Gann Matsuda on TheHockeyWriters.com: Los Angeles Kings’ Second Line Is A Big Question Mark During Training Camp
September 20, 2010 1 Comment
EL SEGUNDO, CA — As the Los Angeles Kings get their 2010 training camp revved up, head coach Terry Murray knows that one of his challenges going into the 2010-11 season is to address his team’s lack of five-on-five scoring in recent years.
Murray has opened camp with a top line of left wing Ryan Smyth and right wing Dustin Brown, centered by Anze Kopitar.
Smyth is a proven goal scorer and Kopitar is coming off a 34-goal, 81-point season, while Brown potted 24 goals in each of the last two seasons after scoring a career-high 33 goals in 2007-08.
That line figures to be productive, whether Brown remains on the right side, or if Murray has to tinker with his lines, as he is known to do. The question is…
…who else is going to score goals for the Kings?
Murray is hoping that second-year NHL’er Scott Parse on left wing and the oft-injured veteran Justin Williams on right wing, centered by Jarret Stoll, will be a productive second line.
“I spent considerable time over the off-season looking at line combinations,” said Murray. “I arrived at what you’re seeing on the ice and that’s something I want to go with throughout the training camp and get some looks in during the exhibition games to see how it comes along. Hopefully, the chemistry can develop.”
But developing the necessary chemistry may not be the most pressing concern. Rather, it might be whether or not these forwards can handle the job.
Last season, Parse, 26, displayed good offensive skills, but only in occasional flashes. That inconsistency had him in and out of the lineup, and even back and forth between the Kings and the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League (Kings’ primary minor league affiliate).
In 59 regular season games, the 5-11, 197-pound native of Portage, Michigan scored eleven goals and tallied 13 assists for 24 points, with a +13 plus/minus rating and 22 penalty minutes.
Parse played in four of the Kings’ six games against the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the playoffs last season, but did not get on the scoresheet.
Inconsistent play had Parse out of the lineup for Games 1 and 2 against the Canucks, and that is his biggest challenge heading into the new season.
“I think he’s one of the more talented players we have on the team,” said Murray. “But we have to get that out of him on a daily basis, and that’s the one thing he has to show me—that I can trust him every time he gets on the ice in a game situation to give me that big effort…”
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