YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Few Roster Spots Left as Exhibitions Begin

September 18, 2006|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

The Kings, after four days of team scrimmages, get to taste a little more intense competition tonight when they play the Ducks at the Arrowhead Pond.

Although this is the first of six exhibitions for the Kings, the reality is that very few roster spots seem to be open. There are believed to be three forward spots and one defenseman spot up for grabs, with Mathieu Garon and Jason LaBarbera vying to be the backup goaltender.

The Kings will trim their roster after Tuesday's game against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center.

"Four days of practice and two games may not be ideal, but it is good enough," Coach Marc Crawford said. "That's all you have with the shorter camp time. Everyone was well warned and knew it was going to be this way."

Crawford said he intended to cut down to as close to a final roster as possible on Wednesday.

Goaltenders Garon and LaBarbera will split time tonight. Dan Cloutier -- the team's No. 1 goaltender -- will play against San Jose. Crawford said he did not expect to carry three goaltenders into the season.

Rookies Patrick O'Sullivan, who played in the American Hockey League last season, and Anze Kopitar, who played in Sweden, have stood out during four days of scrimmages and are pushing for roster spots.

If the Kings carry seven defensemen, they probably will chose between Mike Weaver and Kevin Dallman for the last spot.

"I'm just glad the games are starting," defenseman Aaron Miller said. "Let's play against someone else now. It's been a little confusing down low with the new system. It's nothing groundbreaking or new, it's just different from last year.

"It's been great seeing all the kids we have, playing against them, but let's whittle down the roster and move on together."


Forwards Alyn McCauley (knee) and Lauri Tukonen (shoulder) will be reexamined today and could be cleared to practice. McCauley had surgery on his left knee during the off-season and is still going through rehabilitation. Tukonen injured his shoulder during a rookie tournament last week.

McCauley, a free agent who played for the San Jose Sharks last season, already has a spot on the roster, having spent almost the last eight seasons in the NHL. But Tukonen, a 20-year-old who was the Kings' first-round pick in 2004, needs time on the ice. He played his first season in North America in 2005-06, scoring 14 goals with Manchester in the AHL.

"We need them both on the ice," Crawford said. "But we know what Alyn can do. He just needs to get games to get ready. We would like to see what Lauri can do as he is one of our top prospects."


Forward Dustin Brown signed a two-year, $2.35-million contract Sunday, and defenseman Tim Gleason signed a two-year contract worth a little more than $2 million.


Los Angeles Times Articles