The Kings trimmed their training camp roster to 34 on Saturday.
Loaned to Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League:
Center Andy Andreoff, goalie J.F. Berube, center Robert Czarnik, defenseman Nicolas Deslauries, goalie Martin Jones, left wing Maxim Kitsyn, defenseman Colin Miller, right wing Brian O’Neill, defenseman Alex Roach, center Jordan Weal.
Assigned to Manchester’s training camp:
Defenseman Vincent LoVerde, right wing Cameron Maclise, goalie Mathias Niederberger, right wing Scott Sabourin.
Re-assigned to junior team:
Right wing Valentin Zykov (to Baie-Comeau of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League).
Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell smiled faintly when asked Thursday if he was getting impatient while awaiting his first game since the 2011-12 season after suffering a knee injury that knocked him out for all of the lockout-shortened 2012-13:
“It’s just, I guess, more rewarding. That part of it is fun, of working to give myself this opportunity, and working to this point to, hopefully, help the team out again. I know I can do that as long as I stay healthy. I guess the anticipation of that is there. But the game itself is just taking it as what I’ve done for however many years I’ve played, is that it’s just another game, just another preseason game, and the same preparation, the same work, the same all that. Just because I haven’t played in 14 months, I don’t think it’s like all of a sudden it’s like you don’t know how to think anymore. I think my strength as a player is reading and reacting and thinking the game well, and that’s what I’m going to go out and do, is try and work on my reads, work on the positioning, my timing and all that, and holding that down and keep improving that every day so I can bring what I think I can bring to the table and be a good teammate so we can get going.”
Linden Vey skated with the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs of the American Hockey League last season and created magic with Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli. Or, he did until Toffoli earned a promotion to the Kings near the end of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. Now the they are together again, with Vey centering the wingers at times during the Kings’ training camp. Vey had 22 goals and 45 assists last season with Manchester. He’d like to duplicate that success this season with the Kings, but he’s also realistic. The Kings are deep at the center position and Vey is waiting for a chance to shine in the NHL. He hopes it happens with Pearson and Toffoli skating with him. “When you play with guys for as long as we have and had the season we had … it makes things easier,” Vey said. “We bring different things to the line and we feed off each other.”
You never know with Kings coach Darryl Sutter, who might change his mind at the last minute, but the lineup for Friday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver could look a little something like this:
Goaltenders: Martin Jones, Ben Scrivens, J.F. Berube.
Forwards: Andy Andreoff, Marc-Andre Cliche, Kyle Clifford, Colin Fraser, Dwight King, Brandon Kozun, Jordan Nolan, Tanner Pearson, Nick Shore, Tyler Toffoli, Linden Vey, Justin Williams.
Defenseman: Andrew Bodnarchuk, Keaton Ellerby, Alec Martinez, Colin Miller, Willie Mitchell, Jake Muzzin, Jeff Schultz, Slava Voynov.
Defenseman Willie Mitchell skated with his teammates Thursday morning and packed his bags for a trip to Denver later in the afternoon. He said he’s in the Kings’ lineup for Friday’s exhibition game against the Colorado Avalanche. He’ll pull on a Kings sweater for the first time since the decisive Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2012. He sat out the Kings’ first three exhibitions after missing all of last season because of a knee injury.
“I’m playing for sure, so I’m looking forward to it,” the 36-year-old defenseman said. “I’m not looking forward to the thin air (of Denver), but after the road I traveled, I’d take that any day of the week. I’m excited, really excited to go. Just excited to get into game action.”
Mitchell didn’t know who his defense partner might be.
Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell couldn’t say Wednesday whether he would play in Friday’s exhibition against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. He couldn’t say exactly when he might pull on a Kings sweater. What he could say was that he’s suffered no setbacks so far in training camp, with his surgically-altered knee feeling sound. Mitchell also said it’s up to Kings coach Darryl Sutter to decide when the veteran defenseman will play his first game since the Stanley Cup Final in June 2012.
“Darryl has his plan and has kind of been sticking with that,” said Mitchell, who sat out all of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season after undergoing knee surgery last December. “I’m waiting to hear from him. It’s been good, though. As much as you want to get in there right away and want to get back in (the lineup) … you’ve just got to get back into a game and get your timing and your feel and all that back. …I’m feeling really good. I’m feeling great on the ice right now. Anxious. I don’t know. I’m guessing something will happen fairly soon. I’m looking forward to it. … It’s his decision. He’s the boss.”
Here’s what Kings coach Darryl Sutter said when asked if Matt Frattin can click with Jeff Carter and Mike Richards: “If he wants to play with them guys he has to be a real north-south energy guy. I didn’t get to see him live in the first game (Sunday’s loss to the Phoenix Coyotes). Quite honest, this is the first time I’ve seen him live. Give him some power-play time, give him some penalty-killing time. Make him work.”
Here’s the second part of an interview with new Kings forward Matt Frattin, who was acquired during the offseason in the multi-player deal that sent backup goalie Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Of playing with veterans Jeff Carter and Mike Richards for two exhibition games so far, Frattin said of his new linemates:
“They’re guys who have played in the Olympics for Team Canada plenty of times. They’ve definitely proved themselves. They definitely are bringing me along. They’re great linemates for me. First game was a tough one, I guess. (Tuesday), was definitely different. Got back to work Monday. I’ve been here over a month now. Every since I got traded, I’ve gotten a warm welcome from the leaders in the room. That’s awesome to be a part of. They’re a great team, a great group of guys. I kind of wanted to get here, find a place (to live) and meet the guys as they came in instead of 25 guys all at once. That’s why I can down here about three weeks ahead of time.”
Matt Frattin has settled comfortably into his new home in Hermosa Beach. It’s about a block from the beach and a world away from his previous place of residence in Toronto. Frattin has been in Southern California for about a month now. The question is, can the former Maple Leaf find a comfort zone on a potentially productive line with Jeff Carter and Mike Richards? He talked about playing with the Kings’ veteran forwards in two exhibitions.
“They’re two great players,” Frattin said of Carter and Richards. “Carts has the speed down the wing and he’s got that long reach and has a great shot. Richie’s just smart and hard working. He’ll get the puck if you’re wheeling. It’s only two games. Tough first game and then a good second game. It’s early. We have to keep working at it and build that chemistry. I ask questions and they tell me what they’re thinking. It’s pretty good communications between all three of us.”
Darryl Sutter made it clear he didn’t like Kyle Clifford’s approach to a second-period penalty shot during the Kings’ 6-0 victory Tuesday over the Ducks at the Honda Center. Clifford was hooked on a breakaway by Ducks defenseman Sami Vantanen, drawing a penalty shot less than two minutes into the middle period of what was then a tight game.
Clifford skated in on goaltender Viktor Fasth and shot quickly from a good distance away from the net. Fasth gloved the puck easily and the score remained 1-0 in favor the Kings. Later, the Kings’ coach expressed his displeasure with Clifford’s attempt.
“He shouldn’t shoot high glove,” Sutter said. “Might be the difference between making the playoffs and not making the playoffs. One play.”