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KINGS FYI

For Kings' Dwight King and Jordan Nolan, a big change of scenery

Called up from Manchester in the American Hockey League, both now have scored their first NHL goals.

February 14, 2012|By Lisa Dillman
  • Kings rookie forward Dwight King, left, made his season debut against the New York Islanders on Saturday and scored his first NHL goal during the Kings' next game against the Dallas Stars.
Kings rookie forward Dwight King, left, made his season debut against the… (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images )

The forward did not have to ring twice. In this case, Dwight King only had to knock once.

Last week King was able to break the news to Manchester Monarchs teammate Jordan Nolan that they were both being called up from the minors by the Kings with a quick knock on his door.

"He said to wake up, pack up. We're leaving in an hour," Nolan said in El Segundo on Tuesday after the Kings' practice.

Said King: "He'll get to remember that forever. His first call-up, I was the guy to tell him. It's a good story."

It has been a dizzying turn of events for the 22-year-olds, brought in to give the stagnant Kings a burst of youthful energy and increased physical presence. Instead of preparing for a game against the Connecticut Whale in the American Hockey League, they joined the Kings and found themselves playing on a line centered by Mike Richards against the Islanders on Saturday.

"Mike Richards makes everybody better," Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said. "If they don't [play] better, that's their problem, right? Mike Richards doesn't get enough credit for what he brings to the team — everybody measures it in goals and assists."

But a touch of youth didn't hurt the guy with experience, either.

There was some symmetry too. Nolan's NHL debut came in the place where his father, Ted, once coached the Islanders. On Sunday, Nolan and King both scored their first NHL goals in a 4-2 victory against Dallas.

King, who appeared in six games for the Kings last season, said there is a difference from the first time he joined the Kings.

"Probably maybe a little bit of confidence," he said. "The first time you're a little nervous. Not sure exactly what your role is and what you can bring to a team. But this time around, I'm confident in my game and know what I can bring and how to be effective."

Nolan's mother, Sandra, and brother, Brandon, were on hand in New York. Ted Nolan is coaching the Latvian national hockey team so he wasn't able to attend, but Nolan thought his parents might be able to come to Los Angeles to watch him play.

"Once I got that first goal, she couldn't really talk to me on the phone," Nolan said of his mother. "She was tearing up, so happy for me and so proud of me. I didn't get to talk to my dad till the next day because he was flying.

"We're a pretty big hockey family. We don't talk about hockey too much. If I need a little kick in the butt to get going, he'll obviously say something."

Nolan's debut sparked deep feelings of pride from his older brother Brandon, who played six games for the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2007-08 season. Brandon's career was cut short by a concussion and he has returned to school in Canada.

"It was pretty tough on him," Nolan said. "Me being up here makes him happy. So he's kind of living through me right now."

Tough love

Sutter was blunt when asked about underperforming Dustin Penner. The left wing, who has five goals and 13 points, has been a healthy scratch the last two games, taking a seat when the young forwards arrived from Manchester.

What does Sutter need to see on the ice from Penner?

"Work your ... off," Sutter said of the message. "Then you get a chance to play again. If you don't, you don't. … When you're told to work your ... off, that is square one."

Gagne update

Forward Simon Gagne, who has been out because of a concussion, has been showing signs of progress and has skated the last few days. Gagne has not played since suffering the concussion on Dec. 26 against the Coyotes.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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