I did everything I'm going to have to do in a game, without any kind of pain or heistancy in my game,' then I'm ready to go," Murray said.

""But I want to make sure on this one. I talked to him today on the ice. The last thing I want is for him to get in and play a game or two and then have to take another step back for another week or two. So, when he's in, I want him to be in."

RESPECT FOR RIVAL
The Ducks, at one point this season, were last in the Western Conference, but they’re 3-0-1 in their last four games and have been able to generate some momentum in their seven-game homestand, which ends tonight.

Before this run of success, the Ducks had gone 1-4-1 in their previous six, but Murray said he never sees the Ducks as anything but a threat.

""I never considered them to be away from their game, to be honest with you," Murray said. ""They're a good hockey club. They've got premier players in the game. Every one of us, whether it's going to be the Stanley Cup winners or the 30th place team in the league from the previous year, you're going to go through your cycles and you're going to have a tough time.

""The schedule is demanding. The league is very demanding, and that's just the way the game is. Anaheim, to me, when I watch them play, they're very good."

HIGH PRAISE

In just his second NHL season, and still one week from his 20th birthday, Drew Doughty is drawing significant praise and is considered to be a strong contender for Canada’s Olympic team, which will be announced at the end of this month.

If Doughty does make Team Canada, he will be a teammate of Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer, a future Hall of Famer and still, at age 36, one of the most respected players in the NHL.

Murray was asked, after Tuesday’s morning skate, if he saw elements of Doughty’s game that compared favorably to Niedermayer’s game.

""You do see some similarities, yes," Murray said. ""I think the one thing that both have in common is, they recognize an important time in the game, the point in the game when it's time to do something, it's time to make something happen, to either build on what you've done or to get it back on track again. That's the one thing that top players are able to do, certainly top defensemen.

""You take a look at Niedermayer, and I've seen him pretty much through his entire career, and that's always what stood out when I watched him play. Doughty is showing that at times, and it's a very nice attribute and skill to be able to have as a young hockey player, and for a coach to be able to see it."
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