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Kings’ Jake Muzzin says he’ll be ready for season opener

Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin battles Canucks left wing Alex Burrows during a game on Nov. 8, 2014, at Staples Center.

Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin battles Canucks left wing Alex Burrows during a game on Nov. 8, 2014, at Staples Center.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin cited the statistic, almost cheerfully. “Three for three,” he said.

No, he wasn’t talking about baseball. It was his injury record in preseason games played in Colorado. Two years ago, it was an injured knee and last season he suffered a broken thumb. On Sunday, Muzzin suffered an upper-body injury in Denver.

Note to Kings: Avoid traveling to Colorado in preseason next year.

Still, Muzzin was optimistic enough to say he will be ready for the season opener Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center. That is encouraging news for the Kings since their No. 1 pair on defense happens to be Drew Doughty and Muzzin.

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More clouded is the status of veteran defenseman Matt Greene (upper-body injury) who also got hurt Sunday against the Avalanche.

Unlike Greene, Muzzin has resumed skating and got in some work after practice Thursday.

“The only concern with those two guys being hurt is it’s one thing to be ready, it’s another not to have training camp,” Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said. “Greener and Muzz have played five and 10 minutes ... no, Muzz has played in two games. He played in Anaheim.

“Greener’s played a grand total of 10 minutes, so we’re stretching there.”

With the regular season less than a week away, Sutter is moving beyond assessment mode of the youngsters.

“Let’s make sure the big guys are ready. There’s a point where you get past evaluation,” he said. “Either they’re helping you or they’re not. Training camp and preseason, the first two games, they are not that important. Getting guys in games. After that, it matters because teams start putting more players in. Coaches start putting some matchups in and paying attention to your system detail. After that, it becomes who can actually help you win and who can’t.”


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