By most standards — including statistics and subjective viewing — Andrei Loktionov had his most confident, aggressive game last night. Loktionov scored a third-period goal, had three shots on goal — his highest total of the season — and, in general, seemed more confident on the puck and more aggressive away from it. Loktionov has also been rewarded, by Terry Murray, with time on the first power-play unit, and got praise from his coach for his effort against Boston…
MURRAY: “Loktionov, he’s going to settle in, the more he plays in those big situations. He likes the challenge. He’s a competitive player. You’re playing in a position that you haven’t played a lot of, and you’re playing with new linemates, so there’s an adjustment period, but I sure like his aggressive attitude. He’s going after pucks, he’s recovering pucks and staying with that kind of a mindset, which is very important. He’s not hesitant. He’s either right of top of it, or maybe gets caught going the wrong way but I sure like the attitude of, `I’ve got to go do this. This is what I normally do in my look for this read.’ And he stays with it, and it’s starting to fall in place for him.”
If Loktionov continues to play well, he might make things very difficult for the Kings. Marco Sturm is on injured reserve with knee tendinitis, but isn’t expected to be out long-term. The Kings no longer have a spare roster spot, and the regular healthy scratches have been Davis Drewiske, Peter Harrold and either Kevin Westgarth or Alexei Ponikarovsky, so if the Kings wanted to keep Loktionov, they would have waiver-exposure issues anywhere they turned. Of course, that’s getting a little ahead of ourselves, but today, I asked Murray if he had any thoughts about keeping Loktionov with the Kings in the long term.
MURRAY: “We’ll talk that out down the line. I don’t know exactly where Sturm is today (with his recovery) or how soon we’re looking at him coming back into the lineup. There’s a lot of progress with him. Clearly we have to send somebody down when he comes back, so that will be an organization decision. You’re locked into a couple looks only, when you have to make that decision.”