Kings notebook: schedule, players and new PA announcer

Obviously, there’s a lot going on surrounding the Kings at the moment – as the league, their clubs and players try to quickly put things in place to start the season in 10 days and training camps this weekend.

With that in mind, here are some quick tidbits:

– It’s all but official at this point… as reported last night, the Kings will open the 2013 season vs. the Chicago Blackhawks. Scheduled for the afternoon of January 19, there will be a pre-game ceremony where Kings’ players will receive their championship rings and a Stanley Cup banner will be raised above the ice (the new location for banners inside Staples Center).

– Training camp is expected to open on Sunday with medical testing and then on-ice activities should start this coming Monday.

Drew Doughty and  Dustin Brown are expected back in LA tomorrow. Willie Mitchell is already in town, but wasn’t at TSC today.

– Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Slava Voynov are on their way back to LA from Manchester.  MayorsManor has learned that Andrei Loktionov practiced with the Monarchs today and – at the moment – is not expected to be headed here.  That could change in the days to come though.

– There’s no new news on Anze Kopitar’s knee right now.  However, it’s doubtful the Kings would look to Loktinov to fill that role as (a) they already have six centers on the roster and (b) they have too many roster players as it is – which is why there’s no guarantee Nolan will even start the NHL season with the team.

– Today’s voluntary skating session included Jeff Carter, Kyle Clifford, David Drewiske, Colin Fraser, Matt Greene, Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez, Dustin Penner, Jonathan Quick, Mike Richards, Rob Scuderi and Justin Williams.

– Richards, who just returned to LA, on skating with this group for the first time – “It’s been a long time since I’ve skated or played for this long [note: they went for about 70 minutes today]. So, it’s an exciting time and I’m looking forward to getting back. Plus, with a lot of the stuff going on around here, it makes it that much more exciting.”

– Richards on how he’s feeling – “I feel great. I took a lot of time off. I didn’t skate for a bit. I spent a lot of time in the gym, just getting back to a lot of things over the years that have been beaten up. I also took some time to relax and just get away from everything.”

– Scuderi said he’s watched the replay of Game 6 several times since June 11th, where the Devils received a 5-minute major penalty for the hit they put on him – “Certainly it’s not the ideal way you want to contribute to a game, but it’s fortunate the guys took advantage.”

– Greene on seeing Martinez for the first time since his facial surgery and on more guys coming back to town over the past few days – “He looked good. It’s good to see him healthy and enjoying himself. He took a pretty nasty hit, so it’s good to see him back…Just getting bodies around is great (too). It’s hard to keep skating when there’s only been five or six guys out there…I’m excited to play some 5-on-5 again, not just the shinny where you develop bad habits. We want to get back to playing a more structured game.”

– Quick was cleared to play on Monday and said he’s ready to go for the home opener. He also talked quite a bit about his recent relationship with Jonathan Bernier, the workload over a 48-game compressed schedule, medical concerns in December and much more. We’ll have a detailed article up with all the details later today or first thing in the morning.

– Tomorrow at 4pm PST the Kings will host a press conference at Staples Center for media. Announced attendees include Tim Leiweke, Dean Lombardi, Luc Robitaille and Darryl Sutter. The event will be broadcast live on Fox Sports West and streamed on the team’s website. FSW will also air a special 30-minute season preview next Wednesday.

– Finally, it’s difficult news to break because it’s nearly impossible to replace the late, great David Courtney – however, the Kings have hired Dave Joseph of ESPN710 as the new PA announcer. As you may have heard Joseph talk about on our David Courtney special, the two had worked together for more than a decade in the radio world. Joseph considered Courtney his mentor and would often fill in for him when needed at Staples Center and other venues. Although there hasn’t been any official word yet on how the Kings will honor Courtney this season, something should surface soon.

Much more to come.

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