The Soviet Red Army hockey team landed in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve and went through an easy hour-long practice at the Forum before going to Westwood to watch a movie Tuesday night.
The Kings had arranged for them to see "Out of Africa," but the Soviet players were holding out for "Rocky IV."
The Soviets are scheduled to practice today at the Forum (the Kings have Christmas off) and they were pressuring the Kings to arrange a trip to Disneyland for this afternoon. "I think more players want to go to Disneyland than practice," said Sergey Levin, a reporter for the Los Angeles Russian TV network, who acted as the team's translator.
The Red Army will play the Kings at the Forum Thursday night at 7:30 in the opener of a six-game exhibition series against National Hockey League teams.
The Soviets will play the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Edmonton Oilers Friday night, the Quebec Nordiques Sunday and the Montreal Canadiens on New Year's Eve, the 10-year anniversary of the first game between the teams. The first game ended in a 3-3 tie. It's big news in Montreal. A reporter from a Montreal newspaper is trailing the Soviets.
They also play the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 2 and the Minnesota North Stars on Jan. 4.
The game against the Kings doesn't figure to be very close.
The Red Army is the top hockey club in the Soviet Union. Of the 21 players on the team, 10 played in the 1984 Olympics and 12 were on the Soviet national team.
The Kings have the second-worst record in the NHL this season and have won only three home games.
However, the Soviets will be without two of their top players, according to Coach Viktor Tikhonov.
Center Igor Larionov and defenseman Vladimir Zubkov did not accompany the team on the tour because of illness.
"Zubkov can't come because his wife is sick," the coach said through an translator. "And Larionov has the flu."
Larionov centered the Red Army's top scoring line of Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Krutov and was the fourth-highest scorer in the Soviet League during the 1984-85 season with 18 goals and 28 assists in 40 games.
Zubkov was the biggest defenseman on the team at 6-2, 200 pounds.
All of the games on the tour will be played under NHL rules. However, the Soviets brought their own referee and he will officiate two of the games, including the opener against the Kings. Two NHL linesmen will work the game with the Soviet referee.
Referee Nikoly Morozov skated with the team at practice and even took a few shots toward the end of the session. NHL referees are not allowed to associate with teams.