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by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
The Kings hit the ice today at 11:30 for practice. The big news of the day was the promotion of Ted Purcell to the Kings top line, playing on the wing with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, a spot that has been filled at camp by David Meckler early and Oscar Moller of late while the Patrick O’Sullivan negotiations continue.

Practice Report

John Zeiler missed practice with a groin pull and was placed on IR. He will not travel with the team this weekend and Davis Drewiske and Joe Piskula were both assigned to Manchester bringing the total to 27 active players remaining on their 2008 Training Camp roster (15 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders).

In addition, the Kings have three injured players (Zeiler, groin; Marc-Andre Cliche, shoulder; and Rich Clune, chest).

The Kings will fly to Phoenix today at 5 p.m.

The search for a forward to play along side Brown and Kopitar continued at camp today, with Teddy Purcell being promoted to the Kings No. 1 line. Coach Terry Murray hinted that this will be something that the Kings will take a look at during this weekend’s preseason games.

“The main thing is to work hard,” Purcell said. “I think they know the offensive abilities that I can bring if given the opportunity and they have given me that opportunity.

“I just have to take advantage of it.”

Purcell played for the Kings last season for 10 games, and scored 1-2=3 and could have possibly scored a few more as he hit numerous posts up in Edmonton in his NHL debut.

He also tallied 25-58=83 in 67 games with Manchester.

“It’s an opportunity for Teddy,” Murray said. “He is a skilled hockey player. He put up real good numbers the last year in Manchester and when he came up, from what I have been told, he played very well offensively. He can see the ice, make good plays and score goals.

“Good players need to play with good players.”

With Kopitar, the Kings No. 1 center and Michal Handzus, the Kings stalwart defensive third-line center, being joined by new comer Jarret Stoll as the second line center and rookie Brian Boyle moving into a fourth-line center role, there was a lot of depth at the center position, something the Kings have not had a lot of in the past.

As a result, Derek Armstrong, who basically centered for every line at some point a year ago, has made the move from pivot to the wing this preseason.

“I was drafted as a winger, I played wing in junior,” Armstrong told Daryl Evans in an interview on Kings Vision. “It doesn’t bother me. I have always prided myself on knowing the game and being a smart player, I am not the fastest skater, so you have to rely on your smarts.

“I am just proud to be an LA King and proud to be in the NHL. If they want me to fill water, I will fill water.”

Along with the change of position, has come a little more offense. Armstrong has tallied 2-1=3 in four games this preseason, after scoring 8-27=35 a year ago.

“You get more chances to shoot as a winger. You get the puck out wide you don’t have the whole ice to see.”

Sean O’Donnell and Drew Doughty were paired again today and Murray likes the way the duo look on the ice.

“I think O’Donnell and Doughty could make a good pair,” Murray said. “We have them together this weekend and will get a good look at them. When you have a quality person and player like O’Donnell, he reads off skilled players. He played with [Scott] Neidermayer and [Chris] Pronger and he understands the whole concept of getting the puck to them and letting them do the work on the offensive side of the game.

“That still carries through with the young 18 year old. Doughty has offensive abilities, special skills, and get the puck in his hands as often as possible. Give him the support, if it gets physical and hard out there, we need a big bodied guy out there like O’Donnell to step in and give him the support to help him feel comfortable.”

O’Donnell, who has appeared in 934 games since joining the league with the Kings in 1994, should provide a lot of ‘support’ for Doughty this season as the rookie blueliner adjusts to the NHL, an adjustment that appears to be a smooth one thus far.

“I have been surprised in Doughty’s play,” Murray said. “He just carried right through from junior it looks like to play at a high level. Very confident young guy, his confidence with the puck is almost outstanding. It amazes me at times what he is going to do in pressure situations to come out of there with lots of composure, seeing the ice and making the right play or just getting his feet going and carrying it out of trouble.

“Those are indications of great things to come and that is why he is pushing us hard and it looks like he is going to be one of the top-six defenseman on this hockey club.”

With the regular season quickly approaching, Murray wants to start creating some chemistry with the possible lines that could be ready for the start of the NHL season. The team practiced today in lines that Murray said will most likely be what the Kings are going with this weekend vs. St. Louis and Phoenix.

“The way you see it in practice is the way I want to go with it this weekend probably,” Murray said. “We need to start to get things together, get things ready for the start of the year and get a little chemistry.”

So here are the lines from today:
Purcell - Kopitar - Brown
Matt Moulson - Stoll - Alexander Frolov
Brad Richardson - Handzus - Wayne Simmonds
Raitis Ivanans - Boyle - Armstrong

Kyle Calder Oscar Moller Kevin Westgarth

Matt Greene - Jack Johnson
Sean O'Donnell - Drew Doughty
Denis Gauthier Jr. - Tom Preissing

Thomas Hickey Peter Harrold
Alec Martinez

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