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TRAINING CAMP REPORT I

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
When Terry Murray took over as Kings head coach this summer he promised that the Kings would be more responsible defensively and would be a tougher team physically.


Terry Murray | Derek Armstrong | Photo Gallery

That emphasis was extremely noticeable as the Kings opened training camp on Friday.

“You come in the first day and you are hitting the ground running with a scrimmage and practice and you are trying to get a lot of things covered in a short period of time,” Murray said. “The veteran guys were prepared, emotionally, physically and set the emotional tone at practice, jumping at the front of lines and showing the younger guys how to do things.

“It was very intense.”

You could say that again.

Both scrimmage games were extremely physical maxing out when Rich Clune and Drew Bagnall dropped the gloves during Team Nicholls’ 2-1 victory over Team Wells.

Clune accumulated 22 penalty minutes during the Kings recently completed Rookie Tournament in Phoenix.

Clune, acquired in a deal with Dallas this off season, is one of the 58 players that took part in the three-hour practice that was split between four teams over two sheets of ice at Toyota Sports Center.

On the Kings typical practice Ice, Murray, new Kings assistant coaches Mark Hardy and Jamie Kompon and goaltending coach Bill Ranford led drills between the four teams rotating on and off the ice.

“I was very impressed with the overall conditioning of the team. The veterans really stepped up here today in the middle of practice and started to show their experience and show their superior knowledge of the game and set the tone for the younger guys,” Murray said.

On the Olympic sized sheet of ice, four 20-minute scrimmages took place, with Team Pulford and Team Quinn skating to a scoreless draw before Matt Moulson and Ted Purcell scored in the second 20-minute period to lead Team Pulford to a 2-0 win over Team Quinn.

In the second set of scrimmages, Team Nicholls swept Team Wells with a pair of 2-1 victories with Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Peter Harrold and Eric Werner, who is in camp on a tryout, scoring for Team Nicholls.

Michal Handzus and Andrei Loktionov scored for Team Wells

“The intensity always picks up for the scrimmages,” Derek Armstrong, in his 16th training camp said. “You get a bit of a grind out there. We jumped right on the ice and started playing and the pace was good."

Kings prospect Wayne Simmonds noticed the difference between the Kings training camp and rookie camp.

“The big guys come out now, so you have to pick up your game and elevate to their level. The pace goes higher, the physicality goes up too. You always have to be looking around and be ready to make a play before you get the puck.”

NOTES

RANDOM COACHING INFO
Monarchs head coach Mark Morris and director of hockey operations Hubie McDonough coached Team Pulford and Team Wells while Monarchs assistant coach Scott Pellerin and OntarioReign head coach Karl Taylor teamed up to guide Team Quinn and Team Nichols. The unofficial record has Pellerin and Taylor leading their counterparts, with a 2-1-1 mark through four games…. With the Kings having a split squad game on Monday playing in both Kansas City and Los Angeles (7:30 p.m. (BUY TICKETS), Murray identified which coaches will lead which squad. Jamie Kompon and Mark Hardy will travel to Kansas City, while Murray will make his debut in Los Angeles at STAPLES Center.

EIGHT A CROWD?
With Erik Ersberg , Jonathan Quick, Jason LaBarbera , Jeff Zatkoff , Jonathan Bernier, Daniel Taylor , Linden Rowat and Martin Jones (tryout) all in camp, the Kings have eight goaltenders on the Training Camp Roster.

“I have never had eight goalies in camp before,” Murray admitted. “It works well, we have four teams so each one of them get a break and get an opportunity to get their work in. It is great to have that type of competition, not only with the big club but at the American league level in Manchester.

“It’s healthy, it’s good and it pushes people to another level.”

On which goaltender might make an appearance on Monday, Murray has not made up his mind.

“I don’t know if all eight are deserving of playing in an NHL game. I have yet to see that. With the help of the other coaches, we will make a decision.”

Ersberg did not participate in practice today as he was ill. tl

OH CAPTAIN.
“On the Captaincy and alternates, I am going to take my time on that,” Murray said. “The 22 days of training camp are really important for me to see how that is going to unfold, to see who is going to step up in critical situations in the eight exhibition games. I am going to sit down with other people in the organization, not only the coaching staff, but management and make the decision.

