Injured defenseman Robyn Regehr takes a step in possible return to the lineup

Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr, sidelined by a knee injury since Game 2 of the second-round series against the Ducks, participated in the team’s morning skate Friday at Staples Center. It was the first time since Teemu Selanne of the Ducks injured him in Game 1 that Regehr skated with his teammates. His return to the Kings’ lineup remains uncertain, however.

“It’s difficult when you’re injured because you’re on a different schedule and program than a lot of the normal guys, the playing guys, so you feel like you’re a little bit of a Hobbit sometimes,” Regehr said. “So, it’s nice to be back around the guys. It started with the travel to Chicago and things like that.”

Regehr has been cleared for contact.

“I did a few little battle drills down low, 2-on-1s and things like that. I need more of that, more contact before I’m ready to roll. It’s a lot better than doing them by yourself. You can chirp back. The only thing you could do before was look at your reflection in the glass and that was no fun.”

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Dustin Brown was no fan of the Rangers while growing up in upstate New York

Kings captain Dustin Brown has told the story before, and he related it again Friday. He grew up in Ithaca, N.Y., and just to be different, just to annoy family and friends, he didn’t root for the New York Rangers like everyone else in his upstate town. He was a fan of the Vancouver Canucks when the team faced off against the Rangers in the 1994 Stanley Cup Final. He also said he rooted for the Quebec Nordiques, which he said he couldn’t explain beyond admiring the play of Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic before the franchise relocated to Denver and began the Colorado Avalanche before the 1995-96 season.

“Everyone was a Rangers fan in upstate New York, so I tended not to like the Rangers just to be different,” Brown said, smiling. “I started liking Vancouver because they played them in ’94. I liked the Quebec Nordiques for some reason.”

The Rangers eliminated the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals Thursday, a game Brown said he didn’t watch on TV because he had other commitments. New York’s trip to the Stanley Cup Final will be its first since Brown rooted against them in the ’94 Final, when they defeated the Canucks for their first Stanley Cup championship since 1940.

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Kings-Blackhawks Game 5 overtime thriller is a TV ratings bonanza for NBCSN

The Kings double-overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals Wednesday was the most-watched West finals game on cable TV in five years, according to NBCSN. The game, won by the Blackhawks 5-4, averaged 2.175 million viewers nationally, up 79 percent over the last Game 5 on cable in 2012. Locally, the game delivered a 3.0 rating, not bad for the Southern California market, but still a long way from the 16.3 rating in Chicago.

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Injured Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr update, or non-update, as is the case

Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr joined his teammates late in their morning skate Wednesday at the United Center in Chicago. He’s appears closer to a return to the lineup after suffering an unspecified knee injury in Game 1 of the Kings’ second-round playoff series against the Ducks. Then again, maybe he’s not, if you listen to Kings coach Darryl Sutter. Here’s what Sutter said when asked for an update:

“I couldn’t answer that. I’m not a doctor.”

 

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Alec Martinez has an answer for hockey hecklers: don’t pay attention to ‘em

Hecklers are a part of sports, plain and simple. Athletes in all sports and at all levels get an earful whenever and wherever the games are contested. Hockey, despite the glass that separates the players from the spectators, is no exception and sometimes things boil over.

“Some buildings you hear it more than most just because of the way the tunnel is set up,” Kings defenseman Alec Martinez said Wednesday. “You don’t really listen to that stuff. The only time you hear it is when you’re leaving for the period or coming back out. I don’t even pay attention to that stuff.”

Some hecklers are better than others, according to Martinez.

“Depends on the guy. Sometimes you get the big drunk guy who’s slurring his words and you can’t understand him to begin with,” he said after the Kings’ morning skate at the United Center in Chicago. “I’m sure there’s a few funny ones here and there. As as pro athlete, it’s not the first time somebody told me I suck. It comes with the territory. If you’re going to do it, at least try to be original.”

Martinez didn’t know a Kings fan alleged Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford squirted him with a water bottle near the end of Game 4 on Monday at Staples Center until reporters informed him of it Wednesday. Martinez then smiled when told the fan filed a police report.

“Good luck with that,” Martinez joked, laughing along with a couple of reporters. “I guess it’s kind of like the disclaimer that they give (before games) that pucks can leave the ice surface. I guess water and other things can come back … It just comes with the territory.”

