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Category: Marco Sturm

Kings' Marco Sturm placed on injured reserve

Sturm_400 The Kings put forward Marco Sturm on the injured reserve list retroactive to Jan. 18, when he suffered a lower-body injury in the loss to the St. Louis Blues.

Forward Andrei Loktionov has been called up from the Ontario Reign of the ECHL

Sturm, 32, has played in 15 games this season with the Kings, who acquired him from the Boston Bruins on Dec. 11 for future considerations.  He has four goals and four assists in that time along with a plus-five rating. 

Although he hadn't played for the Bruins this season because he was coming off knee surgery, the Kings were desperate for a high-scoring left wing who could be a top-line player.

Strum has been a 20-plus-goal scorer seven times in his career.

Loktionov, 20, started this season with the Kings and played in seven games. He has one goal and one assist and is expected to play in Thursday night's game against the Coyotes.

-- Debbie Goffa

Photo: Marco Sturm. Credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Kings vs. Oilers: Score tied, 2-2, after the first period

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The Kings' struggles continue, though there were some signs of shaking out of their doldrums against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night at Staples Center.

The score was tied, 2-2, after one period, but the Kings could hardly feel satisfied given that the Oilers are in last place in the Western Conference. The Kings have lost seven of their last eight games.

Edmonton went ahead early, after the Kings turned puck over in the neutral zone. Dustin Penner slid down the left side with the puck, past the goal line, but managed to flip the puck in lacrosse-style for a 1-0 lead six minutes into the game.

The Kings’ Marco Sturm tied the score when he was in the right place at the right time at the end of a 4-on-2 rush. The puck came off defenseman Kurtis Foster’s stick and went right to Sturm, who just slipped a shot into the corner of the net 11 minutes into the game.

Anze Kopitar ended a nine-game goal-less streak by redirecting a loose puck in front of the net 15 minutes into the game. Andrew Cogliano tied it a minute later, flicking in a pass he received at the goal crease.

--Chris Foster

Photo: Edmonton's Dustin Penner scores against Kings goaltender Jonathan Bernier in the first period Saturday night. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Reuters

Drew Doughty says Jack Johnson's contract numbers aren't a blueprint for him

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Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said Monday that teammate Jack Johnson’s signing of a seven-year, $30.5-million contract extension with the club won’t have an impact on his own contract negotiations with the Kings.

Doughty is in the final year of his entry-level contract and is eligible to become a restricted free agent after the season. He’s represented by high-power agent Don Meehan of Toronto-based Newport Sports.

Meehan and several associates have been in Southern California the last few days catching up with clients -- they represent five members of the Kings -- and were scheduled to attend the Kings’ game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night at Staples Center.

“I don’t really think it has any bearing on the amount I’m going to sign for or the amount of years I’m going to sign for,” Doughty said after the team’s game-day skate in El Segundo.

“To be honest with you, I have no idea how long it’s going to be. We haven’t talked at all.

“I’m just here to play and not worry about that stuff. That is why my agent’s out here, to talk and deal with that stuff. I want to know what’s going on and what’s being said, but I’m going to stay out of the negotiating process.”

Doughty, 21, is nearly three years younger than Johnson. However, he was a finalist for the Norris Trophy last season and is considered to have greater upside than Johnson.

Asked if he could imagine committing to a seven-year deal, which is among the longest the Kings have ever given any player, Doughty was, well, noncommittal.

“That is a long time,” he said. “It’s great for the Kings organization to have Jack around for that many years, unless he gets traded. He’s a great player and a huge part of this defense corps and this organization, so it was really good for them to get him.”

The news of Johnson’s signing last Saturday was applauded by his teammates -- including Anze Kopitar, who said the new deal meant that Johnson would have to buy him dinner. Johnson said Monday he plans to pick up the tab for everyone in Dallas, the first stop on the Kings’ next trip.

“It’s the first opportunity I have to buy them dinner and I figured I’d do it on the road when guys don’t have families and stuff around,” Johnson said. “Sometimes at home they have plans and you don’t want to interfere with their plans, so I figured on the road would be a good time to do it.”

He already has a steakhouse picked out and is prepared for teammates to eat hearty and not opt for the petite cut on the filet mignon.

“I would hope they wouldn’t, because I don’t think I would,” he said.

