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Armstrong Is Cautious Because of Concussion

Times Staff Writer

King center Derek Armstrong left Sunday’s exhibition game with a mild concussion, taking King officials into familiar but unwelcome territory.

Armstrong, who was injured when leveled by San Jose’s Kyle McLaren, did not practice Monday. He said he expected to be back in a “couple days” but also said he will need to be cleared by a doctor before getting back on the ice.

“I just have to take a couple days to make sure everything is fine,” Armstrong said. “I just got my bell rung a little.”

Still, this brings back unpleasant memories for the Kings, who lost Adam Deadmarsh and Jason Allison to concussions during the 2002-03 season. Both sat out the 2003-04 season.

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Coach Andy Murray said he originally thought Armstrong was being held for precautionary reasons, then learned he had a concussion.

“I talked with Army and he feels he will be back in a couple days,” Murray said. “But you never know about these things.”

Said Armstrong: “The puck was bouncing because it was bad ice so I dropped my head. I never saw it coming. I was told later it was McLaren.”

Eric Belanger also sat out practice after suffering a bruised shin in Sunday’s game.

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The Kings trimmed their training camp roster to 48 players, allowing Murray to reduce the workouts to two groups. There appeared to be a significant difference between the groups.

“I think there are guys in both groups that we want to look at,” Murray said, then admitted, “I think more of our skill players were in one group.”

Yes there were.

Jeremy Roenick, Luc Robitaille, Pavol Demitra, Craig Conroy, Mattias Norstrom, Mathieu Garon and Lubomir Visnovsky were among the players in one group. Dany Roussin and Jeff Tambellini, neither of who have professional experience, were in the second group.

Belanger, Noah Clarke, Tom Kostopoulos and Jeff Cowan are among those competing for a forward slot. Denis Grebeshkov and Mike Weaver are fighting for a spot on defense.


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