Zeiler gets the nod over Schenn, others
The Brayden Schenn story is proving to have longer legs than a 15-foot-high table. Every day, seemingly, there’s a new twist, and today’s twist came when Jarret Stoll’s one-game suspension was announced. Would the Kings call up Schenn now? No. Instead, John Zeiler got the call, in part because the Kings are expecting another physical game against the San Jose Sharks in Game 2, and Zeiler has developed a reputation as a fourth-line, grinding, hitting energy player. Zeiler, 28, has been back and forth between the Kings and the Manchester Monarchs since the 2006-07 season, and is in the final year of his contract. Zeiler totaled nine goals and 19 assists in 69 games with the Monarchs this season. After practice today, Kings assistant general manager Ron Hextall talked about the decision to call up Zeiler…
HEXTALL: “We felt like our best option was Trevor Lewis. I think (Terry Murray) can speak to it, but I’m sure you’ve seen it, that Trevor Lewis was our best option to move up at this point.”
Question: Was there any consideration given to calling up Brayden Schenn?
HEXTALL: “We felt like Trevor was our best offensive option to move up. Secondly, we felt that, on the fourth line, John Zeiler is the right guy at this time, in this series.”
Question: Has Zeiler been playing center exclusively in Manchester?
HEXTALL: “He has been playing center all year. John Zeiler has worked extremely hard. He had the one little stint (with the Kings) this year, but he has worked hard for Manchester. He’s their checking guy and, again, at this time we felt that he was our best option, with moving Lewie up and putting Zeiler in the middle on the fourth line.”
Terry Murray said he intended to play Zeiler in Game 2, and it’s likely that he will center Alexei Ponikarovsky and Kevin Westgarth, although Murray said he hadn’t officially decided whether to make Oscar Moller a healthy scratch for a second consecutive game. Regardless, the Kings will be challenged to replace Stoll, who contributes in several areas…
MURRAY: “Stoll is an important player for us. He not only plays a lot of minutes on our second line, and you saw the success they had last night, but he is a key faceoff guy. He’s a power-play point shooter. He’s one of our top penalty killers, really important, certainly, on the penalty-kill faceoff side of it. He’s going to be missed. You’re not going to replace that right-handed shot, right-handed faceoff man. Other guys are going to have to be better, and just dig in and get the job done in that area, but there’s no one that we have that’s going to be able to step in and replace everything that Jarret Stoll brings to our game.”