“I do want a captain and two alternates and to stay with those people, we are not going to rotate. I feel that is important for an organization to make that type of decision that we know what we are doing and we know the people we want to lead us.”

Terry Murray has painted these five dots in what he calls "home plate" to help teach his defensive philosophies.
HOME PLATE
That focus on defense that Murray has spoken at length about was evident not only in the players performance, but on the ice…literally. Murray and staff have painted five circles in the shape of home plate on the practice ice.

“We focused on the defensive end, what I call home plate” Murray said of the five black spots in front of the goalmouth. “That is the mindset of what the players have to have. Taking care of home plate and eliminating some of those grade one scoring chances is a priority and that was focus today.

“The dots are a reference point. When the puck is coming into your defensive zone, it is what I call home plate positioning. The prime scoring area is right there in front of the net below the hash marks, that is where we have to be defending.”

DOUGHTY AND THE YOUNG DEFENSIVE PROSPECTS
There is much speculation amongst the media that No. 2 pick Drew Doughty will start the season with the Kings. Though he has not earned a roster spot officially on the Los Angeles Kings, Doughty’s play has gotten the attention of Murray.

“Doughty stood out. He did a lot of positive things with the puck during the rookie scrimmages,” Murray said. “He has a great head on his shoulders, he played the physical side of the game, he didn’t hesitate in his one-on-one confrontations, and he tried to show some authority with the puck.

“When you have an 18-year-old taking control like that, you have to watch that very closely, that is one of the things you have to evaluated properly and see how that fits in on your main club. I really like what I saw.”

Though he didn’t make a direct comparison to anyone on the Kings roster, Murray threw out the name of two Hall of Fame defensemen in illustrating that young blue liners can be productive NHLers.

“Young d-men can play in the NHL and be successful. Over my years of coaching, I have had 18-year-olds and 19-year-olds step in and have impacts on the team. A couple of guys, Scott Stevens played for me as an 18-year-old, Kevin Hatcher as a 19-year-old and both were players who ate up big, important minutes in a game and had great careers.

“There is absolutely an opportunity for that to happen with this organization. I will be watching closely to see if some of those younger guys can step up and take a big piece of this thing.”

NO O'SULLIVAN
One absence from camp was Kings center Patrick O’Sullivan, a restricted free agent who tallied 22-31=53 in 82 games last season.

Murray addressed the absence of O’Sullivan, whose agent is in negotiation with Kings GM Dean Lombardi.

“I don’t know what I am missing [with O’Sullivan], because I don’t know him yet. I watched the video from last year’s games, so I have a small sense of what he is and what he offers. But hey, it is business today and this gives other guys an opportunity.”

KINGS LINES
With the Kings having two preseason games on Monday, just the third day of training camp, it is never too early to start taking a look at the lines to possibly get an idea of what the Kings might look like on Monday.

Team Quinn
Forwards
Alexander Frolov-Derek Armstrong-Brady Murray
Trevor Lewis-Brian Boyle-Kyle Calder
Bud Holloway –Matt Ellis – Oliver Legault (tryout)

Defense
Davis Drewiske-Mike D’Orazio (tryout)
Denis Gauthier – Drew Doughty

Goaltenders
Jonathan Quick
Jeff Zatkoff

Team Pulford
Forwards
Matt Moulson-Jarret Stoll-Marty Murray (tryout)
Raitis Ivanans-Gabe Gauthier-David Meckler
Matt Fillier- Murray-Bryan Cameron

Defense
Alec Martinez-Colten Teubert
Andrew Campbell-Tom Preissing

Goaltenders
Jonathan Bernier
Daniel Taylor

Team Wells
Forwards
Brad Richardson – Michal Handzus – John Zeiler
Rich Clune – Oscar Moller – Wayne Simmonds
Vladimir Dravecky – Andre Loktionov – Paul Crosty (tryout)

Defense
Thomas Hickey – Josh Kidd
Jack Johnson – Matt Greene

Goaltenders

Linden Rowat

Team Nicholls
Forwards
Scott ParseAnze KopitarDustin Brown
Dwight KingMarc-Andre ClicheKevin Westgarth
Geordie Wudrick – Kopitar – Eric Werner (tryout)

Defense
Joe Piskula – Viatcheslav Voynov
Drew Bagnall – Peter Harrold

Goaltenders
Jason LaBarbera
Martin Jones (tryout)
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