Coyotes 2, Kings 1, SO; Kings 3, Coyotes 2.

The Kings and Coyotes played six times last season. Three of the games were decided by one goal; two were decided by two goals; and the other time the Kings decided not to play defense and lost 6-3.

True to their nature –even in the preseason, with rosters full of players who will spend this season in the AHL, ECHL or Canadian junior leagues –the Kings and Coyotes played a pair of one-goal games Thursday. The Coyotes squad that hosted the Kings in Glendale, Arizona, lost 3-2. The Coyotes squad that played in Anaheim a day earlier visited Staples Center and pulled out a 2-1 shootout win.

In Glendale [game summary | event summary], Dustin Penner scored with 49 seconds left in regulation to break a 2-2 tie. Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist, Trevor Lewis had three assists, and Ethan Moreau scored in the first period –chronologically, the Kings’ first goal of the preseason.

Jonathan Bernier started and saved 18 of 19 shots in two periods. Jeff Zatkoff got the third period and stopped 8 of 9.

At Staples Center, the vantage point of the press box offered a few more insights:
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A look back on Brett Hextall’s two-goal game.

Brett Hextall scored two goals at Toyota Sports Center on Wednesday. The only thing weird about it was the uniform he was wearing — the sandstone-red-and-white of the Phoenix Coyotes.

“A couple days before I left to come to Phoenix, I was working out at the (TSC) gym,” Hextall said. “I thought, it’s weird that I’ll be back to play on the other side and I’ll be the enemy.”

As the son of the Kings’ assistant general manager Ron Hextall, the 23-year-old forward is privy to some perks. Summer access to an NHL gym is a big one. So are the genes of three generations of hockey history–great-grandfather Bryan had a Hall of Fame career; grandfather Bryan Jr. carved out a 10-year career in the NHL; great-uncle Dennis was once a winger for the Kings; while Ron was among the best goalies of his generation.

Brett Hextall’s own lineage is interesting.
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Report: Most game-day social media dispatches banned.

According to ESPN.com, the NHL has enacted a social media policy that will prohibit most posts by players, coaches, trainers and management on game days.

Beginning at 11 a.m. on the day of a game, and ending after post-game media obligations, the aforementioned NHL employees won’t be allowed to post on social media websites. Nor can they use another person to post messages to their social media accounts.

Several Kings players have popular Twitter accounts, including Dustin Brown, Mike Richards, Kevin Westgarth and Jonathan Quick.

The NHL is relatively late in restricting social media use by its personnel. Two years ago, the NFL instituted a policy similar in scope — blacking out social media statements less than 90 minutes before kickoff up until post-game media obligations commence. The NBA’s initial policy, also enacted in 2009, was almost identical.

Enacted in May, Major League Baseball’s policy (which you can download here) seems more focused on restricting the content of social media dispatches, rather than their time of day.

Incidentally, former King George Parros endorsed a social-media-use restriction on his own earlier today.

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Kings rookies squander 6-3 lead, lose to Coyotes 8-7.

Christopher Gibson speaks English, Finnish and French, but has a Latin phrase etched into the back of his goalie mask: “Luctor et Emergo.” Literally, this means “I struggle and emerge.”

The Kings’ first selection in the 2011 Entry Draft, Gibson certainly struggled in his first game in a Kings uniform. Gibson allowed five goals in the third period as the Kings blew a 6-3 lead, losing 8-7 to the Phoenix Coyotes at Toyota Sports Center. The two teams will play again at 2 p.m. today at TSC, completing the two-game exhibition series between the teams.

Gibson wasn’t the only prospect who slipped on a Kings uniform for the first time Wednesday. That was a factor in 60 minutes of up-and-down hockey.

“There were a lot of nervous guys in that dressing room,” said forward Brandon Kozun, who scored two goals and added an assist on the eve of his third training camp with the Kings.
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Kings divulge details on training camp.

After players officially report Friday, the Kings’ training camp will begin with the first on-ice team practice at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Toyota Sports Center.

