Were those fighting words from the Sharks, or a rallying cry by Terry Murray?
He said his team's playoff series against the second-seeded Sharks "is going to be a real revved-up series, a hard series. Everything I read from the San Jose players talking it's going to be a bit of a 'Gong Show' with fighting. I'm reading about [Ryane] Clowe bloody nose and Ben Eager all over the place and [Jamal] Mayers fighting, so we're going to gear ourselves up for that kind of a game.
"We keep [Kevin] Westgarth in the lineup and that's the way they're setting it up, so we're going to be ready to battle.”
He spoke after the Sharks players had skated and left the HP Pavilion, but no one among the San Jose media was sure what he meant, beyond this article about the Sharks having added grit and muscle, and this one about the rivalry between teams from Northern and Southern California.
It's not that Murray put enforcer Westgarth into the lineup in response to the Sharks' supposed comments -- Murray had been saying all along, since he knew the Kings would face the Sharks, that Westgarth would play early in the series. So he wasn't reacting to what the Sharks said. Or didn't say. If Murray was trying to create some kind of rallying point, it didn't quite work.
Back to the morning skate: Murray confirmed that right wing Justin Williams, who dislocated his shoulder March 21 but has judged himself ready to play, will return on the right side, with Jarret Stoll at center and Ryan Smyth on left wing.
"It's a line that's been together for a bunch of games this year," Murray said. "They've played very well actually for us, and for quite long stretches of the season, and we'll get them back together."
Williams said the Kings' aim -- no surprise -- is to keep the scores to 2-1 and 3-2. He also said he hopes he can help revive the power play, which converted one chance in 23 over the last seven games of the regular season.
"I don’t know. The power play is a tough thing," Williams said. "It's very streaky. We all know that. You could score two or three and go for 20 times without scoring. I'll give it a try and see if I can do the same thing that everyone else is doing: get pucks to the net."
He also said he anticipated no problems getting in sync with Stoll and Smyth.
"I think we played with everybody throughout the season, so it's not going to be a big change, whatever it is," he said.
There's more coming soon, including who will have the edge in the competition between childhood friends Drew Doughty of the Kings and Logan Couture of the Sharks.
-- Helene Elliott in San Jose
Photo: Terry Murray, who was named the coach of the Los Angeles Kings, responds to questions during a news conference July 17, 2008. Credit: Ric Francis / AP