Murray envisions ‘gritty, heavy’ fourth line for Kings
The Kings’ first three lines seem set, though nothing is ever permanent on Coach Terry Murray’s lineup card.
In the first two days of training camp, Murray had Anze Kopitar centering for Ryan Smyth and Dustin Brown; Jarret Stoll between Scott Parse and Justin Williams; and Michal Handzus between Alexei Ponikarovsky and Wayne Simmonds, trios that should stay together into exhibition games.
On what he envisions as a “gritty, heavy” fourth line, Murray gave enforcer Kevin Westgarth an edge on the right side. But he’s keeping 19-year-old Brayden Schenn and 20-year-old Andrei Loktionov in the mix even though they’re skill players and initially wouldn’t get big minutes.
“Loktionov’s got a year under his belt at the pro level. Schenn is one of those world-class young players out there and I feel very comfortable with him coming into the training camp, putting him in exhibition games to play against top guys,” Murray said Sunday.
“Younger players I would put in a fourth-line role just to get acclimated to the league. To play minutes, to be kind of that puck-possession, grind-it line and still have the ability to make plays and put some points on the board. I’ve done it in the past and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it if it came down to that.”
Scrappy Richard Clune, a fan favorite, hopes to grab a spot on that line. To help his chances, he changed his diet and made his body more efficient.
“The last three years has been a bit of a challenge for me, finding my way in pro hockey. It’s taught me a lot about myself,” he said. “Coming out of junior I was just like any other kid, a little bit overwhelmed. I’ve really taken an interest in nutrition and off-ice training. …
“When I was really young, 14, 15 and 16, I was a very focused kid. My parents had me in private school and when I got out into the real world I might have lost some of that structure and it’s taken trial and error to find that.”
Left wing Jason Jaffray tore one ligament and sprained another in his left knee during a scrimmage Saturday. He will be examined this week to determine a timetable for his return. … Defenseman Toni Lydman, whose Ducks debut has been delayed after he experienced acute double vision, worked out lightly Sunday. He will continue to undergo tests and wasn’t cleared to practice. … Teemu Selanne, Kyle Chipchura, Long Beach’s Emerson Etem, Matt Beleskey and Troy Bodie scored goals in Sunday’s intrasquad scrimmage.
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