Dancing in the Reign: Foreign Aid
Familiar Faces, Foe: The Kings, after a three-day hiatus from league play, occupy Staples Center tonight to finalize their current four-game homestand. It’ll be a cross-town back-to-back affair with the Anaheim Ducks tonight and tomorrow, both clubs hitting the highway to take ice in Orange County Thursday night. This will be the first time these two Pacific Division rivals meet this season.
- Due to roster shortages in Los Angeles, both Andrei Loktionov and Viatcheslav Voynov will return to the Kings’ lineup tonight. Dustin Penner is out with a hand injury, Alec Martinez out with an apparent shoulder injury – both are on short-term IR.
- Colin Fraser, beside Mike Richards and Simon Gagne, has shown the makings to quite possibly be the Kings’ most valuable asset attained over the summer. Fraser is showing attributes that fit quite well into a 4th-line centerman role, where he’ll be positioned again tonight in his third game as a King. He’s been more involved than Ethan Moreau and Dustin Penner, tossing his frame around with 9 hits and finding opportunity with 1 goal on 2 shots in his first appearances.
- After the three-day break, expect Jonathan Quick to get the starting nod in both contests against the Anaheim Ducks, likewise Saturday afternoon against the Detroit Red Wings. I see Jonathan Bernier sliding into the rotation next Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues.
Reconfiguration – Rejuvenation?
Voynov Effect: Due to Viatcheslav Voynov‘s recall from the AHL‘s Manchester Monarchs to fill in for the injured Alec Martinez, the defensive lines will get shuffled a bit. Voynov, who appeared in 5 games for the Kings in October, was then filling in for Drew Doughty. Voynov’s stint was a respectable one, chipping in with 1 goal, 2 assists, 8 hits, 9 shots in his five appearances.
Voynov will be paired with Willie Mitchell‘s secure play, which is very sensible. The other two pairs will be Matt Greene with Rob Scuderi, and Drew Doughty with Jack Johnson. This creates a shutdown tandem of Greene and Scuderi, a balanced duo of experience and playing style in Voynov and Mitchell, and an all-facet threat with Doughty and Johnson’s partnership.
If nothing else, this will play extremely well into Terry Murray‘s matchup strategies, not many NHL clubs can ice three defensive pairings that resemble such a wide variety of strong attributes as the Kings can with these six players. Unless Voynov impresses to a degree in which the Kings would be foolish to designate him to the AHL again, expect the Chelyabinsk native to take assignment when Alec Martinez returns.
Andrei’s Up: After failing to make the Kings’ roster out of training camp, Andrei Loktionov gets another jab at the NHL level. Loktionov’s past call-ups haven’t come with a lack of pressure, where he’s been accustomed to aggressive lineup configuration from Terry Murray. Loktionov has been thrown into vital roles on the top two lines in the majority of games he’s played as a King, switching from his accustomed role at center to left wing.
Loktionov finds himself in that position again, tabbed to hold the left wing spot on the second line with Mike Richards and Dustin Brown tonight. The high-pressure position as a top-six forward, and out of his natural position at center, actually fared all right last season. In 19 games with the Kings last season, Loktionov played along the left side of Anze Kopitar on the Kings’ top line. The results weren’t staggering, notching 4 goals and 3 assists in his ’10-’11 stint. In 17 games with the Manchester Monarchs this season, Loktionov leads the central New Hampshire club with 14 points, via 3 goals and 11 assists.
Loktionov will bring much-needed speed, something that has been a moderate issue for this offense. The bigger question regarding Loktionov will be his strength, how well he recovers, handles, and creates opportunity with loose pucks. Winning races to pucks has never been a flaw for Loktionov, his ability to attain control with heavy pressure has. The addition of Loktionov’s speed factor is an enticing look alongside Richards and Brown, but puck recovery and control will only make substantial use of that value.
Hey! Don’t get caught wearing the jersey of a former not so great underachiever like Alexander Frolov, when you can easily transform it into the jersey of someone who probably wont be that great but are maximizing their achievement ceiling like Colin Fraser!!
All you have to do is switch the ‘olov’ to ‘aser’ and you’re good to go. Just use some black tape, letter stencils, and some white paint or something and stop being a b*tch.
Here’s what Colin Fraser thinks about Alexander Frolov jerseys
Colin Fraser also doesn’t give a sh*t about mouth guards
There’s the face of a fourth-line centerman
Fraser and the Russians are on watch tonight
Bailey going Tony Montana on Wild Wing
Wouldn’t have, but it’s Kings-Ducks for two in a row. Back-to-back, Home-and-home.