The Kings’ roster stood at 31 names as of Wednesday afternoon, and there aren’t likely to be any surprises when they take the ice for their season-opening game Oct. 3 against the Minnesota Wild at St. Paul, Minn. In fact, the Kings’ lineup for Tuesday’s 2-1 exhibition victory over the visiting Ducks was about what you might expect to see next week.
Kings left wing Dustin Brown skated with his teammates during Wednesday’s practice, his first full-speed workout with them since he hurt his hamstring on the opening day of training camp Sept. 12. Brown won’t play in Friday’s exhibition against the New York Rangers in Las Vegas, according to Kings coach Darryl Sutter. It’s unclear whether he will play in Saturday’s exhibition finale against the Colorado Avalanche in Las Vegas.
Kings center Anze Kopitar ditched the knee brace he wore last season and he said Tuesday it really doesn’t feel any different than during 2012-13. He said he simply got used to wearing the cumbersome device and now that it’s not needed, he’s grown accustomed to not wearing it. Still, it must be a relief not to have that added bulk on his knee, right?
“It’s all in the head,” the Kings’ top center said after scoring what proved to be the winning goal in the Kings’ 2-1 exhibition victory Tuesday over the visiting Ducks. “When I got used to the brace last year, it wasn’t a problem. Once you’re skating, you’re not thinking about the brace. You’re just trying to skate as fast as you can and get the puck.”
Delayed postgame reaction due to technical difficulties …
The Kings played one of those grind-it-out games against a team with more speed and skill and still managed to pull out a 2-1 victory over the visiting Ducks on Tuesday. The Kings have won more of their share of these kinds of games because they seem to play more than their share of them. The Kings also showed off a little skill of their own on their two goals, especially on a flawless give-and-go from Anze Kopitar to Dwight King and back to Kopitar for the go-ahead marker early in the third period.
Here’s last night’s quick recap … delayed by technical difficulties:
The Kings weathered an opening onslaught, thanks to the superb play of goaltender Jonathan Quick, and then wrestled a 2-1 victory from the Ducks on Tuesday night at Staples Center. Anze Kopitar broke a 1-all tie with a goal 3 minutes, 41 seconds into the third period.
Jonathan Bernier was Jonathan Quick’s backup the last few seasons before the Kings traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs during the offseason. Miller and Quick have played together internationally for the United States over the years. Quick said he spoke to Bernier after Bernier fought with Miller during a brawl between the Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday, but hadn’t been in contact with Miller as of early Monday afternoon
Jonathan Quick of the Kings is friends with fellow goalies Jonathan Bernier of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres, so he didn’t have a rooting interest when the two fought during Sunday’s exhibition at the Air Canada Centre. Quick did offer a couple of no-holds-barred comments Monday about fights between goalies.
Defenseman Willie Mitchell is expected to make his first appearance in a Kings uniform at Staples Center since the decisive Game 6 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final when he joins the lineup for Tuesday’s exhibition against the Ducks. Mitchell sat out all of last season because of a knee injury, but he has recovered well enough to be back on the ice during training camp. He made his 2013 exhibition debut by logging 23 minutes, 16 seconds in the Kings’ overtime loss last Friday to the Colorado Avalanche. Only defenseman Slava Voynov played more minutes among the Kings than Mitchell. Voynov played 28:02.
“Makes sense to play him tomorrow and go from there,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said.
Kings team captain Dustin Brown skated Monday for the first time since suffering an injured hamstring on the first day of training camp Sept. 12. He skated onto the ice with assistant coach Davis Payne and went through a series of drills after his teammates completed their workout. It’s unclear whether he’ll be sound enough or fit enough to play in the Kings’ season opener Oct. 3 against the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul, Minn.
The Kings trimmed their training camp roster by two Sunday, and lost a third player to waivers. They loaned defenseman Andrew Campbell and right wing Brandon Kozun to the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs of the American Hockey League. They also lost forward Marc-Andre Clche to the Colorado Avalanche, who claimed him off waivers. The roster stands at 31. It wasn’t immediately clear where Cliche might fit with the Avalanche. He must clear waivers if the Avs try to send him to the Lake Erie (Cleveland) Monsters of the AHL, according to the Denver Post. So, there’s that.