It’s Nolan versus Nolan for the first time as Kings face the Sabres

Kings forward Jordan Nolan grew up with the ultimate hockey dad. Ted Nolan served as coach of the Buffalo Sabres, the New York Islanders and the Sabres for a second stint that started last season. But before he reached the NHL, he was the youth coach on one of Jordan’s teams.

The Nolans faced off against each other for the first time as opponents in the NHL on Thursday night at Staples Center, when father Ted and the Sabres played against son Jordan and the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings.

“He’s an NHL coach and he’s also my dad, but he knows a lot about the game, so I’m always trying to impress him,” Jordan Nolan said. “I’m always looking for advice and whenever he’s in the building I push a little harder because I want to make him proud and show him what I got.

“I always seem to work harder when he’s in the building, so hopefully the night goes well.”

Jordan Nolan, 25, has filled checker’s role during his tenure with the Kings, and that’s been especially true this season. He went into Thursday’s game without a goal or an assist in five games, averaging only 9 minutes, 37 seconds of ice time.

He was surrounded by reporters at the Kings’ pregame workout, however, with teammates giving him a hard time about the sudden surge of attention. It’s not been often that he’s been asked to answer questions about himself or his play.

Jordan Nolan didn’t seem to mind, however. He understood this was a special occasion.

“We never thought this would happen,” he said of facing his father. “We always hoped to get another chance. But to do it (against the Sabres), it’s pretty special for him, and for our family to be back in that organization and for myself to be here. It’s pretty remarkable.”

Asked about playing for his dad as a youth, Jordan Nolan said, “I think he favored me a little bit. He played me a lot. It was always nice to play for him. He always got the best out of me and he always pushed me hard.”

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L.A. Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin given medical clearance to play again

Jake Muzzin was cleared Wednesday to play in Thursday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres at Staples Center, giving the Kings the full complement of six defensemen. Muzzin was sidelined by an upper-body injury suffered during the final week of training camp and sat out the team’s first six games.

“Excited for (tonight),” Muzzin said. “You’ve got to deal with it the proper way. It could have been a lot worse if we didn’t deal if we rushed it. We’ve got a lot of season left and I’m looking forward to it. … It didn’t affect my skating or anything like that. … It’s not 100 percent, but it’s good to go.”

 

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Injured Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin hopes to play Thursday against the Sabres

Jake Muzzin, left, signed a five-season contract extension with the Kings that will keep him in uniform through the 2019-20 season. (Fil photo by Michael Owen Baker/Los Angeles Daily News)

Jake Muzzin, left, signed a five-season contract extension with the Kings that will keep him in uniform through the 2019-20 season. (Fil photo by Michael Owen Baker/Los Angeles Daily News)

 

Jake Muzzin has been sidelined by an upper-body injury since before the start of the regular season Oct. 8. But the Kings’ defenseman said Tuesday he hoped to play for the first time this season Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres. Here’s more from Muzzin: “Feeling good. Getting close. Maybe Thursday. I’ve just got to go see the doctor. We’ll get cleared, which I’m pretty sure we will. Feel good, so …”

The Kings have only five healthy and eligible defensemen on the roster after Slava Voynov’s domestic violence suspension Monday by the NHL. Voynov is banned from all club activities, including practices and games.

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Kings center Andy Andreoff makes his mark in his NHL debut

Kings rookie forward Andy Andreoff hit the ice for his NHL debut and then his gloves and stick followed in short order as he tangled with Matt Hendricks of the Edmonton Oilers on his first shift Tuesday night at Staples Center.

“I tried to get the jitters out in the first-period fight,” said Andreoff, who played 12 minutes, 16 seconds in the Kings’ 6-1 victory over the overmatched Oilers. “I got a couple of hits there. I saw Hendricks there and I asked him to fight and I’m kind of happy that he dropped the gloves with me.”

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Kings center Andy Andreoff set to make his NHL debut vs. Oilers

Rookie center Andy Andreoff is expected to make his NHL debut Tuesday, with the Kings playing against the Edmonton Oilers at Staples Center without the services of injured veteran forwards Marian Gaborik and Trevor Lewis. Andreoff skated on a rugged-looking line with wingers Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan.

Said Andreoff: “Obviously, I’m going to be a little nervous for my first NHL game. It helps a lot with the guys on the team. Everyone’s really close. Everyone’s gone though it, so you’ve just got to get the jitters out in the first shift with a big hit or a simple play. I’m looking forward to it. I played with them in Vegas (in an exhibition game), so we have a little chemistry. They work hard in the corners. I’m looking forward to playing with them.”

Andreoff said several family members would attend the game.

“They’ve been here for a week now,” he said. “It’s definitely nice for them to be here for my first NHL game. They’ve always been supporting me my whole life. It’ll be nice to be celebrating my first game with them. My mom, sister and brother-in-law. You’ve been dreaming about this your life, playing in the driveway, a little road hockey with your buddies, so it’s great to be in such a great organization for your first NHL team. Just practicing with them in the playoffs and watching them and learning all the little things they do to win a Stanley Cup, so I’m happy to be part of this team this year.

