The Kings went through a 50-minute practice at PNC Arena on Monday in advance of their Tuesday game at the Carolina Hurricanes. Below were the lines, as best I could tell.
Iafallo – Kopitar – Toffoli
Pearson – Kempe – Brodzinski
Clifford – Mitchell – Amadio
Andreoff – Shore – Gaborik
Forbort – Doughty
Muzzin – LaDue
Martinez – Folin
With forward Dustin Brown suspended for the next game, it appears forward Jonny Brodzinski will take Brown’s spot on forward Adrian Kempe’s line. Forward Mike Amadio, who hasn’t played the last couple of games looks like he will draw into forward Torrey Mitchell’s line on the spot where forward Marian Gaborik played last game. This was where forward Trevor Lewis played before he was injured Friday at the Florida Panthers.
Gaborik looks like he will jump into right wing on the fourth-line.
Brown talked about his suspension, which was for kneeing Tampa defenseman Mikhail Sergachev on Saturday, and didn’t agree with how the NHL’s Department of Player Safety saw the play.
“No one knows what’s fair anymore. I mean, I saw it differently than they did. They thought I stuck my knee out. I felt like I was going through and he’s sidestepping me. So I hit him with my knee, yeah but it was the result of him making a move laterally when I’m trying to deliver a hit,” Brown said.
Added Brown, “We were coming opposite angles and I was just trying to make an open-ice hit. He’s trying to make a good play, like trying to beat me one-on-one and then he’s going laterally on me. That’s what I was saying, I don’t think I changed the angle. When I think of a knee, I think of a guy sticking his knee out to clip a guy. My play, I thought, was lower-leg contact because he’s trying to get out of the way and I’m coming through on my original path but the league decided I stuck my leg out I guess. I don’t know exactly what their official statement was.”
After practice, Coach John Stevens said that he accepted the NHL’s decision but didn’t agree with it.
This is what the NHL said in its video explaining Brown’s suspension:
It is important to note that this is not a case where a sudden movement by Sergachev creates the knee-on-knee contact through no fault of Brown. When Sergachev makes his move, all contact is avoidable. Brown has sufficient time to attempt a legal, full-body hit or allow Sergachev to pass by him untouched. Instead, he extends his knee to ensure contact will be made in what is a dangerous and unnecessary fashion and while we do not believe that this is a malicious or planned attempt to injure an opponent, the onus remains on the hitter to deliver a legal check.
Regardless of the decision, the Kings need to figure out how to win Tuesday’s game without Brown, one of their most consistent forwards this season.
“It is what it is, so the team has to find a way. We’ve been playing without key guys all year, so it’s just another game that the guys that are playing have to be ready for and you know – just get ready to play,” Brown said.
– Brodzinski seems to have developed some confidence in his scoring touch at the NHL level of late. The forward has goals in back-to-back games and was rewarded by being placed in Brown’s spot on Adrian Kempe’s line at least for Monday’s practice and potentially for Tuesday’s game.
Brodzinski has 16 points in 13 games with the Ontario Reign this season and had 49 points in 59 games last season with the Reign. In three seasons at St. Cloud State he didn’t score fewer than 21 goals per season.
In the NHL, Brodzinski hasn’t seen the same success and has notched six points in 34 games, but the hope is that he can turn this recent scoring surge into more consistent offense.
“I always knew I could do it. Just putting a few in the back of the net feels really nice and I’ve been getting a lot more ice-time the last games. Just a lot of confidence coming into this game here moving forward,” he said.
Brodzinski’s previous forward line with Nick Shore and Andy Andreoff had eight total points in their last two games and has been arguably the Kings’ best trio on this road-trip.
“We really didn’t give them a lot of opportunities to play in our zone and played in their zone pretty much the whole game both of the games so that led to a lot of offensive chances,” he said of that line’s success at the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Brodzinski’s teammates can see the young winger starting to build confidence on recent performances.
“He’s playing really well,” Shore said. “I think when you see the puck go in I think you’re going to build a little confidence off that. He’s making a lot of little plays and he’s getting rewarded for it.”
– Stevens did not have any new information on forward Trevor Lewis, who missed the Kings’ last game at Tampa after slamming into the boards with his back and shoulder Friday at the Florida Panthers following a hit by forward Jared McCann.
Lewis is currently in Los Angeles being seen by team doctors. Stevens has sounded hopeful that Lewis will return to the Kings at some point on this trip, though he won’t be available Tuesday.
– Stevens said the Kings are unlikely to recall a player for Tuesday’s game at the Hurricanes. He also said there’s a possibility the Kings could dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen.
“We do have an option in terms of a roster spot and cap space but the fact that (Brown) is out for one game, we think we have the people here that can put a lineup together to give us a chance to win until (Brown) comes back,” Stevens said.
– In practice, forward Tyler Toffoli appeared to take a stick or puck in the face and started to bleed. He then sat on the bench while he was worked on by a team trainer, and then went back onto the ice to finish drills.
Lead photo via Mike Carlson/Getty Images