LA Kings Head Coach Terry Murray Talks Prospects, Goaltending, And The Return Of The Trap

FROZEN ROYALTY EXCLUSIVE: In Part 5, the final installment of a series based on an exclusive interview with Los Angeles Kings head coach Terry Murray, he talks about the chances for the Kings’ young prospects, such as center Andrei Loktionov, to make the big club’s opening night roster. He also discusses the loss of some of the Kings’ prospects to European leagues, his team’s goaltenders, and he warns of the return of the neutral zone trap…or a variation thereof.

Los Angeles Kings head coach Terry Murray (right) talks with (from left) Kyle Clifford, Willie Mitchell and Trevor Lewis during practice at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
Photo: David Sheehan

EL SEGUNDO, CA — With the addition of veteran forwards Simon Gagne and Mike Richards this summer, the Los Angeles Kings have upgraded the talent on their first and second lines. Add to that the signing of veteran left wing Ethan Moreau, who joins centers Jarret Stoll and Brad Richardson up front—the Kings have plenty of veteran talent on their forward lines.

Then you have Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis, Scott Parse, and heavyweight enforcer Kevin Westgarth—these forwards will likely fill out the remaining left and right wing spots on the third and fourth lines.

There is also a yet unknown factor…center Colin Fraser, who was acquired in the trade that sent left wing Ryan Smyth back home to the Edmonton Oilers on June 26 . Even though the Kings have filed a grievance with the National Hockey League, alleging that the Oilers misrepresented his condition at the time of the trade, it is unlikely that any remedy will result in Fraser being returned to the Oilers. As such, it appears that young prospects, such as center Andrei Loktionov, among others, are going to have a fierce battle ahead of them to get ice time, let alone a spot on the Kings’ 2011-12 opening night roster. Read more of this post

2010-11 Los Angeles Kings Year-In-Review: Evaluating The Forwards

2010-11 YEAR IN REVIEW: Part 1 of a series.

Anze Kopitar (right) and Justin Williams (left) led the way among Los Angeles Kings’ forwards this season.
Photo: David Sheehan

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings suffered an earlier than desired exit from the 2010-11 season, when they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the San Jose Sharks, who won the series 4-2.

To be sure, another first round exit from the post-season party was not what the Kings had in mind this year, as expectations, both their own and just about everyone else’s, was for them to at least advance to the second round.

Although they faced extenuating circumstances that affected their ability to enjoy post-season success, namely, the loss of leading scorer and top defensive forward Anze Kopitar to a devastating ankle injury in late March, the Kings showed that if they had the discipline to adhere to their system and structure, they could have won that series, advancing to the Western Conference Semi Finals. Given that, it doesn’t matter how you slice it. The fact remains that the Kings did not meet expectations for the 2010-11 season. Read more of this post

Loss To Vancouver Canucks Forces LA Kings To Gamble On Brayden Schenn

Los Angeles Kings top center prospect
Brayden Schenn, shown here at the
2009 NHL Entry Draft.
Photo: Los Angeles Kings

EL SEGUNDO, CA — After watching their team lose their poise—the Los Angeles Kings were dominated throughout long stretches of a 3-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver on March 31—the Kings brain trust has come to the realization that their team will not last long in the Stanley Cup Playoffs without help up front.

As a result, on April 1, the Kings recalled top center prospect Brayden Schenn, under emergency conditions, from the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League, a team that is expected to go deep into the WHL playoffs and make it to the Memorial Cup finals.

Saskatoon and the Prince Albert Raiders are tied in their first round playoff series, 2-2.

“We’re going to miss Brayden terribly,” said Blades general manager and head coach Lorne Molleken. “He’s a very special player. But at the same time, we’re absolutely thrilled that he’s getting a chance to play the game at the NHL level, and help the LA Kings in their playoff run.” Read more of this post

LA Kings To Get Doughty, Parse Back; Loktionov Assigned To Manchester

EL SEGUNDO, CA — On November 2, the Los Angeles Kings announced that center prospect Andrei Loktionov has been assigned to the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League, their primary minor league affiliate.

In seven games with the Kings this season, the twenty-year-old native of Voskresnsk, Russia has scored a goal and added an assist for two points with two penalty minutes and a -1 plus/minus rating.

The 5-10, 180-pound forward was selected by the Kings in the 2008 National Hockey League Entry Draft. Read more of this post

LA Kings Forward Brad Richardson Hopes To Lose Utility Man Label Someday

LOS ANGELES — With the Los Angeles Kings back home from a five-game road trip in which they earned a solid 3-2-0 record, they now find themselves in a rather lofty position, atop the Western Conference standings and second in the overall National Hockey League standings (through games played on October 29).

As one might expect, players such as Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Ryan Smyth, Jarret Stoll and Jonathan Quick have played key roles in the team’s strong 7-3-0 start through ten games. But role players are making solid contributions as well, including versatile forward Brad Richardson, whose strong play has earned him a promotion to the Kings’ top line, skating alongside Brown and Kopitar.

But at the start of that five-game road swing, beginning with a 4-2 loss at Phoenix on October 21, Richardson found himself in his usual spot on the fourth line.

Little did he know that big changes were in store for him, and they came rather unexpectedly early in the second period at Colorado on October 23.

In that game, Richardson, 24, started the game on the fourth line, but Kings head coach Terry Murray, as he is wont to do, decided to tinker with his line combinations, moving Richardson up to play left wing on the first line, while moving rookie forward Andrei Loktionov down to center the fourth line. Read more of this post


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