About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.

A couple notes from the morning skate.

Jonathan Quick was the first goalie off the ice at the Kings’ morning skate at Toyota Sports Center. No surprise that he will start and Martin Jones will be the backup. That’s been the case in six of the Kings’ last seven games.

Speaking of backup goalies, there will be another mini-reunion at Staples Center tonight. Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi got plenty of ink yesterday (including here), and rightfully so after playing an integral role in the Kings’ Stanley Cup run in 2012.

Pens goaltender Jeff Zatkoff never appeared a game in a Kings uniform, but he has plenty of friends in the home dressing room. Zatkoff, who’s expected to back up Marc-Andre Fleury tonight, was at one time a teammate with Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan, Tyler Toffoli and Jones at AHL Manchester. The 26-year-old was a third-round draft pick out of Miami of Ohio in 2006 by the Kings. He was buried on the depth chart behind Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier. In hindsight, he might have had to wait until this year to play an NHL game in Los Angeles.

1 p.m. update: Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma told reporters that Zatkoff is starting tonight.
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One thing the Kings and Ducks can agree on.

Teemu Selanne got the royal treatment Saturday from the Kings.

Fresh off a three-assist performance the night before, the Ducks’ future Hall of Famer was draped by Drew Doughty every time he got near the puck. Selanne absorbed some hard hits and barely made an impact; maybe the Kings should have done the same to Nick Bonino. He only found the scoresheet by potting an empty-net goal late in the third period.

The Kings’ game plan for Selanne was a sign of deep respect, and there was plenty of that to go around Saturday.

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How the Kings, Ducks made history tonight.

Tonight equaled the highest scoring game (11 combined goals) between the Ducks and Kings in the 109-game series history. The two clubs have previously combined for 11 goals on two occasions (Nov. 8, 1996, Ducks 7-4 victory & 1/22/03, Ducks 6-5 victory). In addition, Anaheim’s seven goals tonight equals the club’s highest goal output against the Kings in club history (also Nov. 8, 1996).

 

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Some Kings dressing room quotes after loss to Ducks.

Justin Williams

On start of game:

“For whatever reason, we’ve been having a tough time starting games. We get behind early and have to battle back. Once we do battle back, we seem to just relax a little bit. We’re a much better team than we’re showing and it is extremely disappointing.”

On momentum swings:

“We came back multiple times and in turn we didn’t kill a penalty. They came back and scored power-play goals on us and that’s extremely deflating. It’s upsetting that we’re where we’re at right now but we have to push forward. We have a big road trip coming up and, as everyone is saying, every point is important.”

Darryl Sutter

“Everyone’s got to play on the right side of the puck in this league. If you play on the wrong side of the puck you’re going to lose.”

On switching goalies:

“No one changes goalies, but it was 2-0 five minutes into the game. You have to do something.”

Dustin Brown

On allowing seven goals

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Final: Ducks 7, Kings 4.

So this is what happens when the Kings get lured into a track meet…

If you can find two more opposite styles of play in the Western Conference than the Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks, good luck. It was clear Saturday that Anaheim has taken Bruce Boudreau’s preachings of uptempo hockey to heart. The result: seven goals — two against Jonathan Quick, four against Jonathan Bernier, and an empty-netter by Teemu Selanne — and a 7-4 victory for the Ducks.

It was the perfect antidote to the Kings’ 2-1 shootout loss at home against Nashville on Thursday — perfect in every regard except the win column.

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Doing the left wing shuffle.

The Kings held a relatively routine morning skate at Toyota Sports Center this morning. Here are the line rushes:

Dustin Brown – Anze Kopitar – Justin Williams
Simon Gagne – Trevor Lewis – Jarret Stoll
Jordan Nolan – Colin Fraser – Kyle Clifford
Dwight King – Brad Richardson – Dustin Penner

Brad Richards and Jeff Carter took the optional morning off. They’ll be in tonight, but who will skate at left wing on their line remains a question mark; more on that in a bit.

The D pairs were fluid — Rob Scuderi took the optional too — but you can expect the usual configuration against the Ducks tonight in Anaheim:

Rob Scuderi – Drew Doughty
Slava Voynov – Alec Martinez
Davis Drewiske – Jake Muzzin

Richardson and Andrew Bodnarchuk are the expected scratches.

Clifford is the team leader in points, as I pointed out in my game preview. Head coach Darryl Sutter wasn’t exactly effusive in his praise of the young winger, however.

“Our left side has a grand total of two goals this year in six games,” Sutter said. “He’s got one. Brown’s got one.”

Will Clifford slot in with Carter and Richards again? “We’ll see how the game goes,” Sutter said.

The coach also attempted to temper the high expectations for Dwight King, who made a memorable impact during the Kings’ run to the Cup, but has been all but invisible this season. The second-year left wing was demoted to the fourth line this week.

“He didn’t get here until January last year and he didn’t really do much until playoffs,” Sutter said of King. “We brought him up here because the team was struggling on left wing. We brought him up here and he played in the playoffs and he played well. He went back to the American League and leveled his game out and now he’s got to get his intensity back to the NHL level.”

If Dustin Penner stays in the lineup as expected — regardless of which line — expect King to be the odd man out. For now, it seems like less a comment on any individual than on Sutter’s dissatisfaction with the left wing position in general.

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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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