The Kings’ two young Russians, forward Andrei Loktionov and defenseman Slava Voynov, will get a chance to shine tonight, with Loktionov playing left wing on the second line and Voynov in a high-profile pairing with Willie Mitchell. I asked Terry Murray about the possibility of both players being a part of the power-play unit as well. It’s more natural of Voynov, given that he’s replacing Alec Martinez, a regular on the second power-play unit, but is it also possible that Loktionov will get power-play time as well?
MURRAY: “Absolutely. It’s very possible. Voynov, for sure, will be on the power play. When we look at situations where we call players up, a guy like Martinez is a power-play player and we need to replace him whenever there’s an injury. (Voynov) will definitely fit on the power play. Loktionov, I’ll be looking to see him out on the power play at times also.”
Both players are young and trying to show that they belong at the NHL level. The motivation is obvious, so Murray said he doesn’t feel the need to say anything pointed to either player about taking advantage of an opportunity.
MURRAY: “No, I’m not going to motivate them. It’s just me telling you guys right now, and they can read it in the (media). This is an opportunity for them to show us what they can do. They’re up because of I.R., but they’re not kids. They’ve been pros now for a couple years, so it’s an opportunity to show the organization where their game is at, and how they’re going to fit in and impress us and force us to do something, force us to think about them. It’s a great opportunity for them. … Pro players have to motivate themselves, absolutely. That’s your job, as a player, is to get yourself ready to play hockey. It’s an 82-game season, it’s a grind out there and if there’s any need for anybody to go kick your butt, to get you going, you’ve got some problems.”