Kings’ Brayden Schenn probably won’t play against Panthers
Kings rookie center Brayden Schenn is back but Coach Terry Murray said he doesn’t plan to play the 2009 first-round draft pick against the Florida Panthers in Thursday’s opener of a four-game homestand.
Schenn, 19, rejoined the club Monday after a two-week conditioning assignment with the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs of the American Hockey League and Wednesday practiced on the penalty-killing unit. He has appeared in eight games with the Kings and his pro contract would take effect in a 10th — leaving him one game before the club has to decide his fate.
FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that if the Kings used 19-year-old center Brayden Schenn in a 10th game he would no longer be eligible to return to his junior team. Players can return to junior hockey at any point, but after their 10th game their NHL contracts kick in, bringing them a year closer to free agency.
But the Kings have lost seven of their last eight and that, Murray said, puts undue pressure on Schenn.
“You’re trying to get it turned around right now, and you’re looking to veteran players and to put your best players on a line, or lines, together and let those guys make the difference in the game,” Murray said Wednesday after practice. “I don’t want to throw that responsibility on his shoulders right now.”
Asked if General Manager Dean Lombardi wants to let Schenn maintain his junior eligibility, in part, so he can represent Canada in the World Junior Championships later this month, Murray said, “It hasn’t been discussed at my level. If he does go back to juniors that would be great for Canada.”
Defenseman Matt Greene called a players-only, on-ice meeting at the end of Wednesday’s practice. “After a game, especially right now with us losing games, it’s kind of hard [to talk] because your emotions are kind of high,” Greene said, without discussing the specifics.
Murray said he understands such meetings. “Everyone wants to get going here, everybody wants to win games and there comes a time when enough is enough,” he said.
Left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky (broken finger) and defenseman Willie Mitchell (broken wrist) took part in skating drills after practice. Ponikarovsky could be back next week; Mitchell could return in two weeks. … Forward Dwight King was reassigned to Manchester after going pointless in six games.