There wasn't much news out of the morning skate. Coach Terry Murray said the lineup will remain the same as it was against Columbus, which means no Brad Richardson, Peter Harrold or Davis Drewiske. Murray said he planned to chat with Richardson and go over some video of the forward's recent games to explain why he's no longer in the lineup.

Also, the Kings said the NHL had made a change on the scoring of their second goal against Columbus on Saturday. The goal, previously awarded to Alec Martinez with assists to Johnson and Marco Sturm, was tipped by Sturm and given to him. The scoring sequence now reads Sturm, with his third goal of the season, from Martinez and Johnson.

-- Helene Elliott

Photo: Drew Doughty. Credit: Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images

Kings Coach Terry Murray still unhappy with Marco Sturm

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Left wing Marco Sturm seems to have become the whipping boy for Kings Coach Terry Murray after two days of scathing comments from a coach who rarely singles anyone out for public chiding.

Before Thursday’s morning skate, Murray said he had talked to Sturm to criticize the player’s work ethic. He wasn’t any more complimentary after practice Friday, even though Sturm earned an assist Thursday with a shot that was rebounded for a goal by Kyle Clifford.

Murray repeated that Sturm is "still in training camp mode" after undergoing surgery on the medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments of his right knee last May and indicated he’s not happy with Sturm’s play. Considering that General Manager Dean Lombardi likes Sturm -- Lombardi drafted Sturm into the NHL as the San Jose Sharks’ general manager and pursued him a second time this season after medical concerns led the Kings’ doctors to be cautious on the first go-round -- it could become a point of contention between a general manager and a coach who are otherwise close.

"I understand it and I have that compassion that he has to go through it during the games," Murray said of Sturm’s readjustment to the pace and rigors of the NHL. "That he’s got to get his game in order and he’s coming to a new team, moving, very unsettled with everything that’s going on. Hotel, place to live -- it’s hard. Very difficult. No matter how long you’ve been in the league you’ve just got to go through those situations and find a way to get your game in order and settle it in.

"I’m dealing with it. Not comfortably but I’m going to keep pushing and keep talking and going to have to get his game back to the level of play that he knows he can play at. And quite honestly I’m waiting to see what that level is myself. I don’t know him well enough over the years to have put him under the microscope and say, 'This is exactly what I’m going to get every shift, what I need, and this is the expectation.' So I’m waiting for him to show me. But I certainly have to see that high level of intensity and work every shift."

True, Sturm hasn’t exactly set the Kings’ world on fire since he was acquired from Boston. He has two goals and four points in nine games playing with an ever-changing array of linemates.

But is it realistic to expect Sturm, a seven-time 20-goal scorer, to have regained that form when he’s barely eight months removed from such extensive surgery?

Murray thinks it is, and went back to his days as coach of the Florida Panthers to back up his argument.

"It’s not unreasonable. I’ve had players come through this thing." he said. "I’ve had Pavel Bure went through the second operation -- the same kind of operation on the same leg -- and he’s back, right on top of his game and scored 57 goals for me that year [actually 58 in 1999-2000].

"And so it’s very demanding. You’ve got to really push hard and go through a lot of pain on the off-ice part of things to get yourself ready to get on the ice and get going. But once you get on the ice you’ve got to get to that hard work every time, every shift and that’s what I need from Marco. I think there’s times out there that there’s a skill element to his game and he wants to play that kind of a game but also we need now to add in that competitive side of it."

That applies to more than a few of his teammates, too.

Murray put Sturm with center Jarret Stoll and right wing Wayne Simmonds in practice Friday and likely will keep that trio together Saturday against Columbus, so he will have another chance to escape the doghouse.

--Helene Elliott

Photo: Kings winger Marco Sturm tries to beat Nashville's Shane O'Brien to the puck during the second period of their game Thursday night at Staples Center. Credit: Harry How / Getty Images

Kings' morning skate: Stern words for Sturm

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Coach Terry Murray said a lack of production wasn't the only reason he pulled left wing Marco Sturm off the Kings' top line and placed on a stopper line with Kyle Clifford and Jarret Stoll.

Murray had said Wednesday that Sturm “is still going through training camp” as he recovers from major surgery on his right knee performed last May, but Murray elaborated on that Thursday to say he hasn’t been satisfied with Sturm’s work ethic.

