Frolov's back in, but who knows when Ersberg will be?
Wednesday was a very interesting and newsy day at the Kings' practice.
-- Winger Alexander Frolov will return to the lineup for Thursday's game against Dallas at Staples Center after being scratched at Dallas on Monday. However, Coach Terry Murray scrambled the second and third lines in search of some offensive sparks. Frolov will flank Michal Handzus and Dustin Brown, and Wayne Simmonds will move to the Jarret Stoll line, with Teddy Purcell on the other wing.
"I'm looking to get an answer to a question I've been asked several times by you, the media, actually, and it's a good question: secondary scoring," Murray said after the Kings skated at the Toyota Sports Center. "I'm looking to find more from other places and I'm hoping something can happen from this Fro, Zeus and Brown line."
Murray said he brought Frolov back into the lineup after the Russian winger, who led the team in goal scoring for the third time last season with 32, made the first move.
"When we spoke in Dallas and the conversation was 'You're coming out of the lineup,' it was important for me to leave an opening in the door," Murray said, "and that was whenever you're ready to come back, knock on my door come in and sit down and look me in the eye and talk to me and tell me you're ready to get going and play the game that I know you're capable of bringing, and that's what happened here this morning."
Murray said they had a good discussion. "He's back in and ready to go," Murray said. "I want 100% commitment with effort, intensity, emotionally. We've got to have that commitment. If we're going to make things work here as far as we talk about changing the culture and going in the direction that we want, get going in and stay there on a consistent basis, then we need total buy-in by all players....
"No one's bigger than the team. That's the reason why I made the decision. [Tuesday] was a day of sitting back and contemplating everything I guess by both of us and today was a productive day. He's back in the lineup. Good practice. Ready to get going."
Frolov said the realignment was not his suggestion and was a decision made by Murray. He also said he wasn't accustomed to being out of the lineup while healthy.
"Nobody likes to be scratched and be in the locker room and see the guys play," he said. "It's pretty frustrating for any player. I didn't have this experience for a long, long time.
"As I said before it's the head coach's decision and you have to respect it."
In explaining his decision to scratch Frolov, Murray said he had spoken to Frolov several times about picking up his game and saw no response from the player. That doesn't mean Frolov doesn't care--some players internalize their anger, while others express it readily. Frolov, though fluent in English, isn't chatty or openly emotional at the best of times, and that should be considered too.
"Everyone has different personality and just it's hard to tell," he said. "I think no matter what happened it's not pleasant but you have to move on. I'm back in the lineup and I'm going to do my best and try as hard as I can."
-- Simmonds said he's excited to play with his new linemates. "Honestly, I don't think I've played a game without Zeus in my career," the second-year winger said. "So it's different. Stollie brings different things but they're equally as good. It took a little bit of adapting but I think I picked it up quick and I'm ready to go for tomorrow."
-- Murray repeated what he told The Times the other day, that he wished he had stayed with Jonathan Quick in goal against the New York Rangers instead of going with backup Erik Ersberg. He said he had erased the tentative goaltending schedule he and consultant Bill Ranford had drawn up and now plans to stay with Quick indefinitely.
"It means I'm playing Quick right now," Murray said.
Does he still have faith in Ersberg? "I need him to be looking really, really good in practice. He's got to be right on top of things," Murray said. "It's been a long time since there's been a win for him, going back into the middle of December last year, and I really need to see [his] 'A' game in practice. He's battling the flu right now himself so there's just no way that he's going to go in until he gets himself back at full strength. And then build from that point and we'll decide."
He also said management has not considered summoning Jonathan Bernier from Manchester of the American Hockey League. "I've got confidence in Quick's going to do the job for us," Murray said.
-- Murray disclosed that defenseman Alec Martinez's undisclosed injury is actually a sprained ankle and said Martinez is a long way from returning.
-- Drew Doughty said he hopes tonight to shed the plastic protective shield he has been wearing over his lower jaw since he took a puck in the mouth on Oct. 10. He said he was awaiting the delivery of a new mouth-guard that would protect his teeth.
More on all this later at www.latimes.com/sports
Photo: Alexander Frolov looks to pass around Carlo Colaiacovo of St. Louis in the first period of their Oct. 10 game. Credit: Bill Boyce, AP.