“I’m sure my family and and friends will be watching me. They’ve supported my through my whole career. I’m really close with all of them. I’m sure I’ll be getting a bunch of messages after the game.”

Andreoff also said the Kings’ veteran players have been very supportive.

“They’ve all been through it, especially the older guys,” he said. “They’ve given me a heads-up and put me under their wing. That’s why, I guess, they’re such a good team, because they’re all really close.”

 

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L.A. Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin interview (part 3)

Here’s the final part of Monday’s interview with Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin:

Muzzin played with wingers Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli while they were with the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs, the Kings’ American Hockey League team. So, Muzzin isn’t surprised by all they have accomplished, particularly while skating on a dynamic line with center Jeff Carter.

“They’re sick,” Muzzin said of Pearson and Toffoli. “It’s exciting. You go through the minors with these guys and watch them grow, and it’s exciting to watch. Just take a seat and watch because it might be a show for a while.

“They have playoff experience. They’ve contributed and played a big role in that. That’s huge, I think, in individual growth on and off the ice. Mentally, knowing what to do. Physically, knowing the grind. They’ve been through it. They stepped right in and took off. It’ll be exciting to watch their growth.”

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L.A. Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin interview (part 2)

Here’s part two of Monday’s interview with Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin:

Muzzin suffered an undisclosed injury only days before the Kings opened the regular season with a 4-0 loss last Wednesday to the San Jose Sharks. Brayden McNabb took Muzzin’s place alongside Norris Trophy candidate Drew Doughty for the first three games of the season.

Muzzin couldn’t say with an degree of certainty when he might play again.

“I do not know,” he said. “Maybe later this week.”

The Kings’ six-game homestand continues tonight against the Edmonton Oilers at Staples Center. The Kings then play host to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday, the Minnesota Wild on Sunday and the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 23 and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 26.

Meanwhile, Muzzin will continue his workouts until he’s cleared to play.

“We’ll see,” he said. “The guys are playing great. Big win (Sunday over the Winnipeg Jets). We have to build from that. There was a good feeling in the dressing room. I’ve been working out during the games. Riding the bike. Just in the room, watching and yelling at the TV.”

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L.A. Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin interview (part 1)

The Kings held an optional practice Monday, one day after recording their first victory of the season. Only a handful of players, including goaltenders Jonathan Quick and Martin Jones, participated in the workout at the Kings’ practice facility in El Segundo.

Injured defenseman Jake Muzzin was on the ice and working up a sweat, going a little harder than perhaps he should have, and the team’s medical personnel would have wanted. Muzzin admitted as much later during a short conversation with reporters.

“I probably shouldn’t have done some of them today,” Muzzin said of joining several of his teammates for some fairly intense drills. “You want to play, so you do them. You’ve just got to wait until it heals, so it doesn’t create a bigger issue down the road.

“It’s frustrating, but it happens and you’ve got to deal with it the right way. If you don’t, like I said, it could be a while. Just deal with it now.”

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Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin updates his condition

Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin said Thursday he could be sidelined for games Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale, Ariz., and Sunday against the Winnipeg Jets at Staples Center. He skated with his teammates Thursday, but couldn’t play in Wednesday’s season-opening loss to the San Jose Sharks. He was injured earlier in the week, reportedly suffering an upper-body injury.

“Practice-wise, skating, lungs, everything feels fine,” Muzzin said. “It’s just kind of a fluky injury that I have to sit out for a couple of games.”

Brayden McNabb replaced Muzzin in the Kings’ lineup Wednesday.

“You prepare to play in the first game and all summer you get ready for that game and it’s an emotional game with the banner going up and all that stuff,” Muzzin said. “To be sidelined and have to watch, it’s frustrating, but it’s part of the game. Everyone gets hurt and you’ve got to miss a couple games.”

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Drew Doughty adopts a new role as a mentor for the Kings

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty spoke at some length Thursday about helping to ease Brayden McNabb’s burden during his debut with the team in Wednesday’s loss to the San Jose Sharks. Doughty and McNabb formed a defense pair with Doughty’s regular partner, Jake Muzzin, sidelined by an injury. Muzzin could be sidelined a while longer after suffering what he said was a “freak accident” earlier this week.

“He’s got all us veteran guys who are trying to help him as much as we can,” Doughty said. “(Assistant) John Stevens is a great coach. He teaches you a lot of little things you wouldn’t know coming up from the AHL or showing him whatever it might be. Brayden has a huge upside. I could see him continuing to get better as the season progresses. Like I said, I’m going to try to take him under my wing and do everything I can help him and get him into the lineup permanently. I like being in that spot. I’ve got to make a move. I’m not the kid anymore. I’ve got to do some things differently.”

For the record, Doughty is 24 and McNabb is 23.

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