Sturm has two goals and three points in the eight games he has played since the Kings acquired him from Boston for future considerations on Dec. 11. Murray said he discussed Sturm’s performance with the left wing on Wednesday.

“I don’t like to talk about what I said to players in individual meetings because it is confidential and they have to have my trust on it, but training camp, you work hard. I don’t care if you’ve been off all summer, if you’ve been off with an injury. Training camp is a time of hard work,” Murray said after Thursday's morning skate in El Segundo.

“So if that’s the case, which we discussed with him, and I understand that he’s coming off a couple of very serious injuries and trying to get everything in order and it is part of a process to get the confidence back, get your legs under yourself, you’re with a new team, new linemates, often. But you still have to come and be intense and work hard and really compete. I don’t care where you are, what the situation is you’re going through, and that’s what the demand was from me to him [Wednesday].”

Asked if the problem was that he wasn't seeing those things from Sturm, Murray said that was the case. “A veteran hockey player has to come and be intense, be it hard work, be a competitive guy every shift, every practice, every game. And that’s the expectations," Murray said. "That’s the demands I have of players and I look at the scenario he’s coming through and I understand it. I have compassion for it but I need more.”

Speaking before Murray offered that harsh assessment, Sturm acknowledged that he isn’t close to 100%.

“I still have to find my game here,” he said. “I try to work hard even off the ice. I have to catch up to a lot of things here. I’m probably in the middle of it and hopefully I can get out of this pretty soon.”

Sturm endured a long recovery process after undergoing surgery on his left knee two years ago but had a full training camp to get back into shape. “I had a whole preseason to get prepared and even the first month of October, it took me some time too,” he said, referring to the 2009-10 season.

“Now I got no time so I try to rush it and put a lot of pressure on myself too. It’s sometimes not easy.”

He also said he can handle a more checking-oriented role with his new linemates. “It doesn’t matter. We have a pretty good, solid lineup and I’ll just try to find my legs,” he said. “I think Stollie is a good centerman. I think we should be a good line.”

The other combinations that Murray concocted for Wednesday’s practice remained intact at Thursday’s morning skate, but one lineup change is possible for Thursday’s game against the Nashville Predators at Staples Center.

Defenseman Matt Greene reported to the team’s practice facility but felt too ill to skate because of what Murray guessed is a flu bug. If Greene can’t play, Peter Harrold will replace him.

“I’m hoping we see him tonight,” Murray said of Greene. “A couple guys have gone through it in the last few days. They bounced back and were able to get through it in practice [Wednesday] at a pretty good level of play, so I’m hoping that Greener can find a way to get back here tonight.”

Defenseman Willie Mitchell, out since Dec. 16 because of a knee injury, and left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky, who injured an ankle on Dec. 26, participated in the morning skate and are getting close to returning.

“I think both those guys are still out of the lineup, but as you can tell they’re skating well, feeling more comfortable every day that they’re on the ice, so, real close," Murray said. "Maybe both fall into the day-to-day category now. It’s encouraging to see what’s going on with their hard work.”

Those new lines, in case you missed Wednesday’s news, are:
Dustin Brown-Anze Kopitar-Wayne Simmonds; Ryan Smyth-Michal Handzus-Justin Williams; Clifford-Stoll-Sturm, and Brad Richardson-Trevor Lewis-Kevin Westgarth.

Check back later for more at www.latimes.com/sports

-- Helene Elliott

Photo: Marco Sturm. Credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images.

Kings' lines shaken ... but will they be stirred?

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Even for Terry Murray, this was a major shakeup.

The Kings’ coach, known for frequently mixing his lines, revamped the top three trios in practice Wednesday and will use the new configurations Thursday at Staples Center against the Nashville Predators.

“The blender’s out, eh?” left wing Ryan Smyth said, smiling.

Shaking things up in hopes of stirring the Kings out of a four-game losing streak, Murray came up with these lines:

Dustin Brown-Anze Kopitar-Wayne Simmonds

Smyth-Michal Handzus-Justin Williams

Kyle Clifford-Jarret Stoll-Marco Sturm

The fourth line will be the same, with Brad Richardson, Trevor Lewis and Kevin Westgarth. Left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky is almost ready to return from the ankle injury he sustained Dec. 26, but he won’t play Thursday. The defense pairs will stay the same.

