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Michael Amadio pronounces himself ready to make a difference with the Kings

Michael Amadio got used a long time ago to having his name mispronounced, so it rolls off his back when he hears it butchered today.

His Italian surname is pronounced "Ah-madd-io." But even after he has reached the NHL, it's occasionally read wrong. In a January game, a visiting broadcaster pronounced it "Amma-dio."

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"It's been better lately, but all the way growing up, everyone's had a lot of trouble trying to pronounce it," Amadio said.

Amadio gave up on correcting people. Besides, he's doing his part to make a name for himself with the Kings. He has been a regular part of the lineup as a reliable bottom-six center, during a playoff push, and he plays on their second power-play unit. It's a considerable role for someone whose goal in training camp was to make the team.

Yet, there was Amadio in the team photo Monday, a reaffirmation of his place after general manager Rob Blake said last month that Amadio and defenseman Paul LaDue would be with the Kings for the rest of the season.

"It's definitely a big boost of confidence," Amadio said. "I'm feeling a lot more comfortable here now. All the guys have been great. But to hear that, it's just a little motivation to stay up here."

Amadio, 21, earned a long look primarily with his responsible play. Coach John Stevens praises Amadio's ability to execute with a "low-panic threshold." Amadio positions himself well with and without the puck and has shown an active stick that bothers opponents.

It was those aspects that first caught the eye of the Kings as they watched Amadio progress from a third-round draft pick in 2013. Assistant general manager Michael Futa credits Amadio's junior hockey coach, Stan Butler, for instilling that style.

"This kid got under more sticks and turned over more pucks than anybody," Futa said. "Part of his M.O. is that he goes into different leagues and he establishes trust with coaches, and then the offense flourishes."

Amadio blossomed into a 50-goal scorer in his last season in junior hockey before he began his pro apprenticeship. At the time of his call-up with the Kings in January, Amadio was on a 17-game point streak with the Ontario Reign, and it wasn't just because he played on a line with NHL veteran Matt Moulson.

"I think I had a slow start to the year offensively and then I kind of found my groove again back down there and brought it up here," Amadio said. "It's been a lot of fun."

But it's Amadio's two-way play that will keep him up with the Kings. Futa likens his reliability to that of another blue-collar Kings forward.

"I think he's got every chance to be Trevor Lewis II," Futa said. "He's not going to score a ton, but you're going to count on him on a lot."

Maybe by then Amadio's name will be better known among out-of-town public-address announcers and broadcasters. Amadio only cares that his name is on the back of an NHL jersey.

"Everything I've been doing is for this," he said. "To play in the NHL is my dream."

NHLPA player poll

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Anze Kopitar made the top five in two categories in the NHL Players' Assn. poll, which collects opinions from more than 500 players, from the preseason to January.

Kopitar was voted fourth among most difficult forwards to play against, after Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid and Patrick Kane. In a poll for most difficult players to play against, Kopitar was fifth.

Jonathan Quick was voted second, behind Carey Price, among most difficult goalies to score on. Drew Doughty was second among most difficult defensemen to play against, after Erik Karlsson.

UP NEXT

VS. WASHINGTON

When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 790.

Update: The Capitals' Alex Ovechkin sits on 598 goals and can become the 20th player to reach 600. Braden Holtby was removed early for the third time in six starts Tuesday in Washington's 4-0 loss to the Ducks. Philipp Grubauer has a 1.34 goals-against average in three appearances against the Kings.

Twitter: @curtiszupke

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