Andrei Loktionov recalled to play on Kings' first line; Marco Sturm goes on injured reserve
Left wing Marco Sturm was placed on injured reserve because of tendinitis in his left knee -- not the knee that was surgically repaired in May -- and Andrei Loktionov was recalled to take his place. Loktionov, a natural center, will play on the left side with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown when the Kings face the Phoenix Coyotes at Staples Center.
Technically, Loktionov was recalled from the Ontario Reign, the Kings’ ECHL affiliate. He had been stashed there Wednesday, when it wasn’t clear whether Wayne Simmonds would be able to play after injuring his ankle in a post-hit pileup last Saturday. Simmonds missed the Kings’ losses at Dallas and St. Louis but is in the lineup Thursday.
Sturm’s knee problem created a roster spot -- rather convenient, though Coach Terry Murray attributed it to the winger pushing himself to get back into shape and said Sturm will back off for a while.
Loktionov started the season with the Kings and was one of the cast of thousands on Kopitar’s line. He had a goal and two points in seven games. In 31 games with Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League, he had eight goals and 31 points.
“He’s a very high-skill player that I think can create a lot five-on-five,” Murray said after the team’s morning skate. “He’s got a lot of composure with the puck and he’s going to add to the power play.
“His abilities are, again, the composure and just to settle it down, maybe open some ice up with that composure when pressured. Settle it, making good plays. We’re hoping we can get some good results on the power play with him there.”
Loktionov says he much prefers the warm weather here to the climate in Manchester. “Too much snow. You cannot drive car,” he said, adding that he went to lunch with teammate Viacheslav Voynov and had to push Voynov’s car out of the snow.
He says he will just “do what I do” and is still adjusting to playing the left side.
“I play left wing just 10 games in my life,” he said. “It’s tough to say something. Everything different. I don’t care. I just want to play and be here.”
A few more quick notes:
Murray said he moved defenseman Willie Mitchell from the right side back to his natural left side and will pair Mitchell with Drew Doughty. Rob Scuderi and Jack Johnson will team up, and the pair of Alec Martinez and Matt Greene will stay together.
Alexei Ponikarovsky will be scratched Thursday. The third line will be Kyle Clifford-Trevor Lewis-Simmonds, and the fourth line will be Brad Richardson-Michal Handzus-Kevin Westgarth.
Also, left wing Scott Parse, who underwent hip-labrum-repair surgery in November, skated Thursday for the first time since the operation. The timetable for his return was set at three to four months.
“It’s going good,” he said of his rehabilitation. “I’m doing good. I’m not sure if I’m ahead. I’m not behind. I’ll just see how it feels and see how my body reacts and keep going here.”
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-- Helene Elliott
Photo: Andrei Loktionov. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press