LA Kings winger Tanner Pearson suspended four games for illegal check (with video)

The Kings won’t be at full strength when the regular season begins next Wednesday in San Jose. They learned Wednesday they’ll be without winger Tanner Pearson, who was suspended by the NHL for the rest of the exhibition season plus two regular-season games for an illegal check Sunday.

Pearson also was fined $15,555.56.

Here’s a link to the NHL’s video explanation: https://www.nhl.com/video/pearson-suspended-for-hit-to-head/t-277350912/c-45092103

The Kings also will be without injured winger Marian Gaborik, who suffered a broken right foot during the World Cup on Sept. 25 in Toronto that will sideline him for two months. Gaborik is scheduled to be re-examined by a team doctor the week of Oct. 16, according to coach Darryl Sutter.

Sutter hoped to determined who might best replace Gaborik during exhibition games in Las Vegas on Friday against the Dallas Stars and Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche. Now, Sutter has two vacancies to fill for the regular-season’s first two games.

Pearson was banned Wednesday for an illegal hit to the head of the Edmonton Oilers’ Brandon Davidson during the the Kings’ exhibition loss Sunday. Pearson was ejected from the game and now will serve the first suspension of his 146-game NHL career.

“I didn’t mean to have contact with the head, but that’s the way the game is now, and it’s one of those things that happened and it’s over with and now I’ve got to pay the consequences,” said Pearson, who is eligible to return to the lineup for an Oct. 18 game against the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul, Minn.

“I’m just going to deal with it.”

Pearson said he was trying to hit Davidson, an Oilers defenseman, in the shoulder on a play at center ice. Pearson drove his shoulder into Davidson’s head instead, injuring him and drawing a match penalty and a game misconduct at the 11-minute mark of the second period.

“I don’t want to do it again,” said Pearson, who was the Kings’ seventh-leading scorer last season with 36 points, including 15 goals, in 79 games. “I don’t like missing hockey games. It’s unfortunate what happened and I’ve got to sit out now.”

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Kings training camp battle for ice time at center could include prospect Adrian Kempe

Going into Wednesday’s exhibition against the Ducks, it would appear three and possibly four players could be battling for ice time as the Kings’ third- and fourth-line centers. Andy Andreoff, Trevor Lewis and Nick Shore filled those roles last season, but now a fourth name has emerged as a candidate.

Adrian Kempe, a 20-year-old first-round draft pick in 2014, got a chance to play between Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli during the Kings’ 4-3 split-squad exhibition victory Monday over the Arizona Coyotes at Staples Center.. Kempe didn’t have a goal or an assist, but Pearson and Toffoli had one of each.

Although he’s listed as a left wing (or right wing, depending on the website you search for information), Kempe played center quite a bit last season with the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey because of injuries to other players. So, it wasn’t a stretch to see him playing Monday between Pearson and Toffoli. Kempe was credited with two shots on goal, one hit and nine victories in 18 faceoffs in 16:26.

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Split-squad scores: Kings 4-3, Coyotes 3-5

The Kings and Arizona Coyotes split a pair of games Monday, their exhibition openers. The Kings defeated the Coyotes 4-3 at Staples Center and the Coyotes beat the Kings 5-3 at Glendale, Ariz.

Lucas Lessio, Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson (power play) and Brett Sutter scored for the Kings in L.A., and Jeff Zatkoff made 18 saves in two periods. Teddy Purcell (power play), Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford (power play) scored for the Kings in Arizona, and Peter Budaj made 10 saves in 40 minutes.

The Kings continue exhibition play Wednesday against the Ducks at Staples.

 

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L.A. Kings sign Tanner Pearson to two-year contract extension (with reaction from Pearson)

Tanner Pearson smiled broadly as reporters surrounded him after he stayed on the ice for an extended period with several teammates after the Kings’ regulars completed their Thursday morning skate in El Segundo. He had plenty of reasons to be happy despite lacking medical clearance to play.

Pearson signed a two-season contract extension worth $2.8 million.

“It’s exciting news,” he said. “I was happy to get a deal done. To stay here is awesome, too.”

Pearson sat out Thursday night for the 35th consecutive game after suffering a broken leg. There is no timetable for his return to the ice, except as a practice player, and it’s expected that he won’t be cleared to play in a game by the end of the regular season April 11.

“Honestly, I don’t know,” he said of his possible return. “It’s still up in the air. I’m just taking it day-by-day. I’m hoping to return as soon as possible. I still have a bit more healing to do. I don’t want to close it (returning by April 11). There’s always a chance of seeing another X-ray and you’re good to go.”

Pearson had 12 goals and 16 points in 42 games before he was hurt Jan. 10 against the Winnipeg Jets. He played a major role in the Kings’ early-season success, joining with center Jeff Carter and fellow winger Tyler Toffoli to form That 70s Line. Wednesday, he was happy they would be reunited for two more seasons.

“I want to be here as long as possible,” he said of signing his new deal. “I love L.A. I love the team, the fans and everything about it. It’s one of the best places to play in my opinion. So, to be here for at least another two years is special.”

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Pregame reading: L.A. Kings Tanner Pearson talks about his broken ankle

Tanner Pearson talked at some length Saturday about his broken left ankle, bunking at Anze Kopitar’s house for a while, touring the White House on crutches and trying to get back into the lineup in time to help the Kings as soon as possible.

“He approached me before and asked me if I wanted to stay and I was kind of too stubborn at the time to say, yes, and then my parents gave it to me pretty good about not being able to stand on my own,” Pearson said of accepting Kopitar’s invitation to stay while he was hobbling on crutches. “At the last minute, I decided to go to his house. I stayed four or five days.”

