When we had the conversation in Europe, for [Voynov] to go back to Manchester, with the coaching staff and Dean and Hexy, we all reassured him, `Feel good about your game. You’re on the threshold. You’re ready to make that step across and become a player on a regular basis in the NHL.’ It’s here a little bit sooner than what we anticipated, and it’s unfortunate that it is, but it’s his opportunity to show that he can play. He’s not called up to fill in for an injured player in my mind. This is a time for him to show us what he can do.
With Drew Doughty's absence due to an "It's not a head injury I swear lalalala," the door now cracks open for Viatcheslav Voynov to make a statement. Voynov has never taken a step back in his development since the day he was drafted; he's excelled in the AHL from the time he was 18, he's made the All-Star team as a 20-year old, he played very well this preseason, and he deserves a chance in the NHL.
Murray says that it's sooner than he expected, but that's OK; the Kings are trying to bring their prospects along slowly but age shouldn't be a benchmark you have to meet before you get to play in the NHL. Voynov will probably only get a few games before Doughty comes back and he's sent back down, but this could be considered a test run for what his experience with the Kings will be like. I'm expecting to see a lot of skill, plenty of mistakes, and at least one moment that reveals the potential that rests inside Slava.
I'm excited, can you tell? I'm going to be so mad when Murray benches him midway through the 2nd.
Since Doughty's out, the Kings are probably going to have to mix up their defensive assignments a little bit. That means Scuderi-Johnson will most likely get the toughest assignment tonight, while Martinez-Greene and Mitchell-Voynov will be roughly even. I imagine Mitchell-Greene might get a few extra shifts together as well against tough competition. Luckily, the next 2 games are against teams with great depth but not a whole lot of elite skill so they should survive without getting burned too badly. Still, Johnson needs to step up in a big way, much like he did against Philly after Doughty went down.
Tonight's the Kings' home opener, which means a lot of distraction for the players. Their opponent, the Blues, is playing their 3rd game in 4 nights but the Kings themselves are coming off a veeeeeery long road trip and might be looking back to their families instead of their competition. Will they win? They fucking better.
Dustin Penner is maybe (?) playing tonight. There's something with his knee and... I don't give a fuck. Get healthy, Dustin.
Prediction: Kings win, 3-2. Goals by Gagne, Brown and Slava.