Slava Voynov has hit his first bump with the Kings. The rookie defenseman, called up for a second time this season in mid-November, has been a lineup regular since, regularly playing 17 or 18 minutes a game, including power-play time. Voynov will be a healthy scratch tonight, though, for the first time this season. Alec Martinez, a healthy scratch from the previous two games, will return to the lineup, as Willie Mitchell is not yet ready to play again. Voynov has four goals and three assists in 18 games this season, but interim coach John Stevens was not pleased with the first-minute penalty Voynov took Tuesday in Boston, and felt that, overall, his play was a little sloppier than usual.
STEVENS: “We felt that he came up and played extremely well. We were all impressed with the way he played, but I just felt that, last game, he got a little off the beaten path there. I think he tried to do too much on his own. I think he got himself in trouble by maybe trying to do too much and racing around. Sometimes less is more, and I think that was the case last game. He turned a lot of pucks over, which he doesn’t ordinarily do. I think we’ve got other guys, like a guy like Martinez, who has really worked hard to get healthy and get back playing. They’re both guys capable of playing on the power play, so I don’t think it hurts you right now to get removed from a game, to watch.
“I think it’s a good learning experience for him. We met with him this morning and just explained the reasons why, and what we expect from him. I just thought, last game, he got off-page a little, but I really liked the way he used his teammates when he got here. He’s just a really good detail guy, in all parts of the game, both defending and with the puck, and I didn’t see that last game, and I think it’s time to reset the hard drive and get back to the way he’s capable of playing.’’