Kings Notebook (Jan. 15)
|After Kings practice on Thursday, there was more discussion of the Bobby Ryan hit on Oscar Moller.
Time and again, when there is a questionable hit on one of his players - such as in the third period Thursday, when Anaheim's Bobby Ryan drilled the Kings' Oscar Moller - Murray is direct and firm in saying that a suspension shouldn't take place.
Murray's oft-stated stance is that players need to have more awareness and respect on the ice, and that, basically, conflicts should be resolved on the ice, not in the office of league vice president Colin Campbell (who, as of Friday afternoon, had not punished Ryan).
Given his stance, Murray was asked after Friday's practice, are there any rules he would like to see changed in order to give players an opportunity to police themselves on-ice.
"The only rule change that you would make in that is taking out the instigator rule and let the players police it," Murray said. "At times, though, then you're throwing it to risk. There might be some of those things that happened back in the 70s and 80s, with bench-clearing brawls, so there's a concern with that.
"To me, the only way the players could respond, and have the heavyweights take care of things, would be to do that, outside of players having more respect for each other and clearly knowing that when a player is in a defenseless position... In the last 10, 15 years, there has certainly been enough information out there and awareness to the fact that hitting from behind is a very dangerous thing."
In illustrating the dangers involved in the game, Murray referenced Travis Roy, the Boston University player who, in 1995, suffered paralysis after falling head-first into the boards during his first college shift.
"I know Travis Roy real well," Murray said. "I've known him from the time he was a little kid, running around the dressing room. I know his situation today. If anybody needs to have any awareness to that, just take a look at some pictures or video and see where he is in his life today. That happens so innocently.
"I think there's just got to be some communication with the players' association. There has to be, maybe, bulletins passed out through the association to constantly remind the players that recklessness is not going to be tolerated."
One of the strangest calls of the season took place in the first period Thursday night. Ryan Smyth was in the penalty box for interference, and while the Kings were celebrating a 4-on-4 goal, an additional two-minute penalty was put on the board.
Smyth, while sitting in the penalty box, had picked up an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty. How did it happen?
"(The referee) told me not to bang on the glass, because I was banging on it," Smyth said. "I didn't think mine was a call and I thought (a non-call) on Richie [Brad Richardson] was a call. Through the glass, he said, `Don't bang on the glass.' And I just said, `Wake up.' And that was it. That's what I got. Can you believe that?"
The Kings were able to kill both of Smyth's penalties. Had he ever received a penalty in a similar situation?
"Probably," Smyth said. "Maybe not like that, though. Maybe a 10-minute misconduct. I can't remember though."
Both of the Kings' injured defensemen were on the ice for practice Friday, although neither is expected to return in the short term. Davis Drewiske (shoulder) and Matt Greene (lower body) both participated in practice, without contact.
Drewiske has been skating for several days, but Greene's appearance was a surprise, given that, just a few days ago, Murray said he expected Greene to be out "a few weeks."
"I feel good out there, but I haven't been hit yet and I haven't given a hit," Greene said. "I think that's where the injury really comes into play, once you get into battles. I haven't done that, but I feel OK. It's still going to be some time, plus I don't think they really need me right now. Four-nothing. I think Harry [Peter Harrold] is doing a good job."
Harrold replaced Greene in the lineup Thursday, in the Kings' 4-0 victory over Anaheim, but Murray said he was pleased with Greene's progress.
"He's a pretty aggressive player in his rehab, and he's going to do whatever he can to get back faster, as quickly as he can," Murray said. "Just (him) being on the ice and participating in the practice is ahead of schedule, in my opinion."
Neither Greene nor Drewiske is expected to play when the Kings host the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon at STAPLES Center.
BACK ON TRACK?
The Kings scored four goals Thursday, but the one that got the most attention was Dustin Brown's second-period goal, the 100th goal of his NHL career.
Drew Doughty started the play with an outlet pass to Brown, who carried the puck up the right side into the Ducks' zone. Brown passed left to Alexander Frolov, then went to the front of the net. Frolov held the puck as he did a full spin in the left faceoff circle, then sent to the puck to the front of the net, where Brown tipped it in.
"That was a great goal, I thought," Murray said. "It started with the breakout and then it goes to the pass that Brown makes, entering the offensive zone, to Frolov. I think, in the past dozen games probably, you saw Brownie holding onto that puck and trying to do a lot of the 1-on-1 stuff, beating the defenseman or maybe just shooting the puck to the net. In this instance, he makes a great play. Now he brings other people into the attack, and that's that give-and-go attitude and that support that works in the league.
"Now, with his attitude of going to the net, he's a courageous guy and he never hesitates in bullying his way in and being ready for a return play. So that was a great goal, it was an important goal, obviously, for the game last night, and if that's something that we start to see on a consistent basis from Brownie, that would really get his numbers back up to where they should be."
Brown, who scored 33 goals two seasons ago, now has 11 goals in 47 games and has scored two goals in his last three games.