SAN JOSE — This wasn't a my-way-or-the-highway proclamation, but Coach Andy Murray made it clear Sunday that playing time was a merit-based commodity.
Forwards Pavol Demitra and Alexander Frolov are said to be nearly ready to return, which will give the Kings 15 forwards. The Kings acquired Mark Parrish on Thursday, and if Demitra (eye injury) and Frolov (separated shoulder) return this week, there will be a logjam among the team's top six forwards.
"It will all be about earning a spot rather than entitlement," Murray said. "You shouldn't just be on the power play, you should earn the right to be there. You should earn a spot on a penalty-killing unit, rather than just be there. If you want to be a special-team player, you won't be assigned to it, you'll earn the right to be there."
The policy already seems to be in play. Luc Robitaille started on the fourth line against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, then earned a promotion to the top line and ended up winning the game with a shootout goal.
Dustin Brown, who has only three goals in 15 games, went from the second line to the fourth line.
"This organization needs to be an organization more of substance than flash," Murray said.
When asked whether there had been too much "flash," Murray said, "No, but we should be all about substance."
The flu bug that has hounded defenseman Mattias Norstrom has left him perplexed. He left Tuesday's game against the Minnesota Wild when he began feeling ill. He played 20 minutes against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, then was scratched against the Blues on Saturday because of flu, Murray said.
"I really don't know what is happening," Norstrom said. "It really hit me hard. I couldn't keep anything in my stomach, that's why I couldn't play Saturday."
Norstrom said he wasn't sure whether he would play tonight against the San Jose Sharks.
Norstrom said that his condition was not related to the concussion he suffered before the Olympics, which prevented him from playing for Sweden.
at San Jose, 7:30, FSN West
Site -- HP Pavilion.
Radio -- 710.
Records -- Kings 36-24-5, Sharks 30-23-9.
Record vs. Sharks -- 1-3-1.
Update -- The Kings have won six of their last seven games, winning all six by one goal. The Sharks, who are chasing a playoff spot, are 6-2-1 in their last nine games. Patrick Marleau has seven goals and 16 points in the last 10 games.