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KING REPORT

Modry Told to Step Up

October 21, 2003|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

The fallout from Saturday's loss to the Boston Bruins continued Monday with Coach Andy Murray saying that defenseman Jaroslav Modry needs to become more physical.

"I think there's no question that our fans want to see him get involved physically in battle and he needs to do that on a more consistent basis," Murray said. "He's a smart player and a quality person. He needs to play harder."

Modry, an All-Star two seasons ago, has led the team in ice time with an average of 26:23 minutes a game, but he has also been a culprit on the Kings' sagging penalty-killing unit, which has a 69.4% success rate, 29th among 30 NHL teams.

"Jaroslav Modry is never going to be a defenseman that runs over people, but he has to commit himself to make plays," Murray said.

"When he's playing not strong enough, he's light on the puck, he's light on his man, he's just light all the way around. He is, along with Matty Norstrom, one of the strongest men we have on our team in all of our conditioning tests. He needs to play with more power."

Modry was on the ice for three of the Bruins' goals in Saturday's 4-3 loss.

"I'm one of the guys he's got to rely on and I've got to do my job better to make sure we win games," Modry said.

Said Murray, "He's an unrestricted free agent this year. He needs to create a scenario where [General Manager] Dave Taylor is coming early to him, stepping up, saying, 'We've got to get this guy signed.' "

*

King defenseman Maxim Kuznetsov, stranded in Russia for more than six weeks, is expected to receive a Canadian visa Thursday and probably will travel Friday to Canada, Taylor said.

Kuznetsov has been delayed in Russia because of apparent late-fee charges stemming from a drunk-driving arrest five years ago when he played for Adirondack, a minor league team. After landing in Canada, Kuznetsov will apply for a U.S. visa. It probably will take a week to 10 days for Kuznetsov to gain admittance to the United States, Taylor said.

*

Martin Strbak will replace Tomas Zizka as the Kings' No. 6 defenseman tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers, Murray said. Forward Brad Chartrand and enforcer Kip Brennan also might play tonight.... Center Jozef Stumpel missed practice because his wife, Martina, gave birth Monday morning to the couple's second child, Oliver.

TONIGHT

vs. Philadelphia

7:30 PDT, Fox Sports Net

Site -- Staples Center.

Radio -- KDIS (1110).

Records -- Kings 3-2-0-0, Flyers 2-0-2-0.

Record vs. Flyers (2002-03) -- 0-2-0-0.

Update -- The Kings try to bounce back after allowing four unanswered goals in a 4-3 loss Saturday to the Boston Bruins. Right wing Ziggy Palffy leads the NHL in scoring with 10 points. Mark Recchi has three goals for the Flyers. Forward John LeClair will not play because of a broken bone in his left foot.

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