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Mike Richards breaks down all that makes Anze Kopitar such a standout player

Mike Richards had plenty to say when asked Tuesday how difficult it is to play the sort of exceptional two-way game fellow Kings forward Anze Kopitar has played during a season in which he was named a Selke Trophy finalist.

“To play like ‘Kopi’, there’s maybe two, three guys in the world that can,” Richards said. “I’d say it’s pretty hard. But it just seems like every time he’s on the ice, he calms everything down, whether it’s just a point in the game where it’s hectic out there, we’re running around. He steps on the ice, he seems to have that calming influence on everybody, just the way he plays.

“He’s a big, strong guy. He has skill. He’s really got it all. Then you put the emphasis that he does on playing on the defensive side on the puck, that really makes a special player. What he can do on the ice, take over games. …

“After a couple of games ago, where Johnny (Chicago captain Jonathan Toews) had his game, played really well, ‘Kopi’ was right there with him, too. He can elevate. It’s really fun to watch those two go at it against each other. To see the skill level that he has. …

“I think Darryl (Sutter, Kings coach,) has helped him a lot, putting a little more emphasis on that defensive side. If he played in the Eastern Conference on a team that didn’t stress defense as much as us, he could easily be a 100-point guy. He sacrifices that to be a two-way player and play on both sides of the puck.

“We see it every day, so we kind of get spoiled. But I think a couple years ago when we won the Cup, it was kind of his coming out party, and everybody now realizes how good he is.”

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Kings sign forward Valentin Zykov to a three-season entry-level contract

Big-time travel day for the Kings on Tuesday as the Western Conference finals returned to Chicago. There was one nugget of news, however. The Kings signed forward Valentin Zykov to a three-season entry-level contract. Zykov, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound native of St. Petersburg, Russia, was a second-round pick in last year’s draft who played last season with junior-level Baie-Comeau.

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Kings winning in the playoffs with an effective power play. No, no, really

By now you probably know that Jake Muzzin, Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown scored to give the Kings a 3-0 lead by the end of the first period as they roared to a 5-2 victory Monday over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. Muzzin and Brown scored on the power play.

What you might not know is that the Kings’ power play improved to 16 for 56 (28.6 percent) over the last 16 playoff games, dating to Game 3 of their first-round victory over the San Jose Sharks. The Kings’ power play clicked at a meager 15.1 percent during the regular season, 27th-best in the NHL.

“We’re trying to simplify it a little bit,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said of the rejuvenated power play. “We’re just trying to get pucks up to the D-men, trying to get shots that way. My mentality on the first one, just kind of get a shot off, a one-timer, no matter what it was. If it hits the guy, it hits the guy. Just want to get that in their heads, that we’re going to be shooting pucks. The more you shoot, the more other things open up. We took advantage of those things.”

 

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Injured defenseman Robyn Regehr taking cautious route back to Kings lineup

Robyn Regehr suffered an unspecified knee injury during Game 1 of the Kings’ second-round victory over the Ducks earlier this month, which was pretty difficult for the veteran defenseman to stomach. He sat out for the 10th consecutive game Monday, which was even worse. When and where he returns to the Kings’ lineup remains uncertain.

“I can’t put a time line on it because it just depends on if things keep going along well, then we can kind of gauge that,” he said. “But if all of a sudden there’s a day or two and I take a step backwards, then may change. so I really don’t know. I’ve been making steps forward this whole time so far. I’m really hoping to avoid any sort of regression.”

Watching his fill-ins, Jeff Schultz first and Matt Greene more recently, has tempered his disappointment. He has served as an enthusiastic cheerleader despite his frustration at sitting by idling while his teammates have played their best hockey of the season.

In fact, the Kings’ winning ways have afforded Regehr a chance to rehabilitate his knee and recover at a pace that ensures his full return to the lineup. A few more victories, and a trip to the Stanley Cup Final, could mean he rejoins the team before season’s end.

“I’ve got the pom poms out here and it seems to be working so far,” he said, smiling faintly. “The role change from being involved in the game and having the ability to go out there and contribute whether it’s penalty-killing or power play or defense or whatever it is, you feel a part of it.

“When you’re injured, you’re watching on TV and you’re not part of it at all. It’s tough. It’s really tough.”

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