Westgarth goes from ‘stewing in his juices’ into the line-up

Westgarth remains positive (photo: M. Zampelli)

By all accounts, Kevin Westgarth had a great summer. He married his longtime girlfriend and signed a two-year contract extension with the Kings.

Things haven’t been so good since though.

Coming off a season where he played 56 games, roughly two-thirds of the regular season games, he’s only seen action in six of the team’s first 20 games.

“It’s frustrating,” said Westgarth, when asked about his role basically being cut in half so far. “It just gives me opportunity to work hard and just try to improve in practice and just be ready to roll when I get the call and to take advantage of opportunities that are given.”

The time is now, as coach Terry Murray will insert him into the line-up as the fourth line right wing tonight in St. Louis. He’s faced the Blues four times previously and has been credited with a total of eight hits in those games, second only to his stats against the Dallas Stars.

Westgarth has only one scrap in those four games, it came last March vs. the much smaller Cam Janssen – who had previously come on MayorsManor and talked about using videos on HockeyFights.com to scout Westgarth and Kyle Clifford. It didn’t help much that night and Janssen has since moved on to New Jersey.

Last week, Westgarth would have normally been an automatic start in the Kings back-to-back games with the Anaheim Ducks – however, they’re resident tough guy, George Parros, is out of the line-up recovering from eye surgery.

Still, Westgarth says he didn’t like being on the sidelines for those games.

“Not playing is always tough,” he remarked. “Especially when it starts to get a little chippier out there. You’re stewing in your juices sitting there watching, you’re white-knuckling it during the game a little bit.”

The first of those two games, played in LA, seemed to be missing some of the physicality we’ve become used to between the Kings and Ducks. Did he notice the same thing?

“There was definitely more in the second game. The first one was just back and forth so much. We were carrying the play. I’m not sure what their schedule was coming in. But, it’s tough if you’re sluggish off the bat.”

Looking ahead to tonight and the remainder of the schedule, Westgarth continues to remain focused on two things – “I look forward to doing my best and becoming an everyday dependable player.”

A strong showing tonight might get him another start tomorrow against the Stars in Dallas.

The Mayor
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RELATED ARTICLES:

What I’ve learned so far this season… by Kevin Westgarth

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Kings vs Blues preview for TrueHockey.com – posted early today, look at line-up changes

Five Minute Major – an interview with Cam Janssen

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Kevin Westgarth on Willie Mitchell’s fight

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