Today's rookie game between the Mighty Ducks and Kings may be the first step in a larger agreement, as officials from those two teams, the San Jose Sharks and Phoenix Coyotes are discussing holding a rookie tournament next season.
The Ducks and Kings skate today at the Arrowhead Pond in a 1 p.m. game. Admission is free. Stanislav Chistov, Alexei Smirnov and Ilja Bryzgalov--three of the Ducks' top prospects--will participate. The Kings' lineup will include Michael Cammalleri, Yanick Lehoux and Jared Aulin.
"This gives us a better chance to evaluate our players," Duck General Manager Bryan Murray said. "We'll see where this goes. We've talked about having a bigger event with those other teams and everyone seems to want to try it."
The tournament would begin next year, possibly in Scottsdale, Ariz., as Coyote officials have indicated they would like to play host to the first one. The tournament probably will rotate between cities after that.
"I would be interested as long as it would be done the right way," King Coach Andy Murray said. "We have a pretty good rookie camp here in July that has created a lot interest.... I would rather have the kids around [veterans] for 10 days like we do. I think the way we do it is pretty good, but if they have a little tournament, say at the end of the first week of camp, that would be fine. Some of these rookie things can get to be pretty goofy."
Today's game between the Ducks and Kings will be played without fighting.
"That's the only way you can play that kind of a game," Andy Murray said. "Otherwise these kids are going to pound on each other. We want to see who can play the game. There's no sense in them fighting. We know who's tough."
Still, tough guys Kip Brennan (Kings) and Cam Severson (Ducks) will play, even if on-ice shenanigans are not allowed.
"Guys will do anything to make a hockey team," Bryan Murray said. "If we let them fight, then guys are going to go out and do that to try to catch management's eye."
The Ducks also are exploring moving a portion of their training camp out of Anaheim next season.
The Kings have canceled Saturday night's intrasquad game.
"With the addition of the rookie game [today against the Ducks], we thought we were overloading our guys a little bit," Andy Murray said.
Veteran left wing Denny Lambert, placed in the minor league practice group this week, scored two goals in the Ducks' scrimmage Wednesday.
"I had to do something," said Lambert, who was upset Monday to learn he wasn't with the NHL team for practice.
Joffrey Lupul, the Ducks' No. 1 draft pick in June, was cleared to begin practicing Wednesday but was held out of contact drills. Lupul said the "best-case scenario" would have him playing in Sunday's exhibition game against the Kings.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who had a couple of shaky moments in giving up three goals during Wednesday's scrimmage, will start in goal against Minnesota Friday in the Ducks' first exhibition game. Goalie Martin Gerber, a rookie from Switzerland, also will play. Gerber is competing with Bryzgalov and J.F. Damphousse to be Giguere's backup.