Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 2/15/12
The question of whether there would be some youthful exuberance inserted into the Los Angeles Kings lineup was answered Tuesday when Jordan Nolan, who along with Dwight King was recalled from Manchester on Friday, spoke about potentially receiving face time on the NHL Network's "NHL 36", a show currently in town to follow around Mike Richards during the 36 hours leading up to Thursday's game against Phoenix. "All my friends back home would like that," the 22-year old Nolan said. He must have some kind of agent. Nolan has been in Los Angeles for 36 hours and is already auditioning for his first supporting role. Along with King, the two forwards have appeared opposite each other on a line centered by Richards, whom coach Darryl Sutter referred to on Tuesday as being "as good as there is" when asked about his high-profile center's hockey IQ. "Mike Richards makes everybody better," Sutter said. "And if they don't, then that's their problem, not his." Both rookies scored their first career goals in Sunday's 4-2 win at Dallas, with Nolan's third period tally serving as the game-winner. It was assisted by both Richards and King, who appeared in six games with Los Angeles early last season. "He's a pretty composed guy," King said of his early impressions of playing with Richards, a seven-year NHL veteran and former Philadelphia Flyers team captain. "He likes hard workers, and that's what we try to provide. We try to get in there, get pucks for him, and give him time to make a little bit more plays out there. "So far, it's been great. He's made it very easy for us." Though he'll have to earn the opportunity to continue to play alongside Richards, it's not a role he's unaccustomed to. As a junior with the WHL's Lethbridge Hurricanes, he played on a line with Carolina Hurricanes 5-foot-10 center prospect Zach Boychuk and solidified himself as a net-crashing power forward difficult to knock off the puck that was able to find his teammates in open areas of the ice. With 11 goals and 29 points in 50 games with Manchester, he's displayed a solid two-way effort that seems compatible with the physical, defensive-minded structure maintained by the Kings. He also can claim another full year of professional hockey under his belt something he didn't have last year when he was called up after having taken part in just 88 career professional games 68 with the Monarchs and 20 with the ECHL's Ontario Reign. "Maybe a little bit of confidence," King answered when asked about what feels differently in his second call-up. "Obviously, your first time, you're nervous, you're not sure exactly what your role is, what you can bring to the team. But this time around I'm confident in my game. I know what I can bring, and how to be effective out there, so I pretty much just kind of focus on that, and it has been working out for our line and our team." Though obviously thrilled with the opportunity, don't expect Nolan to get wide-eyed should he maintain his spot in the lineup Thursday when Los Angeles hosts Phoenix (7:30 p.m. FOX Sports West). Nolan made his debut at Nassau Coliseum in Saturday's 2-1 overtime loss to the New York Islanders. The son of former Islanders coach and current Latvian national team coach Ted Nolan, Jordan logged 14 minutes and 18 second of ice time in familiar surroundings. "I'm just happy to play anywhere," Jordan Nolan said about the experience. Though Ted was in Latvia and unable to make it to Jordan's first two games, he was still able to provide encouragement over the phone to the second Nolan son to have played in the NHL. Jordan's brother, Brandon, played six games for Carolina in 2007-08 before retiring due to a concussion in 2008. "He's really just trying to make me feel good about myself, saying I've worked hard out there and just keep it going," Jordan Nolan said of his father's advice. If Nolan is able to stick with Los Angeles, it wouldn't be the first time he has taken advantage of a career opportunity. Passed over in two NHL drafts, he was selected in the seventh round in 2009, ahead of only 25 players. After signing a three-year contract with the Kings following training camp in 2010, he has logged 14 goals, 40 points and 234 penalty minutes in 115 AHL games while drawing consideration to make the team out of training camp in 2011. "I think it was just going down there and working hard and whenever LA got the call, I was going to be ready for that," Nolan said of his efforts while on the precipice of an NHL career. "I'm just trying to work my hardest, and hopefully they're watching."
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