Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 11/17/11
There have been two Southern California-based hockey teams since the Ducks -- then the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim -- joined the Kings in the Pacific Division in 1993. But is there a real rivalry? The teams play spirited games every season, in front of raucous crowds. But some would argue that rivalries aren't truly forged until the playoffs, and Kings coach Terry Murray doesn't disagree. To that end, the Kings and Ducks haven't even come close. In fact, last season was the first time the two teams even made the playoffs in the same season, when the Ducks finished fourth in the Western Conference and the Kings were seventh. The teams played Wednesday night in Los Angeles -- a 2-1 Kings shootout victory -- and play again Thursday in Anaheim. Murray can imagine how intense a seven-game "freeway series" would be. "I think it helps, whenever you have a couple years of playoffs," Murray said. "There's a little bit more reason to get heated up for the regular-season games. But this is a great rivalry. They've had some excellent teams down there. They're a Stanley Cup champion team. I think we've had some games in the past that get heated, a good rivalry. "That's when you're going to see the rivalry really develop, when you get into those later rounds of the playoffs, whether it's the second round or third round. I think that's when, historically in the game, there's a lot of hatred and heat that becomes a part of the game. It's controlled, but it's much more intense." NOTES, QUOTES --The Kings and Ducks both opened this season in Europe, and even though they weren't even in the same country at the same time, are they feeling the same "hangover" effect? The Kings and Ducks were both considered strong playoff contenders at the start of the season, but both teams entered Wednesday's game out of the top eight in the Western Conference, and Kings coach Terry Murray said the European start might have impacted both teams. "I've talked to people in other places who have gone through something like this, and they just felt that their game was off for a considerable length of time," Murray said. "Especially the skill guys, handling the puck, making plays, scoring goals. All the guys that I've had conversations with, it's taken lot longer to recover than what they thought at the time. They look back, reflect back years later, and they really felt that that was the reason why their game was off a little." --When defenseman Alec Martinez went on injured reserve Monday, the Kings called up rookie Slava Voynov from the AHL but shuffled all of their defensive pairs. Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson, the top two puck-moving defensemen on the team, were put together on the top pairing. That allowed Voynov to play with veteran Willie Mitchell. Voynov and Mitchell formed a strong pair early in the season, when Drew Doughty missed five games with an injury. It gave the Kings a strong first pair as well, given that Doughty and Johnson can play upward of 30 minutes per game, and it gave the Kings a solid, stay-at-home pair in veterans Matt Greene and Rob Scuderi. QUOTE TO NOTE: "They've been pros now for a couple years, so it's an opportunity to show the organization where their game is at and how they're going to fit in and impress us and force us to do something, force us to think about them. It's a great opportunity for them." -- Kings coach Terry Murray, on this week's call-ups of rookies Andrei Loktionov and Slava Voynov. ROSTER REPORT PLAYER NOTES: --D Slava Voynov returned to the Kings' lineup in a pairing with veteran D Willie Mitchell. Voynov was called up from the AHL on Monday to replace D Alec Martinez, who went on injured reserve. Voynov made his NHL debut in October and earned strong reviews when D Drew Doughty missed five games because of injury. A solid puck-moving defenseman and a swift skater, Voynov was an AHL All-Star last season and was the final cut of training camp this season. --LW Andrei Loktionov made his season debut on the Kings' second line, alongside C Mike Richards and RW Dustin Brown, after Loktionov was called up on Monday to replace LW Dustin Penner (hand injury). Loktionov fared relatively well in two brief NHL stints last season, but coach Terry Murray said he was somewhat displeased with Loktionov's efforts in training camp this year. Loktionov was assigned to the AHL, where he was leading the Manchester Monarchs in points at the time of his call-up. --D Alec Martinez will miss at least the next two games with an upper-body injury, but he certainly earned the respect of coaches and teammates. Late in the first period of Saturday's game against Minnesota, Martinez got crunched, shoulder-first, into the boards by Warren Peters, a hit for which Peters was given a five-minute penalty. Martinez skated off the ice gingerly but returned for the start of the second period and scored a power-play goal. After the game, however, Martinez suffered from pain and swelling and had to be put on injured reserve. Coach Terry Murray indicated that the injury is not as serious as initially feared, though, and that Martinez will be evaluated again in a week. MEDICAL WATCH: --Scott Parse (lower body) was put on injured reserve on Nov. 9. There is no timetable for his return. --Dustin Penner (hand) is on injured reserve and is considered day-to-day. --Alec Martinez (upper body) went on injured reserve on Nov. 12 and is considered day-to-day. GOALTENDERS: --Jonathan Quick. --Jonathan Bernier. DEFENSE PAIRINGS: --Jack Johnson, Drew Doughty. --Willie Mitchell, Slava Voynov. --Rob Scuderi, Matt Greene. FIRST LINE: --LW Simon Gagne, C Anze Kopitar, RW Justin Williams. SECOND LINE: --LW Andrei Loktionov, C Mike Richards, RW Dustin Brown. THIRD LINE: --LW Kyle Clifford, C Jarret Stoll, RW Trent Hunter. FOURTH LINE: --LW Ethan Moreau, C Colin Fraser, RW Trevor Lewis.
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