The Kings will go with several new line combinations tonight.
Plus, a possible Elvis sighting at Staples Center?
* Alexei Ponikarovsky returns to the line-up and will move all the way up to the top unit with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. With his old team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, coming to town on Monday night, was it important to get back into a game before then? Poni said “Some things just fell into place with me coming back from the injury. It just happens to be right before Toronto comes in. But, definitely, you want to play against the team you spent a lot of time with in the past. It’s always exciting.”
* The Kings best player right now, Ryan Smyth, will stay on the second line with Michal Handzus and Justin Williams.
* Marco Sturm appears to be in coach Terry Murray’s dog house…or at least near the entry way. After practice yesterday he first shook his head in disapproval when asked about Sturm’s play on Thursday night. Then, when it was suggested his expectations may be too high for a player coming off a serious knee injury, he was quick to disagree – saying it’s “not unreasonable” and pointing to Pavel Bure’s 57 goals after similar operations. Sturm will be on the third line tonight with Jarret Stoll and
* As I reported on twitter yesterday, coach Terry Murray said he wants to get Kevin Westgarth in the line-up tonight and Monday vs. the Leafs. So, he’ll go with Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis and Westgarth on the fourth line vs. the Blue Jackets.
* Lewis turned 24 today. Perhaps lost on his generation is the fact that January 8th is probably best known as the birth date of one of rock-n-roll’s true legends, Elvis Presley. Man, I sure hope somebody has picked up on this – Elvis would be a way better nickname than Louie!
* On defense – Willie Mitchell will rejoin the D-core and (in somewhat of a surprising move) be paired with Jack Johnson. Most probably would have expected him with Drew Doughty – who instead will be paired with Rob Scuderi. Matt Greene and Alec Martinez will be the other defenseman.
How long will any of this last? Well…
How Can the Kings Get Back on Track? – exclusive players comments on what’s needed