Pearson said he ditched the crutches two days ago.

“Making progress, taking it day by day,” he said.

Pearson has been walking and riding a stationary bike.

“Just walking, you get moving again,” he said. “It takes time. It’s nice because you can see the improvements. That’s a good thing. Things are looking positive. Honestly, I have no idea (of a timetable). It’s tough to say. It’s a whole different thing when you put your foot in a skate. It takes time. Right at the start, it doesn’t feel 100 percent in the skate, so you have to get used to that, too.”

Pearson said he wouldn’t have missed the White House trip for anything.

“I probably wouldn’t have (traveled), but with the White House … ” he said, smiling broadly at the memory. “It was nice to be with the guys rather than sitting at home doing nothing, watching TV. I was moving around the while trip. It was kind of a pain lugging bags around and being on crutches.”

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Meet That 70s Line 2.0, the line that’s been carrying the L.A. Kings

Tomorrow’s notebook lead today …

The good news for the Kings is a line centered by Jeff Carter is carrying the team again, leading it to three consecutive victories. The bad news is a line centered by Carter is carrying the team again, leading it to three consecutive victories.

Carter and wingers Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli ignited a 6-1-1 start to the season for the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings. Now, with Pearson sidelined by a broken leg, Dwight King has joined Carter and Toffoli, and if the Kings are a one-line team again, then so be it.

Meet That 70s Line 2.0.

Toffoli recorded his first NHL hat trick and added an assist in the Kings’ 5-3 victory Thursday over the Calgary Flames. Carter had three assists and King had one goal and one assist in the pivotal third period, when the Kings broke open a close game.

Thursday’s game had the look and feel of a Kings contest from October, when That 70s Line ran wild. It was a short-lived hot streak for the three players with uniform numbers in the 70s, and the Kings came crashing to earth and, ultimately, out of a playoff position.

When coach Darryl Sutter shifted King onto the line with Carter and Toffoli, things began to click offensively again. Maybe it’s the uniform numbers. After all, King wears No. 74 on his jersey, joining No. 77 Carter and No. 73 Toffoli.

Whatever it is, the Kings couldn’t have won Thursday without That 70s Line.

“We’ve been trying to kind of work from our end out, the whole team,” Carter said of his line’s standout play during a three-game winning streak. “I think it’s been coming along, especially near the end of the road trip we saw it paying off for us. And again tonight.”

Toffoli, in particular, was superb against Calgary.

“He came back from his mono and had a really good couple of games and then he probably hit the wall a little bit,” Sutter said, referring to a bout of mononucleosis that sidelined Toffoli for six games last month. “Then the last three or four games, I think he and the line have carried us.”

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L.A. Kings statistical oddity for a Tuesday morning

The Kings haven’t been outshot in a game since Nov. 29, when the Chicago Blackhawks did it to them 25-20 during a 4-1 victory at Staples Center. They were tied in shots on net 25-25 during a 5-2 loss Dec. 16 to the St. Louis Blues. But otherwise they have outshot everyone since that game against the Blackhawks. Monday, they outshot the Toronto Maple Leafs 20-19 in a 2-0 victory.

“It still doesn’t add up for us because if you’re just going on analytics we’re right at the top,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “We should have more (wins). It doesn’t really add up. We’re going to have to get better at it because with the goals out of our lineup (Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli, in particular), and a bit of inexperience at our back end, we still have to find a way to get better.”

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Darryl Sutter talks about replacing ill Toffoli and injured Pearson in L.A. Kings lineup

Kings coach Darryl Sutter was asked Monday morning how the team would fill the void created by the absence of young wingers Tyler Toffoli (mono) and Tanner Pearson (broken left ankle). He had a simple answer: “You don’t.”

Sutter also said: “They’re very important players on our team, not just numbers guys but a very big part of our puck possession game, our penalty-killing game, all that. You don’t replace those players. What you do is you put other guys in, guys who are either bitching about ice time or guys who you have to move out of position a little big or veterans who just have to give you a little bit more.”

Toffoli was diagnosed with mono Friday and Pearson was hurt Saturday.

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L.A. Kings forward Tanner Pearson suffers a broken ankle

The Kings announced only that Tanner Pearson suffered a lower-body injury during a second-period collision that send him into the end boards Saturday. Kings coach Darryl Sutter later said only that Pearson suffered a lower-leg injury. Kings’ in-house blogger Jon Rosen then reported via Twitter that Pearson has a broken ankle, which was confirmed by a later tweet by the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.

More tests are expected to be performed Sunday.

 

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L.A. Kings’ Doughty, Kopitar, Pearson selected to All-Star Game

The Kings will be well-represented at the Jan. 25 All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio. Joining coach Darryl Sutter and his staff will be defenseman Drew Doughty, center Anze Kopitar and winger Tanner Pearson.

Doughty made the team for the first time in his seven-year career, a mind-boggling fact given his remarkable play the last few seasons. But there was no game last season because of the Sochi Olympics and it was not played in 2012-13 because of the lockout.

Kopitar was selected despite some subpar statistics in the first half of the season. He was the Kings’ leader with 29 goals and 70 points last season, but had only eight goals and 30 points in the first 41 games of 2014-15.

Pearson was selected as one of six rookies to make the teams. He had 12 goals, tied with Marian Gaborik and Tyler Toffoli for the team lead, plus four assists going into the Kings’ game Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets.

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