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.”
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.”
Christopher Gibson speaks English, Finnish and French, but has a Latin phrase etched into the back of his goalie mask: “Luctor et Emergo.” Literally, this means “I struggle and emerge.”
The Kings’ first selection in the 2011 Entry Draft, Gibson certainly struggled in his first game in a Kings uniform. Gibson allowed five goals in the third period as the Kings blew a 6-3 lead, losing 8-7 to the Phoenix Coyotes at Toyota Sports Center. The two teams will play again at 2 p.m. today at TSC, completing the two-game exhibition series between the teams.
Gibson wasn’t the only prospect who slipped on a Kings uniform for the first time Wednesday. That was a factor in 60 minutes of up-and-down hockey.
“There were a lot of nervous guys in that dressing room,” said forward Brandon Kozun, who scored two goals and added an assist on the eve of his third training camp with the Kings.