With the off-season departure of several veterans, the Kings have turned to young centers to pivot key depth lines. Nick Shore, 23 and Andy Andreoff, 24, are operating in positions – or, perhaps, “boxes” – held in recent seasons by veterans such as Mike Richards, Jarret Stoll and Colin Fraser.
The season is only five games old, and the Kings are yet to play on the road, so it’s too early to have a clear picture painted of the players’ performances. But in Sunday night’s win over Colorado – or, for the first period, at least – the Andreoff line was highly effective as he, Jordan Nolan and Kyle Clifford had swarmed the opposing net and played with an energy that the rest of the team fed off.
“Yeah, I thought our line had a pretty good start in the first period,” Andreoff said. “I kind of ruined that by getting kicked out, but it’s good getting that confidence going playing together. The more games we play, the better we’ll play. Hopefully we can build of that first period and bring it to the next game.”
So, about “getting kicked out.” Andreoff and Avalanche forward Cody McLeod ran afoul of NHL Rule 46.7, “Fighting After the Original Altercation,” and were both assessed fighting majors and game misconducts.
The rule states:
A game misconduct penalty shall be imposed on any player who is assessed a major penalty for fighting after the original altercation has started.
Notwithstanding this rule, at the discretion of the Referee, the automatic game misconduct penalty may be waived for a player or goalkeeper in the altercation if the opposing player was clearly the instigator of the altercation.
Sutter felt that the officials had the opportunity to keep the Andreoff-McLeod altercation from happening.
“I didn’t like the fact that [Andy] got kicked out. I thought it was clearly an officiating mistake,” he said. “After the Skille-Nolan fight, clearly 55 (McLeod) for them was involved in that, too, so they should’ve handled that right away and nothing would’ve happened. For anybody who knows anything about hockey, nothing would’ve happened if the referees would’ve taken care of 55 right away.”
After the original fight, according to highlights available at LAKings.com, referee Tim Peel restrained McLeod before skating to the penalty box area to communicate with the off-ice officials. At the 2:02 mark of the video below, a replay shows that as referee Kyle Rehman hovered around Kyle Clifford, Andreoff and McLeod, McLeod gave a two-handed jab to Andreoff’s back before the two engaged each other in the offending bout, earning game misconducts.
Andreoff said the secondary incident grew out of the exchange involving Nolan.
“I guess I just didn’t really like the way McLeod was talking to Noley,” he said. “He was kind of chirping him, I guess because he fought Skille. I didn’t really know about the rule, but lesson learned now, so I won’t do that again.”
The incident followed a productive 4:14 of ice time for Andreoff, who took two shots on goal and was on the ice for eight Los Angeles shot attempts and only one Colorado shot attempt, according to statistics provided by War-on-Ice.
“It would’ve been nice to see Andy not get kicked out so that they could’ve played more,” Sutter said. “It was the first game that they demonstrated that they could play to their strengths as a threesome. … If they’re just five-to-seven minute players, then that doesn’t fit either very well. The fourth line, they have to have an identity.”