“As I said to the players this morning in our meeting, 39 games and we’re four games now that we have not won. It’s time for a change,” Murray said. “There’s been some very good games, some great team effort, some great line looks this year, but right now we need to get some attention back. I think we just got away from some of the details of the game and that to me is that emotional connection to the game for 60 minutes.

“We’re doing a great job for 40, 45 minutes. We’re outshooting teams and looking at our scoring chances against that we do every game, we’ve got a wide margin on that one. The bottom line is winning games and that’s why I’m changing up some things.”

A few points: Handzus normally centers the shutdown line, but Murray said he wants Handzus to contribute offensively. Interesting considering the Slovakian center’s goal against Chicago on Monday was his first in 20 games and only his fifth this season.

“It felt even longer. I was surprised only 20 games,” said Handzus, who recalled playing with Smyth a few times on the power play last season but played alongside Williams when both were Flyers.

“If you play with those guys I’m sure it’s going to be a more offensive role. I’m not going to change my two-way game but I’ve got to produce more for sure.”

Murray said Handzus has played a more offense-oriented role in the past and can do it again. “He’s got a pretty good history of being a player who’s played and made pretty good plays,” Murray said. “So I’m going to give him an opportunity with still respect to the checking part of the game, to play with two players who are having good years on the offensive part of it. I think that they can build on the offensive part of the game with Zeus in the middle. He’s a pretty creative guy, he thinks that part of it. He’s got pretty good hands to make plays and I’m going to give it a look for a little while.”

Murray said he was reluctant to switch Brown from right wing, where he has thrived, to left wing but felt compelled to do something. It has been obvious that Sturm, who had major knee surgery last May, isn’t physically ready to become the productive top-line left wing the Kings hoped he would be.

“I think that Marco’s still going through training camp. I think he’s behind the play,” Murray said. “There’s a little bit too many situations where there’s too much space between him and the puck and the support is not where it needs to be right now. So I’m going to back away on it and put him in a situation where he can keep getting his game conditioning and his legs under him and still play in the game and have a little more responsibility with Stoll and with Clifford as that line that’s going to match up on the checking part of things.”

Also, Jonathan Bernier will start in goal. He has recorded two of his four victories this season against Nashville.

Check www.latimes.com/sports later for more.

-- Helene Elliott

Photo: Kings coach Terry Murray. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press.

Final at Staples Center: Kings 4, Ducks 1

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The Kings on Sunday picked up where they left off before the Christmas break. Unfortunately for the Ducks, they did the same.

Dustin Brown had a goal and an assist, Marco Sturm earned his first point as a King in his third game, and Jonathan Bernier stopped 18 shots to lead the Kings to a 4-1 victory before an announced standing-room-only crowd of 18,313 at Staples Center.

It was the fourth triumph in five games for the Kings (21-12-1) and fourth loss in five games for the Ducks (18-17-4).

All the scoring came during the second period.

The Kings struck first, 15 seconds in. Matt Greene took a shot from the right point that ended up in a crowd and was deflected by Kyle Clifford. Michal Handzus swatted at it but it went off the stick of Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler and to the left side of the slot. Wayne Simmonds was stationed there for the short shot and his eighth goal this season, although its only his first at home.

That lead didn’t last long. Ryan Getzlaf controlled the puck along the boards in the Kings’ zone and passed it to the blue line for Toni Lydman, whose long shot was deflected by Matt Beleskey at the 47-second mark.

A classic counterattack enabled the Kings to regain the lead at 9:10 of the second period. The Ducks had been putting some pressure on Bernier but Brown controlled the puck in his own zone and made a long lead pass to Anze Kopitar. Jonas Hiller stopped the first shot but the rebound went to the left side, where Sturm pounced on it. Hiller stopped that, too, but Kopitar potted the rebound to extend his team-leading goal total to 15.

A giveaway by the Ducks in their own zone created an opportunity for Justin Williams to score the Kings’ third goal, at 12:55. Joffrey Lupul had the puck in his feet but couldn’t play it cleanly, giving Williams the chance to steal it and walk in on Hiller until he was about 20 feet out and lift a wrist shot.

