February 21 morning skate notes: LaDue doesn't skate, faceoff art - LA Kings Insider

Good afternoon from sunny and clear Denver. The Kings took the Pepsi Center ice at 11:30 a.m. and did not hold any real line rushes, though line rush-type drills that they took part in seemed to suggest the same forward group as used in the Anaheim game. Several additional notes:

-Paul LaDue was not on the ice, nor was he seen in the Kings’ dressing room. Earlier correspondence with hockey operations elicited a “not sure” answer when it was asked if there is anything he’s currently “dealing with,” and Darryl Sutter declined to offer any update. Given this, it’s probably safe to assume he’s not playing tonight. I have another email in and will share additional details should or when I receive them. LaDue logged 17:56 in the 1-0 loss to Anaheim on Sunday – his highest TOI since joining the team – and was on the ice with Peter Budaj pulled, according to the play-by-play log.

-For the first time since his muscle pull against Colorado on February 1, Jordan Nolan participated in in a morning skate or practice from its outset without wearing an off-colored jersey. The Kings have an open roster spot at the moment, but don’t expect Nolan to be activated and get into tonight’s game; he’ll still need some more time. Nolan remained on the ice with Andy Andreoff, so Andreoff likely remains out tonight. Jonathan Quick was also among the goaltending consortium on the ice. Budaj was the first goalie off and is expected to start against the Avalanche.

-Matt Duchene leads all qualified NHL skaters in faceoff percentage at 62.8%, and as a team Colorado ranks second at 53.6%. Nic Dowd doesn’t have along history of facing off at the dot against Duchene, but did pick up some interesting bits. “I’ve only taken a couple against him, but if he’s a lefty and the ref’s on his left side, he’s going to shove that left foot forward, and then as he goes forward with that left foot he’s going to bring his stick through with his hand turned over on his backhand so it makes it pretty challenging for you to even get your stick in there, because his skate’s stopping the other guy’s stick.” When asked whether there were any other players who used similar tactics as Duchene, Dowd named Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux and Ottawa’s J-P Pageau off the top of his head. Los Angeles ranks 10th at 50.6% on the draw, and Dowd clocks in at 49.0%. Does he ever pick up new techniques from anyone he faces? “If guys are comfortable with what they’re doing, guys are much more apt to stay with what they’re doing and try and beat a guy,” he said. “You know what guys are doing around the league. You’ve either played against them or watched it on film and most of the guys trust in what they’re doing and every now and then guys will switch stuff up if they notice a tendency that guys are doing over and over and over. But other than that, it doesn’t change all that much.”

-Calvin Pickard will start in net for the Avs, who will be without Nikita Zadorov (broken ankle), Rene Bourque (concussion) and Erik Johnson (leg). Johnson, who will miss his 35th game of the season tonight, is expected to return later this week but was ruled out tonight. Because Zadorov’s injury occurred in practice yesterday and Colorado hasn’t recalled anyone from AHL-San Antonio, the team currently has only six healthy defensemen. Terry Frei of the Denver Post spoke with Jarome Iginla earlier today; the future Hall of Famer is hoping to get traded to a playoff team, as reported by Joshua Cooper of Puck Daddy during the Avs’ game in Los Angeles earlier this month, and hasn’t decided whether he’ll play an additional season, via Frei.

-Tonight’s officials are referees TJ Luxmore and Marc Joannette, and linesmen Kiel Murchison and Matt MacPherson. Darryl Sutter quotes will follow. Let’s talk soon, Insiders.


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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.