Loktionov’s learning curve

It’s been an up-and-down road trip for Kings rookie Andrei Loktionov. He started it on left wing, where he never looked entirely comfortable, then seemed to elevate his game in certain areas when moved back to center for the Washington game. Loktionov had one goal and two assists in three games back at center, but today, Loktionov skated in a fourth-line role in practice, and Terry Murray indicated that Loktionov would likely be a healthy scratch for tomorrow’s game against the New York Islanders. Why? Murray explained that there were parts of Loktionov’s game last night against the New York Rangers that caused concern…

MURRAY: “Lokti, I thought the game got a little heavy for him there at times. I’m just seeing an NHL level of play, right now, starting to expose a young player. The games are big, they’re intense, they’re close. Everything really matters. Every play is critical, those 1-on-1s, those 3-on-3 — whether it’s in your D-zone or the offensive zone — there are situations right now that are happening a little too fast. In the middle of the ice, though, he’s good. He’s getting back, tracking back. He is very strong on his stick. He did recover some pucks last night, what I call stealing the puck from behind.

“But in other areas, there’s just some other stuff that is happening that is not what I want to see right now. So, it’s just coming too fast for him, maybe. It’s a long road trip, intense play. Everything is just exposing him in some situations that are kind of a constant for me. That was some of the drills we did today, to bring a focus and attention to it, but I’m going to back away probably, tomorrow, and get a more experienced player in that situation.”

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