A quick ascent for King

A year ago, Dwight King was in the East Coast Hockey League. A week ago, he was in the American Hockey League. Now he’s the first-line left winger for an NHL team. That’s not a bad career trajectory. King will get a chance, tonight, to play on the Kings’ first line with center Anze Kopitar and right winger Dustin Brown. King earned solid reviews after his NHL debut Wednesday, when he played 11 minutes in a third-line role.

Before his call-up, King had been skating in Manchester with Andrei Loktionov and Oscar Moller, so he’s accustomed to playing on a high-skill line, but clearly this will be another step up in class…

KING: “It was a big surprise today when I walked in and saw the lineup, but it’s good. I think it doesn’t change what I do. Those are both obviously very skilled guys, so I’m just going to go out there and work hard and hopefully create a little more space for them, so they can do what they’re so good at. I’ll just kind of go with it, and take my opportunity when I can.”

And here were Murray’s thoughts on swapping King and Brad Richardson, who now moves back to the third line…

MURRAY: “I’m going to start with that. First of all, I liked what he [King] did with Handzus. His game in the offensive zone was good. He’s a big guy who can get pucks stopped up and hold onto pucks down below the hash marks in the offensive zone. I thought the Kopi line was in and out too often. We need to get more of that puck stopped, and recovering pucks and get some kind of reward off the work that you do to get the puck down there. Our breakouts, our transition, I liked in our game, but the opportunity to have more time spent in the offensive zone needs to be more of a priority for us. It’s not a lack of effort. It’s just a little of looking for a hit, or pressuring, or doing the right thing. Sticks on pucks, get it stopped, to buy time for your linemate to get there for support. It’s just not long enough, and they were caught in between on that line. So I’m going to give Kinger a look, and hopefully it works out fine.”

Question: That first-line left wing spot is one that you seem to have trouble filling consistently…

MURRAY: “Yeah, it is. We’ve had people there. Handzus goes in, as you’ve seen, once in a while. I don’t mind that look. I don’t mind Zeus up there, and he doesn’t mind it. But then it opens up another area that would be a concern. So we’ll give Kinger a look. We had a lot of hope for Scott Parse. That was the deal through the summer time. We really liked his game at times last year. He showed the high-end offensive ability, so we were hoping that was going to work out, but unfortunately there was an injury and that opens the door for other people to get an opportunity.”

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