Search continues on the first line - LA Kings Insider

Today in practice, Alexei Ponikarovsky skated on the first line with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. Tomorrow? Well…check back tomorrow. Over the past 10 days, Ponikarovsky has gone from a first-line winger to a healthy scratch to a fourth-line winger to a first-line winger. To be certain, none of this takes place because Terry Murray is bored and likes spending his time drawing up line combinations on napkins. The Kings have yet to find a consistent first-line left winger, so Murray feels the need to tweak things and hope that magic happens. (If you listen carefully, you can hear Murray tapping, “Please trade for a winger” in Morse code.) Ponikarovsky practiced in a first-line look today, but Murray wouldn’t commit to keeping that Ponikarovsky-Kopitar-Brown line together in tomorrow’s game. Much of that will probably depend on the status of Wayne Simmonds, who is a possibility to play tomorrow, as well as the status of Ryan Smyth.

MURRAY: “I just keep looking for that player to fit there with Kopitar. That’s probably the place I’m looking all of the time, with, what can I get here that’s really going to make that line have good chemistry, good feel and be very effective on a consistent basis? So that’s why I do what I do. I’m finding, though, that with Stoll and Smyth and Williams, they go back together last night and they had a good game. I’m finding that kind of consistency with them, so I’ll probably not touch that one in the near future. I’ll let them play. Hopefully everything starts to fall into place, with some results, but I sure liked the way they cycled and the way they had offensive-zone time. But the search goes on, with Kopi’s line.”

Question: You’ve gone back to Ponikarovsky in that spot a few times this season. Is that just a situation where you’re hoping the light comes on, that something clicks?

MURRAY: “That’s the right word, clicks. You just hope that something starts to click. Chemistry is a very mystical thing. It clicks or it doesn’t. There are reads, plays happen and there are some signs, obviously, in the game that you look for, off cycles, off O-zone play, off reads and support. Right now, it’s just not there. So I’ll see what I do after I finish up this afternoon, and start messing around with the lines again.”

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.