Crawford wouldn’t yet say who was going first, but he did say LaBarbera and Aubin will each get a game in the next two.
Here’s the release …
The Los Angeles Kings have agreed to terms on a three-year entry-level contract with forward Wayne Simmonds, the clubs second-round selection (61st overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and one of three Kings prospects currently representing Canada at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championships, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced today. Per club policy, terms of the agreement were not announced.
Simmonds, 19, has zero points and two penalty minutes in four games with Team Canada at this years World Junior Championships. The 6-1, 174-pound native of Scarborough, Ontario, also has two goals and five penalty minutes in three regular season games with Sault Ste. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League this season. Simmonds was recently traded to Sault Ste. Marie after beginning this season with Owen Sound (OHL), where he had 39 points (17-22=39) and 43 penalty minutes in 29 regular season games.
Simmonds recorded 49 points (23-26=49) and 112 penalty minutes in 66 regular season games with Owen Sound during the 2006-07 season.
Here’s what Raitis Ivanans had to say about fighting Cody McLeod of Colorado on Saturday, his first fight since breaking his Cheekbone in early November: “It wasnt really a good fight but it feels great to be able to do that again. Im back to myself now.”
Ivanans didn’t take a hit in the fight so he has yet to see how his cheek will respond to a punch. He had surgery on a nerve in his left cheek.
“It feels more sensitive now because the nerve was numb and now it’s coming back,” Ivanans said.
The Kings played Chicago on Sunday and have the Blackhawks again at Staples Center tomorrow. Ivanans had some thoughts on Chicago forward Tuomo Ruutu.
“It makes me mad that Ruutu guy won’t drop gloves,” Ivanans said. “He won’t even take a hit. He can hit you, but he can’t take a hit or drop his gloves.”
With two goals Sunday in Chicago, including the game-winner in overtime, Dustin Brown set a career high with 18 goals. And we’re not even at the midway point of the season.
“You look at my goals this year and a lot of them are within five feet of the crease,” Brown said. “Its just a matter of sticking around there and youll get rewarded type of thing. Ive been getting a lot of goals off the rebound or bouncing off me.”
Brown, in his fourth year, scored 17 goals in 81 games last year. It’s looking like the Kings were well-timed in wrapping up the 23-year-old to a six-year contract extension in late October.
“I think hes making the natural progression players make from year to year, especially in the first four to five years,” Crawford said. “Now the big improvement I see in his game is hes trying new things offensively. Some of the moves he makes one on one, we didnt see that before. He comes down with pressure on him last night, makes a great in-tight move and puts it upstairs. Thats as nice a goal as you’re going to see.”
Michael Cammalleri didn’t practice Monday and won’t play tomorrow, according to Crawford. It will be the fourth game he’s missed with bruised ribs. Cammalleri tried to skate before the Colorado game and it, again, did not go well. He’s frustrated that he’s not seeing improvement.
“It’s not going as good as I hoped, obviously, or I would have played this weekend,” Cammalleri said. “It’s definitely not ready.”
“Its just frustrating for him because he wants to be able to go out and skate and shoot and do the things he normally does, but he cant right now,” Crawford said. “Im sure it is improving, just not to the degree of quickness that hed like to have. Hes out tomorrow. Youll see him practice before you see him play.”
Who would have thought Jean-Sebastien Aubin and Scott Thornton would be the guys to get the Kings back in the win column? Aubin made 29 saves and Thornton scored the game-winner as the Kings scored three goals in the third period to beat Colorado 3-1. Derek Armstrong tied the game midway through the third period and Thornton gave the Kings the lead about a minute later. Kopitar added an empty netter, tying him with Dustin Brown for the team lead with 16 goals. And Raitis Ivanans got into his first fight since suffering the broken cheekbone Nov. 2. He battled Cody McLeod in the second period. The Kings ended their eight-game losing streak. Maybe that first time this month with consecutive days of practice was just what they needed.