Scott Parse will make his North American season debut tonight in place of Kevin Westgarth. Parse played the first two games of the season in Europe but didn’t show much and was replaced when Dustin Penner returned to the lineup. After 19 days, Parse gets another look tonight, on the second line with Mike Richards and Dustin Brown. Penner drops to a third-line look, with Jarret Stoll and Brad Richardson, a look the Kings used in the third period of Tuesday’s loss to New Jersey. Parse has potential — he has 16 goals in 66 career games — but has yet to become a lineup regular. Here were Terry Murray’s thoughts today about the move…
MURRAY: “The offensive part of the game is something that we want to get better at. We need better numbers. We’re like third-lowest in the league right now in the offensive category, and we have to get some scoring. Parse is a player that we’ve often talked about, as to why he’s with us. He’s an offensive, creative thinker and he can score some goals. I think he’s getting through his offseason surgery and becoming a healthier player every day. He seems to be skating with more of a purpose out there now in the practice, so I want to get him in and see if he can contribute on that offensive part of the game.’’
Parse’s inclusion in the lineup also led to the question, “What about Trent Hunter?” Signed to a one-year contract after a strong training camp, Hunter has been a healthy scratch for five of the first eight games, and is scheduled to be scratched again tonight.
MURRAY: “His game, in training camp, I thought was pretty good on the offensive side of it. His net presence, we talked about after game. His ability to make plays off the boards on breakouts, that was very good. What you’re juggling here, right now, is an Ethan Moreau, who is giving us that size and the grit and the checking and experience. I like what Brad Richardson is bringing us, with energy and quickness and speed on that third line right now with Stoll. Again, it’s a juggling act. I could probably get (Hunter) in and look for more from him on the offensive part of things, but I’m going to go with Parse here in this game tonight, and not change two players out. We’ll move through this and we’ll see how it goes, and maybe as we get to the next game or two, we’ll see where Hunter fits in.’’