Kings huddled around Coach Darryl Sutter - Photo: Paul Armbruster

Kings huddled around Coach Darryl SutterPhoto: Paul Armbruster

The Kings Concluded Their Final Practice Today In El Segundo Ahead Of Their Long-Awaited Season Opener Which Will Mark The Beginning Of Their First Ever Title Defense

By Paul Armbruster |

After two days of hard practice, Anze Kopitar once again joined in a full practice this morning in El Segundo. And once again, he skated with the ‘5th’ or ‘scratch’ line alongside Anthony Stewart, which means the likelihood of Kopitar playing in tomorrow’s home opener has all but vanished. Indeed, Lisa Dillman of the LA Times tweeted the bad news:

Practice was paired down today, with focus on special teams, positional drills, shooting and light skating. After an excused abscense yesterday, Dustin Penner returned to a line with Jeff Carter at center and Brad Richardson, who skated in place of Justin Williams, who was out because of illness.

Here’s how the lines and d-pairs looked.

Penner (25) — Carter (77) — Richardson (15)
Gagne (12) — Richards (10) — Brown (23)
King (74) — Stoll (28) — Lewis (22)
Clifford (13) — Fraser (24) — Nolan (71)
Kopitar (11) — Stewart (21)

Scuderi (7) Doughty (8)
Martinez (27) Voynov (26)
Drewiske (44) Greene (2)
Muzzin (73)

On a positive note, Willie Mitchell (knee) made his first camp appearance by skating for about 30 minutes after practice. Video soon. Check back.

Willie Mitchell skating after practice - Photo: Paul Armbruster

Willie Mitchell skating after practice – Photo: Paul Armbruster

The Kings are currently one man over the roster limit of 23, which means either someone else gets cut or Kopitar gets placed on IR. The latter seems likely for tomorrow but that won’t last long. Kopitar seems certain to rejoin the team in short order and a decision will have to be made to shed a player. Who will it be? It appears the Kings 4th line is set with Clifford/Fraser/Nolan. Nolan being the only one waiver exempt.

The scratches will likely be Richardson and Stewart (unless Williams is too sick to play tomorrow). Both would need to clear waivers in order to be sent to Manchester. With Richardson filling in for Penner yesterday and Williams today, it would appear his place on the roster is safe. That leaves, newcomer Stewart as the odd man out. That is, unless Dean Lombardi feels it necessary to keep Stewart simply as an asset and send Nolan down.

If you were Dean Lombardi, what would you do? Risk losing another player on waivers or mess with your Cup winning lineup?


Kings Practice – Willie Mitchell Skates! (1/18/13)

Kings Practice – Overview & Discussion #1 (1/18/13)

Kings Practice – Overview & Discussion #2 (1/18/13)

Kings Practice – Overview & Discussion #3 (1/18/13)






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  • jess

    Good stuff Paul,

    Great to hear Mitchell is skating, very good news indeed.

    I would send Stewart down to Manchester like you said instead of King or Nolan. Those kids have paid there dues and have very specific roles which led to winning the cup IMO.

    Thanks for the concise update!

    • Paul Armbruster

      You’re welcome! I’d hate to lose Stewart for nothing but my gut says he’ll be gone.

    • Duncanz

      He’d never make it to Manchester. He’d be picked off the waiver wire in a NY(I) minute!

      • Paul Armbruster

        …or an NH minute! (New Hampshire)

  • xeropoint

    I don’t see the point in losing newly acquired Stewart, unless he’s shown absolutely nothing in practice. Nolan gets the plane tickets. This is all assuming they don’t pull some kind of retroactive IR move with Kopitar.

    • Paul Armbruster

      Interesting how Dean got 2 picks AND Stewart in the Westy deal. Makes me wonder if Stewart never had a chance. That being said, I agree from a business stand point sending an exempt player down makes the most sense. Purely from a team stand point, however, I agree with jess that Nolan earned a spot. As for Stewart, I think he’s a pretty darn good player. Good hands, can skate, big and strong.

      • Duncanz

        Paul, But if he never had a chance, why would Dean even go to the trouble of bringing him in and out here when he could have called up Kozun or Pearson for a bit of experience training at the big club?
        I figure there must have been SOMEthing he liked in including him in the Westy deal.
        I’d be willing to put sentiment aside and give Jordy Nolan a bit more of a workout in Manchester and bring him up a little later when someone inevitably gets a ding or a tweak. After all, it worked for him just fine last year.
        That way you keep the lad hungry and motivated, plus you don’t burn a potentially very handy acquisition in Stewart, plus you keep your options open.
        Taking you at your consideration that he has satisfactorily displayed his assets in practice all week, one presumes he has the desire to make it onto the team so it seems like a common sense decision to protect him and give him a shot at it, going forward.

