Doughty ready, and praise for Voynov

Drew Doughty has not yet officially been cleared for game action, but that is considered a formality and Doughty is expected to play tomorrow night against Phoenix. Doughty has made it through three days of contact practices, and barring any surprises, will be removed from injured reserve at the same time Slava Voynov is assigned to Manchester of the AHL. Terry Murray said Doughty “has come through the practice feeling good. He did some extra work at the end of the practice, down at the far end, 1-on-1, pushing and battling, and he came out of that fine. He’s ready to go. He will play.’’

Here’s what Doughty said about his return to game action…

DOUGHTY: “I felt good. I’ve felt good for a while now. I’m ready to play whenever. It’s just up to the training staff, up to the coaches, to put me back in the lineup.’’

I (jokingly) asked Doughty whether he was concerned about getting his lineup spot back after Voynov’s two-goal, one-assist effort last night…

DOUGHTY: “He’s been playing well. He obviously played well last night too, and he showed that he can compete at this level. I think he has in every game that he’s played. So he’s been playing great, but at the same time hopefully I can get back in the lineup. [laughs]’’

Voynov certainly made an impression last night in Dallas, but in the end, the Kings decided not to alter his development track. Management feels that, in the recent past — most notably with Oscar Moller and possibly with Kyle Clifford — they have pushed prospects to the NHL and risking stunting their development a bit, and they would prefer to see Voynov go to the AHL and play consistently and play well until the next opportunity comes up. I asked Murray what his message to Voynov would be after this five-game stint with the Kings…

MURRAY: “I think what he’s got to know, from the coaches, is that he’s an NHL player. That’s the bottom line on it, summing it up in a nutshell. He played very well every game. He’s showing the intensity, the readiness every shift. He has come to the practices with the NHL attitude of learning something every day. He’s now, to me, based on what I’ve seen — and that’s all I can base my opinion on — he’s an NHL player.’’

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