Raitis Ivanans returns to the lineup tonight, in place of Teddy Purcell. Terry Murray said, as you will can below, that the move wasn’t dictated by dissatisfaction with Purcell, but regardless, Purcell clearly isn’t moving in the right direction. He started off on the second line, playing 16-17 minutes per game, then dropped the fourth line, and now he’s out of the lineup. That’s not exactly a trajectory that projects satisfaction.
Here’s what Murray said this morning about the Ivanans-for-Purcell swap:
MURRAY: “It’s not a dissatisfaction. He still has that skill level that is very intriguing for us. He can move up to the higher lines if necessary. But right now, with our power play, he’s not on it. Williams has moved there, and Parse still continues to show us good things, so I’m looking at, in this particular game here, I’m looking at Atlanta’s game from last night and they’ve got a fourth line that’s pretty heavy and gritty. The other team dictates the move for me.”
That “heavy and gritty” line explains the presence of Ivanans. To follow up, I asked Murray about the Carolina game and if he felt that without Ivanans and Sean O’Donnell in the lineup, that the Kings were a little light…
MURRAY: “No, I didn’t feel that way at all. I felt very comfortable. I thought our game was good. The players showed a lot of confidence in playing against that team. When you play certain teams, you know there’s going to be a style. I think Carolina shows right now, in a tough situation, that they’re just trying to get a win, most importantly. I didn’t expect them to bring a different style of a game. I knew they would play hard and heavy, but I didn’t expect them to be on the other side of the game, where they need for Raitis would be there.”