Good puck movement on the power play generated the Kings’ fourth goal, at 17:57 of the second period, the last shot Hiller saw before he was yanked and replaced by Curtis McElhinney. Jack Johnson, playing the left point, passed to Drew Doughty, who shot through a crowd. The puck came out to the slot, where Brown rifled it home for his 14th goal this season.

Look for more later at www.latimes.com/sports

--Helene Elliott

Photo: The Kings' Wayne Simmonds ends up on top of the Ducks' Corey Perry after the two squared off during the third period Sunday at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Kings, Ducks ready for Boxing Day game

Bernier_300 Happy day after Christmas, or Boxing Day to our Canadian friends.

The Kings and Ducks arrived at Staples Center on Sunday before workers were finished changing the surface after the Clippers’ victory over Phoenix, a game that started at noon. The Staples crew is accustomed to quick changeovers but this one was tight — and the quality of the ice, which stays beneath the court and can be iffy under the best of circumstances, is sure to be dubious.

The Kings will have a new/old look for their game against the Ducks. Jonathan Bernier got the start in goal, and Coach Terry Murray said the rookie would get at least one more start in the upcoming stretch of four games in five nights. He said he wasn’t sure which game Bernier will play, but he’s trying to make sure Jonathan Quick gets rest and that Bernier regains his confidence and can be a reliable backup.

Bernier won his last start, at Nashville on Dec. 18, one of only three wins in his eight starts. But Murray said he was encouraged by Bernier’s performance in that game.

“I saw a player who has more of an aggressive attitude, challenged shooters, looked very confident after being out of the lineup for an extended period of time but came back and showed the confidence to the team that he was ready. He was solid,” Murray said.

In addition, Marco Sturm will start the game on the top line, with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. Brad Richardson, who had been on the left side, moved to the fourth line with Trevor Lewis and Alexei Ponikarovsky.

Sturm played there late in the Kings’ 3-2 victory over Edmonton on Thursday after being eased back into the lineup on the fourth line.

“I think it’s time to just get him going. He’s got a couple of games under his belt now,” Murray said. “I spoke with him this morning before the practice about getting back into hockey and skating and feeling good again and he said he felt much better in the third period, more instinctive in his game.”

The timing isn’t there yet. “I’m going to push him a little bit on this,” Murray said. “I don’t want to say, ‘OK, take your time to get into it.’ You’ve got to demand a little bit more and he has to put some pressure on himself to get going.

Continue reading »

After one in Denver: Kings 1, Avalanche 0

The first period featured some thumping hits but no concerted pressure by either team. The Kings emerged with a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal from an unlikely scorer—Rob Scuderi.

The veteran defenseman earned his first goal this season by converting the rebound of his own shot, at 12:26. Dustin Brown had made a good move to go to the net and was cross-checked for his troubles, though nothing was called. Anze Kopitar pounced on the puck and passed it back toward the right point, to Scuderi. Colorado goaltender Craig Anderson stopped Scuderi's first effort but the rebound slid directly back to Scuderi. With Anderson in the middle of a crowd by the left post, Scuderi was able to slip the puck past a desperate defender from the top of the circle.

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick stopped seven Colorado shots.

As promised, left wing Marco Sturm made his Kings debut and played alongside Trevor Lewis and Alexei Ponikarovsky. He was credited with four minutes and 17 seconds’ ice time in five shifts.

We’ll have more later at www.latimes.com/sports
Helene Elliott in Denver



Marco Sturm ready for Kings debut

Greetings from Denver, where there’s a lot of snow in the mountains but none downtown though it’s about 30 degrees colder than it was on Monday.

As expected, left wing Marco Sturm was activated from the non-roster injured list and is scheduled to make his Kings and season debut Tuesday night against the Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.

Sturm, acquired by the Kings from Boston on Dec. 11 for future considerations — which consist of taking his salary off the cap-strapped Bruins’ payroll — last played on May 1. He underwent extensive surgery on his right knee May 18.

He had been skating with the Bruins before the Kings acquired him and picked up his activity during this five-game trip. He went to Coach Terry Murray after Monday’s practice and said he felt ready to go and eager for a new beginning.

He’s scheduled to start on the fourth line, with Trevor Lewis and Alexei Ponikarovsky, but line combinations tend to be fluid with Murray behind the bench.

