The Kings routed the Ducks 6-0 in an exhibition game Tuesday at the Honda Center, taking advantage of a lackluster showing by the hosts. Jeff Carter scored two goals and Matt Frattin, Scott Sabourin, Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar also scored. Jonathan Quick played the first two periods in goal and stopped all 12 shots he faced. Here are three takeaways from the Kings’ first victory of the exhibition season:
1. Frattin could skate with Carter and Mike Richards this season, but he’s going to have to earn the privilege. He’s going to have to play with energy and provide a bit of defensive responsibility. Frattin, a left wing, took a tentative step in the Kings’ split-squad loss Sunday to the Phoenix Coyotes. He then took a giant leap during Tuesday’s rout of the Ducks, scoring the Kings’ first goal and playing an energetic game alongside his more heralded linemates. In addition to his goal, he also had two assists and was a plus-three in 16 minutes, 5 seconds of ice time. It’s a good start for Frattin, who was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Jonathan Bernier deal during the offseason.
2. It’s difficult in exhibition games to judge strengths and weaknesses, and that certainly was the case with the Kings icing a fairly competitive lineup and the Ducks primarily going with inexperienced youngsters. Kings coach Darryl Sutter said he couldn’t judge the game in total, but tried to break it up by watching individuals. He said he liked the play of goaltenders Quick and Mathieu Garon. Quick faced only a handful of shots in 40 minutes. Garon faced a bit more pressure and responded by making 11 saves in the game’s final period. It was a positive development for Garon, who is in training camp on a tryout basis and who gave up five goals in Sunday’s loss to the Coyotes.
3. Carter scored two goals and added an assist on Doughty’s goal. It was vintage Carter, a reminder why he can be so dangerous for a team that sometimes (OK, frequently) struggles to score goals. Carter seemingly touched the puck only a handful of times during the game, but managed to do something productive on each occasion. He swatted home a fat rebound for one third-period goal and then whistled a shot into the back of the net for another, helping to turn the game into a runaway. He has the speed and the hands to turn an innocent play into a legitimate goal-scoring chance. He certainly can make goaltenders look bad, and he showed Tuesday how valuable he can be for the Kings.
The Kings didn’t give Jonathan Quick much to do during their exhibition game against the Ducks on Tuesday night at the Honda Center. Quick faced only 12 shots in 40 minutes and then took a seat on the bench to watch the rest of the Kings’ 6-0 victory.
Mathieu Garon replaced Quick for the third period.
Scott Sabourin made an impression during his first exhibition with the Kings on Sunday, drawing a fighting major and an interference with the goaltender penalty. His was one of the few fiery performances in an otherwise drab showing. The 21-year-old right wing made it clear after the game that he likes to play a physical style. Anything else and he should be banished to the bench. “If I don’t get a hit in early, I feel like I sleep through the game,” said Sabourin, who is 6-foot-3 and 203 pounds. “I know I have to protect the guys out there.” Toughness is a skill the Kings value, and no one likes to see a good check like coach Darryl Sutter. Sabourin doesn’t figure to make the cut with the Kings, but he’s worth keeping an eye on when he joins Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League.
The NHL said Monday afternoon it wouldn’t suspend Kings forward Jordan Nolan for his hit on Rusty Klesla of the Phoenix Coyotes in the first period of Sunday’s exhibition game at Glendale, Ariz. The league’s department of player safety reviewed the play and announced it “has determined that no supplemental discipline is appropriate.”
Meanwhile, the league did impose a 10-game regular-season ban to the Coyotes’ Paul Bissonnette for leaving the bench to join an altercation during Sunday’s game. Bissonnette drew a game misconduct for his infraction, which happened at 12:09 of the first period. Bissonnette will forfeit $37,820.51. He’s eligible to return to the lineup for an Oct. 24 game against the Kings at Staples Center.
Late-breaking news from Bob McKenzie of TSN: Kings forward Jordan Nolan will not face an NHL suspension for his hit that knocked Rusty Klesla out of Sunday night’s exhibition game in Glendale, Ariz. Klesla was taken from the ice on a stretcher and later taken to a nearby hospital for tests. He was diagnosed with a concussion and a case of whiplash, according to a reporter for the Arizona Republic newspaper.
Here’s the final part of a three-part interview with Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell:
“Timing this time of year always sucks. That’s not to say that in a bad way. Ask any of the veteran players who’ve been around, at this time of year, it’s really tough. What our team is really good at is playing good positional hockey. There’s a trust factor we have. It’s nothing against the young guys. I was a kid who was 19 years old and didn’t know my positions really well, and running around. So, now when you have reads and you read what’s the proper read all of a sudden becomes a different read because someone who was supposed to be there didn’t go there.
“So, you talk to veterans players and they say this is a frustrating time of year because a lot of things breakdown like that. It’s a combination of that and guys getting out of summer habits, which we all have. So, it’s not exactly the smoothest hockey out there, but it is what it is and everyone just keeps building on it. … I’m just worried about myself right now. It’s been 14 months, I’m just trying to find my timing and just enjoying it, too. I’m enjoying being out there and doing everything. You never know. As you get older in this game, you never know when it can end. When you’re young, you think you’re looking invincible and you’re going to play forever and nothing really catches up. When you get older you realize how lucky of a gig it is. Sometimes that’s life in general. Something gets taken away from you and it makes you appreciate it more. Just enjoying it and just going to keep working hard.”
The Kings trimmed their training camp roster to 49 from 57 on Monday, returning eight players to their junior-level teams. They are: RW Justin Auger (to Guelph of the Ontario Hockey League), C Mathew Campagna (Sudbury of the OHL), G Patrik Bartosak (Red Deer of the Western Hockey League), D Nick Ebert (Windsor of the OHL), LW Dominik Kubalik (Sudbury of the OHL), D Zachary Leslie (Guelph of the OHL), D Kurtis MacDermid (Owen Sound of the OHL) and D Marcus McIvor (Brampton of the OHL).
Veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell had much more to say about sitting out for all of last season after undergoing surgery. He also talked about his battle to return to form and how he was feeling going into the Kings’ first exhibition games. Here’s more:
Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell sat out all of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season after undergoing knee surgery and suffering a series of setbacks. He says he’s sound now and ready to resume his career. He acknowledged that a lengthy layoff has him feeling grateful for another chance to play hockey. His last game was his and the Kings’ greatest triumph, their victory over the New Jersey Devils in the decisive Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in June 2012. Returning to the ice for an exhibition game this week could feel almost as good. Here’s more from Mitchell, who spoke with several reporters Saturday:
The Kings lost both split-squad games Sunday night to the Phoenix Coyotes. The Staples Center squad fell 5-1 and the Glendale, Ariz., lineup lost 4-2. Here are three things to take away from the Kings’ first exhibitions of 2013-14: