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HOCKEY DAILY REPORT : KINGS

Team to Open Season Without Johnson

September 30, 1997|LONNIE WHITE

For the first time in 21 years, the Kings will begin the regular season with a five-game trip to the East Coast, and they will have to start without enforcer Matt Johnson.

Johnson received a four-game suspension from the NHL on Monday for slashing San Jose's Todd Ewen in an exhibition game last week. Because Johnson sat out the Kings' two victories over the Mighty Ducks, he will miss only the opening two games, at Pittsburgh on Wednesday and at Boston on Thursday.

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Defenseman Garry Galley, who signed as a free agent from Buffalo during the off-season, said the Kings should get a pretty good idea of what type of team they have with the season-opening trip.

"Starting on the road sometimes has its advantages because you don't have the pressure of playing at home right away," said Galley, a 14-year veteran enjoying his second stint as a King. "It gives the team a chance to get together and grow. We know that we need to play well on the road to make the playoffs. We can't afford to wait."

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Goaltender Jamie Storr (groin injury) is listed as week-to-week and is expected to be put on injured reserve once he is signed to a contract. . . . Three Kings changed uniform numbers, with center Jozef Stumpel switching from 10 to 15, right wing Sandy Moger going from 36 to 45 and center Donald MacLean moving from 50 to 10. . . . The last time the Kings began the season with a five-game trip was 1976, when they went 1-2-2 and finished second in the Norris Division.

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