“Nervous, excited, a new team, obviously, makes it even more exciting,” Sturm said when asked how he felt after Tuesday’s morning skate. “As soon as I knew I’m going to get out of Boston, I think maybe it’s a good thing to start fresh again and start a new, key part of my career and hopefully in a good way.”

Sturm, 32, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in December 2008 and came back in the 2009-10 season to score 22 goals in 76 games, the seventh time he had scored 20 goals or more. When he returned from the first knee surgery, adjusting to the speed and timing of the game was a big hurdle, he said, as was getting into battles.

“It’s more in the head than in the legs,” he said. “Sometimes you have to battle. That’s why it takes probably a few games to get used to it again but I hope it’s going to be not as hard.

“I feel fine. I feel good. I think it’s more mentally right now than anything else.”

He also said he’s comfortable with being eased back into action rather than being put on the first line. Brad Richardson, who had a hat trick in the Kings’ last visit here Oct. 23, is scheduled to start on the top line with Anze Kopitar and right wing Dustin Brown.

"It’s been awhile, so I’ve just got to get used to everything again,” Sturm said. “It’s maybe going to take me awhile too, so I think starting with Lewie and Poni is going to be good and hopefully I can move up from there.”

Playing well enough to move up to the first line is what the Kings hope to see after trying seven players on the left side on that line.

“My goal is to get playing again and get the first few over with and be the same player I was before. I know it’s not going to happen right away and it will maybe take some time.”

A few more notes: Jonathan Quick will start in goal.... Defenseman Willie Mitchell, who sustained a lower-body injury last Thursday at St. Louis, wore a huge brace on his left knee and did not skate but rode the bike. Defenseman Matt Greene, who suffered an apparent concussion last Monday, will be re-evaluated when the team returns to Los Angeles, a club spokesman said.

More in a little while at www.latimes.com/sports

-- Helene Elliott in Denver.

 

Sturm to make Kings debut, Richardson moves to first line, and farewell to a fellow scribe

Greetings from Denver, where it’s sunny and around 50 degrees in late December. Which is a lot better than the blizzard that struck when the Kings were here the last weekend of last season….

The Marco Sturm Era will begin tonight. Coach Terry Murray said he plans to get the newly acquired left wing onto the fourth line, likely with Trevor Lewis at center and Alexei Ponikarovsky on the right side. Brad Richardson, who had a hat trick in his last game here, on Oct. 23, will start on the top line with Anze Kopitar at center and Dustin Brown back on right wing.

Murray had planned to put Sturm on the Kopitar line but changed his mind.

“After the last few days of him practicing and speaking with him, I think it’s important to just get him into a game and get him going a little bit, without putting, I don’t want to say too much, pressure on or too many expectations of performing at peak level with Kopi,” Murray said Monday. “So I’m just going to put him on that fourth line on the left side and get some minutes in, get some shifts in, start to feel the game again and get his legs under him in some game situations.”

He will keep the effective Kyle Clifford-Michal Handzus-Wayne Simmonds line intact and will put Justin Williams back with Ryan Smyth and Jarret Stoll. “Hopefully they can catch fire again and get it going with the offensive part of the game,” Murray said.

Jonathan Quick will start in goal.

Murray’s message to the team Monday in Denver centered on the need for consistency within games and complete performances.

“Certainly against a team like Chicago, the champions, you’ve got to make sure you’re on top of your game every shift, and I thought we let it slip there in the second period,” he said, referring to the Kings’ 3-2 loss at Chicago on Sunday. “We gave them several opportunities and they capitalized on it. We’ve got to get back to an ‘A’ game [Tuesday] with Colorado winning six in a row. They’re playing good. We’re going to have to check well, and we have to get some things going on the offensive part of it again.”

From the Kings comes this note: head athletic trainer Chris Kingsley -- known as "Kinger" -- will work his 1,000th professional game Tuesday.

One more note, and a sad one: Graig Woodburn, who wrote about hockey for the Riverside Press-Enterprise, the Associated Press and more recently weei.com, died Sunday of pancreatic cancer. He was 50 and had moved from California to Boston to be near family during his illness.

To cover hockey you really have to love it and he did — he played the game and was thrilled to be writing about it even though his “real job” was practicing law. His daughter, Lauren, planned to attend the Ducks’ game Monday night at Boston in his honor.

Rest in peace, Graig.

-- Helene Elliott, in Denver.

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