LA Kings coach knows exactly what he wants tonight

The time has finally arrived.

Tonight there will be something more meaningful than an intrasquad scrimmage taking place on the ice at the Kings practice facility.

Sure, it’s not an NHL regular season game – we’ll slowly build back up to that over the next few weeks.

However, a division rival is sending over their best prospects and rookies to take on a Kings team that will include Tyler Toffoli, Brandon Kozun, Jake Muzzin, Nic Deslauriers and others.

Phoenix Coyotes vs Los Angeles Kings at 6pm PST in game one of a two-game tournament. You can watch all the action live on MayorsManor, we’ll post the video stream later today on the homepage.

Head coach Terry Murray walked me through the process of putting the line-up together for tonight…

“We (Murray, Manchester coach Mark Morris and the rest of the coaching staff) get get together with the amateur scouting staff also. Mike Futa (co-director of amateur scouting for the Kings) knows these guys very well. He gives us some advice, recommendations, opinions on what the players’ strength and weaknesses are. So, we try to sit down as a community thing – get our heads together and put players in a position where they can be successful most importantly.”

Second only to ‘Who is starting in goal?’ – perhaps the most often asked question last year of Murray had to do with the line combinations.

For tonight’s rookie game, he said “It won’t look too far away from what we’ve been looking at the last few days. It will be close.”

Which means you can probably expect Linden Vey and Kozun together on one line, with Toffoli and Jordan Weal on a different line. The other line to keep an eye on features Michael Schumacher and Andy Andreoff. Closer to game time I’ll post the official line combos on twitter/facebook.

As for the mindset going into the game, Murray was clear.

“We’re getting ready to win games. That’s the most important thing and that’s the meeting we had the first day they arrived. We explain that the week in front of you is going to be about hard work and about structure and about our LA Kings system play – to get yourself ready to win two hockey games against the Phoenix rookies. That’s what it’s all about.”

He wasn’t done though…

“In saying that, it demands that the players get themselves ready to be able to show us their best look. So, that we can then sort it out as we get into the main camp and see where they might fit.”

As noted yesterday, Murray says Andreoff might fit well in Manchester.

Oh, the goaltending – yes, Martin Jones will get one of the starts. Murray hasn’t announced if it will be today or tomorrow.

In our recently published ranking of the top 10 prospects in the Kings organization, Jones finished number one.  Four of the other nine will be in the game tonight.

The Mayor
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