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DUCKS-KINGS REPORT

London opening is official

March 02, 2007|Chris Foster and Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writers

It was confirmed that it will be the Ducks facing the Kings in London to start the 2007-08 season. The teams will play two games Sept. 29 and 30 at the O2 Arena, which was built by AEG.

The Kings will precede those games by playing in a four-team exhibition tournament in Salzburg, Austria, a league source said. The two-day Red Bulls Salute 2007 will begin Sept. 25, when the Kings play Red Bull Salzburg. HC Davis, from the Swiss National League, and Farjestad, from the Swedish Elite League, will play in the other game.

The championship and third-place games will be played Sept. 26.

The Kings will spend the first half of training camp in Southern California and will play five exhibition games in the U.S. before traveling to Europe with an open roster that will be nearly settled.

"We'll probably take three goaltenders, eight defensemen and 14 forwards, so we'll have a couple extra guys," Kings Coach Marc Crawford said.

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Kings rookie Anze Kopitar missed his first game of the season, sitting out the game against the Ducks with what Crawford called a strained upper muscle.

"We're going to be really careful with this," Crawford said.

Kopitar is doubtful for Saturday's game against the Nashville Predators, but Crawford said he was probable for the team's upcoming road trip.

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The Ducks dealt goaltender prospect Michael Wall to Colorado for veteran forward Brad May in part because of their acquisition of 21-year-old goalie Gerald Coleman from Tampa Bay for defenseman Shane O'Brien.

Coleman, who'll play at minor league Portland, Maine, was the first player from the NHL's diversity program to be drafted.

Wall won his debut against Calgary on Nov. 26 and went 2-2-0 with a 2.97 goals-against average in four games.

"We think Mike Wall has a good chance to play in the NHL," Ducks General Manager Brian Burke said. "We think the other guy is a higher-rated prospect. We have high hopes for this kid."

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Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle noted the irony of an optional morning skate in which every Ducks player took the ice except for center Samuel Pahlsson.

"It's amazing how players look for optional practices and look for time off," the coach said. "You give it to them and you have all of them go out except one."

DUCKS TONIGHT

vs. San Jose, 7, FSN Prime Ticket

Site -- Honda Center.

Radio -- 830.

Records -- Ducks 37-17-11; Sharks 38-24-2.

Record vs. Sharks -- 4-2-0.

Update -- Bill Guerin, acquired by San Jose on Tuesday at the trade deadline, played left wing on the Sharks' top line with Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo in Wednesday's 4-3 shootout loss to Nashville.

Tickets -- (877) 945-3946.

chris.foster@latimes.com

eric.stephens@latimes.com

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