Citing success, sighting Nashville
The look now turns to Nashville. And as of late, the looks have been good.
Kind of like that girl in the green shirt.
The Kings, after trudging slow to start the season with an 0-3-0 record, have pulled off two consecutive wins, the latest coming in sensational fashion. Staples Center donned it’s ice surface again Monday night, and presented quite a show.
It came via Voynov. Vyacheslav Voynov arguably has one of the best pass-to-shot one-time releases for an NHL defenseman. Like a boomerang.
What will 43 seconds do for you?
VV for W
Andrei wants out?
Russian the process: While one of the two Kings’ Russian prodigies continues to prosper in a Kings uniform, the other is struggling to utilize his skills at the NHL level. Andrei Loktionov, who is buried beneath a very heavy depth chart at the Centerman position in the Kings’ organization, remains with the AHL‘s Manchester Monarchs.
Loktionov has reportedly requested a trade, and it would be hard to blame the 22-year old native of Voskresensk, Russia for doing so.
He’s looking up at a group of proven names that includes Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, and Jarret Stoll – all of whom are under contracts for many years to come. And it’s pretty obvious that Loktionov has no business in a fourth-line role.
His options are pretty much zeroed-out at this point, even if you consider a transfer to a wing position – which Terry Murray experimented with early last season, and that failed to resonate into anything useful.
Loktionov is having a stellar season in Manchester, however. Through 35 games this season, the young forward has posted seven goals and 15 assists for 22 points. If he’s ever able to graduate from the AHL level and make it as a full-time NHL forward, chances are it won’t be with the Kings.
Alas, Andrei Loktionov has spoken an honest word in his request for a trade.
Take a Seat: After dressing in the Kings’ first two games of the season, Dustin Penner has been a healthy scratch at Darryl Sutter‘s discretion – sitting out the previous three contests, and will likely do the same tonight against the Nashville Predators.
The Kings’ aging forward has struggled to maintain pace on the ice. His size and strength is a wonder, but slowing down can become a rather quick process for a player with a build and stature such as Penner’s.
The fourth line for the Kings is all but locked up, with Kyle Clifford, Colin Fraser, and Jordan Nolan securing their spots for the meantime with their aggressive and abrasive play. This would mean finding room for Penner somewhere on the Kings’ top-three line scheme.
I don’t see that happening anytime soon, the same goes with his return to the lineup.
The return of Willie Mitchell will continue to be put on hold. The Kings’ stay-at-home defenseman will miss his sixth game of the season while attempting to reach 100% health after minor knee surgery, in which recovery has taken much longer than initially thought.
Darryl Sutter has shown subtle signs of impatience in waiting for Mitchell to return, leaning on the defenseman’s perceived medical clearance – which has become yet another gray area.
Mitchell, who injured himself in his rehab process from surgery, has only been cleared to practice. He’s been skating lightly at Toyota Sports Center, but has dedicated more time to off-ice training and recovery.
Considering Mitchell’s age, and the vital importance he holds down the stretch of this shortened season, his return is nothing that should be rushed. For Willie Mitchell and the Kings, staying out of the lineup for now is an intelligent move.
Don’t be the Victim
It’s the Nashville Predators tonight at Staples Center in the Kings sixth contest of the season. This is a beleaguered team. Nashville has started with a lowly 1-2-3 record, and is coming off a 4-0 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale, Arizona.
Pekka Rinne, who led all NHL goaltenders in regular season wins last season with 43, has yet to pick up a win in his first five starts for the Predators.
Speaking of goaltending…
Don’t be shocked to see backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier in net for the Kings tonight. It is, after all, the Nashville Predators – a team which Bernier has been prone to get the call against in recent seasons. If Darryl Sutter is looking for a good time to shimmy Bernier into the mix for a game, that time is tonight.
Setting the bar against Nashville
Bar-down and beautiful.
Puck drops downtown Thursday night against the Nashville Predators at 7:30PM PST.