        • Paul Armbruster

          Perhaps he was an insurance policy. Or perhaps his inclusion in the Westy deal was a must for Carolina’s cap. But probably none of those things. It certainly does seem like a tough decision for Dean. That said, these are very good problems to have for the champs!

      • KC23

        Last year I would of agreed with both of you, but last year I also thought Fraser never had a chance to make our line up. I watched all the practise videos and was at the Monday Staples practise.

        IMHO Stewart was clearly skating better than Nolan. We can send Nolan down without risking waviers as I understand it. IMHO Nolan will be the odd man out. Otherwise we’d have to put Stewart on waviers and that is wasting assets.

        Wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Stewart works his way into the regular line up. I also think he was skating better than Richardson as well. Clifford looks pretty good and also has size. I like Clifford’s chances.

  • Michael J.

    Who’s voice was I hearing interviewing Scuds?

    • Paul Armbruster

      Sorta sounds like me, doesn’t it? 😉 It’s not though. Still working on getting my credential. Baby steps.

  • CB14

    I completely agree with jess that Nolan has paid his dues and deserves to be here. Having said that, with the schedule being very condensed and thus more of a chance of injury, I think Dean sends Nolan down. I would hate to see Nolan go down, but I understand the reasoning behind it if it does happen. It also wouldn’t surprise me if Dean sends Stewart down, and I actually think he stands a decent chance of clearing waivers.

    • Duncanz

      CB14, I don’t. Several teams could use a player of his size, experience and $1 Mil only hit on their depth lines; Islanders, Hawks, Canadiens, Flames, Coyotes, Stars, etc.
      So if you’re Dean, I don’t reckon you take that chance. At least until you’ve given him at least a handful of NHL games to show what he can do for us.

      • xeropoint

        And taking into account the situation with Voynov last year (played very well on his call up but was sent down ONLY because of his waiver exemption) I wouldbe very surprised if Lombardi cut bait. It’s not his style. Nolan played very well but is obviously a victim of circumstance here. I’ll put my money on him being sent down.

        • Paul Armbruster

          Excellent point. I was thinking the same thing before Hickey got waived though. Bodnarchuk could have been waived instead and likely cleared (just as he did today). Hickey then could have beat out Muzzin for the 7th d-man spot. Different circumstance, but maybe Deano is changing his ways a bit. Who am I kidding? Probably not.

          • xeropoint

            Still scratching my head about Hickey. It looks like the market for D-men is pretty starved *cough* Redden *cough* and so I can only guess Hickey wasn’t fielding any interest, asset wise. I suppose all those years of drafting defensemen will cover for the loss of some (let’s be honest) minor league depth.

  • trytodethroneus

    Any word on Bodnarchuk’s clearing waivers?

    • Paul Armbruster

      Yes. He cleared and will play tonight.

      • trytodethroneus

        Several GMs at the bottom of the prospects pool blew it.
        Here you have the STANLEY CUP CHAMPION LOS ANGELES KINGS having a need for a couple of defenseman, one (or both ) of which will be sent back to Manchester.
        Since the AHL had been playing for several months, you would think the KINGS would only bring up the most ready defenseman. Given our depth in defensemen throughout the organization, if I’m one of those GMs, I have to think he’s worth a shot.

  • Belexes

    Really like the look of that 4th line with Fraz – Clifford – Nolan. Hope they get some time together, would be a pain in the butt for their opponents.

    • Paul Armbruster

      Being together all week leads me to believe that’s exactly what Sutter has in mind.

  • tornado12

    Are the Kings ever going to change those posters of players from like a decade ago? i think the SC champs deserve to have their mugs up there. Then again all i see are matty and luc, which arent bad choices to have there…

    • Paul Armbruster

      I used to cringe at the Cup picture in the center of all those photos. Now I smile.

      • trytodethroneus

        Maybe I should keep the poster of Heidi Klum up on the wall….you never know

        • On the wall? I thought you held it up with one hand 🙂

          Go Kings

          • trytodethroneus

            You are right…….I totally forgot that I am ambidextrous

  • KC23

    Ah, almost forgot to mention. I like the longer videos MUCH better. Well done.

    • Paul Armbruster

      Thanks KC. So far not as many views but we’ll see how it goes in the weeks ahead.