Practice sessions will be open to the public and held on both the NHL and Olympic rinks. The Kings are not planning to use the new third sheet of ice (formerly an inline rink) at Toyota Sports Center during Training Camp.

Sixty-three players (after the jump) are scheduled to participate in this year’s Training Camp. Players will be divided into three groups at the start of Camp with the first on-ice team practice set to begin at 8:30 a.m. on September 17.

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Trent Hunter to sign pro tryout contract.

Veteran forward Trent Hunter will join the Kings in training camp on a pro tryout contract. The 31-year-old forward has spent his entire NHL career with the New York Islanders, for whom he played only 17 games last season before tearing the medial collateral ligament in his left knee Nov. 24.

Hunter can provide a physical presence from the right wing at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, but also brings some scoring touch. He had never scored fewer than 11 goals in an NHL season before 2010-11, when Hunter scored just one. In 459 career NHL games, he has 99 goals, 229 points and 201 penalty minutes.

The Kings already signed a similar player, albeit with less offensive upside, in Ethan Moreau. Forward Colin Fraser is also in the mix for a bottom-six role along with Kyle Clifford, Brad Richardson, Trevor Lewis, Scott Parse and Kevin Westgarth. Jarret Stoll seems to have the third-line center position locked down, so that means Hunter will likely have to beat out one contracted player for a roster spot.

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A lot of talk about hockey deaths, and a little action.

Sunday’s Hockey Fest at Staples Center was announced as a sellout – 3,000 tickets sold. If all those Kings fans continue to show up at the turnstiles, it can be considered a success for the team’s marketing department.

In any other year that might be enough, but this time the event seemed to serve a greater purpose: It brought the focus back to hockey.

Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, Wade Belak and the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team — including former King Pavol Demitra –all left Earth far too soon, their abrupt and unfortunate deaths overshadowing the usual summer headlines about trades and free agents and the like.

“It was shocking,” Kings forward Kyle Clifford said. “It’s always tough to see someone go. The hockey community is one big family. You know guys who know them, or you know them, and it’s difficult. You have to pay your respects and move forward.”

But how?
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Rookie camp invitations announced.

Twenty-five players have been invited to the Kings’ annual rookie camp at Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo. The camp begins Saturday and includes four straight days of practices, free and open to the public, before concluding with back-to-back exhibition games against the Phoenix Coyotes next Wednesday and Thursday.

Players’ names and ice times after the jump:
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Pavol Demitra among 43 dead in plane crash.

It will be remembered as one of the biggest tragedies in sports history, and it couldn’t have come during a more tragic summer in the hockey world.

An airplane carrying members of the KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl crashed near Minsk, Belarus today, killing 43. Former Kings forward Pavol Demitra and prospect Jan Marek were reported among the deceased, along with former NHLers Ruslan Salei, Karlis Skrastins and Brad McCrimmon.

The Kings released the following statement earlier today:

The Los Angeles Kings organization is deeply saddened with the tragic news of this morning’s plane crash in Russia that was carrying the members of the KHL’s Lokomotiv organization, including former Kings forward Pavol Demitra, former Kings prospect Jan Marek and many other members of the NHL Family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the family and friends of those affected by this terrible occurrence.

Demitra, 36, signed a three-year contract with the Kings coming out of the NHL lockout. In his only season in L.A., 2005-06, he scored 25 goals while being limited to 58 games due to various injuries. Following the season, Demitra was traded to the Minnesota Wild in the deal that brought Patrick O’Sullivan to the Kings.

Marek never played a game in North America after being drafted by the New York Rangers in the 2003 Entry Draft. The Kings obtained his rights in the 2007 trade that sent Sean Avery to the Rangers.

The NHL was already left reeling in the wake of the suicide deaths of Wade Belak and Rick Rypien, and the death of Derek Boogaard from a lethal mix of alcohol and painkillers — all in the last four months. Many players took to Twitter to express their disbelief. Said former Kings defenseman Denis Gauthier, echoing most sentiments:

What is going on? Can’t believe what is happening. Numb. Prayers go out to all that are affected by plane crash in Russia.

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