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Blake gets backing of Crawford

Times Staff Writer

CALGARY -- The questions posed in El Segundo probably will be following Kings defenseman Rob Blake to Canada here for the start of a two-game trip, and will probably be even edgier and to the point.

Uh, Rob, what about that minus-nine, worst in the NHL?

Bring in Coach Marc Crawford for the defense. He was asked whether there would be a message sent to Blake, the way it was to under-performing Ladislav Nagy, made a healthy scratch against Minnesota.

“He’s been more a victim of circumstance,” Crawford said at Wednesday’s practice in El Segundo. “There’s been a big difference of his level of performance than Nagy’s. If you’re going to look at statistics, sometimes they can be misleading and in his case, that is a misleading stat.”

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Blake has company. Defensive partner Lubomir Visnovsky is a minus-eight. Forward Alexander Frolov is a minus-seven.

“It’s been all right,” Blake said of his own play. “There’s always room for improvement. It’s been that way for 17 years, and I’ll keep talking like that. Like I said, I don’t tend to worry too much about statistics. . . .

“For me, statistics like goals, assists and plus-minus, aren’t going to do much for my career anymore. I’m not playing for another contract or anything. It’s trying to get this team to do what we have to do. And be more concerned about the winning atmosphere.”

There was a welcome change of atmosphere after Tuesday’s shootout win against the Wild.

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“I don’t think we’re on a roll by any means,” Blake said. “We’re going into two hostile environments in Calgary and Vancouver and you’ve got to learn to play on the road. That’s a big part of trying to get into the playoffs.”

TONIGHT

at Calgary, 6 PDT, FSN West

Radio -- 1150.

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Site -- Pengrowth Saddledome.

Records -- Kings 2-5; Flames 2-2-2.

Record vs. Flames (2006-07) -- 1-3.

Update -- Off to a so-so start, the Flames blew a 4-0 lead and lost to Colorado in a shootout Tuesday night.

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lisa.dillman@latimes.com


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