All right, hockey fans... as far as off-seasons go, this one has been less than enjoyable, but the wait is ..."/> All right, hockey fans... as far as off-seasons go, this one has been less than enjoyable, but the wait is ..."/>

Kings and Coyotes Split Two-Game Rookie Series


All right, hockey fans… as far as off-seasons go, this one has been less than enjoyable, but the wait is almost over. And if you’re anything like me, you’re satisfying your withdrawal with rookie camp tournaments. Sad as that sounds.

The games were quite the event at the TSC. (Photo credit: Kings Court)

Several NHL teams have sent their rookies to participate in various scrimmages this week, and over the past two days the Los Angeles Kings rookies took on the Phoenix Coyotes rookies in a two-game series at the Toyota Sports Center.

Game one was more or less a free for all. Plenty of penalty minutes on both sides and a total of fifteen goals scored. The final score was 8-7, with the Coyotes ultimately coming out on top. At one point the Kings owned a three goal lead – it didn’t last.

Whatever stern talking-to the guys got after a game that ended in a defensive collapse must have worked. Game two saw the Kings icing a much more disciplined squad. LA grabbed a 3-1 lead in the first period, and they defended it well through a scoreless second.

In the third, Phoenix threatened to steal the game at the eleventh hour when 2008 Coyotes draft pick Brett Hextall, son of Kings assistant general manager and NHL goaltending legend Ron Hextall, tied the game with less than five minutes to play. In the end, Jordan Nolan gave the Kings the gamewinner they were looking for. Final score: 4-3 for the good guys.

These two games may not mean much of anything – they’re even less relevant than preseason games, and those are pretty irrelevant – but it’s great to see these kids getting out there and playing their hearts out. They’ve all got something to prove. In that first game? Two fights in the first period alone. Everybody wants to do something to get noticed.

The hard part is trying to figure out how good these guys actually are. It’s one thing to see them playing against their fellow rookies, but the real test comes this weekend, when big camp starts. Getting noticed in rookie scrimmages came pretty easy for guys like Jordan Nolan, Jake Muzzin and Brandon Kozun, but once they’re on the ice with the pros? Might be a different story.

The Kings rookies were only signed up to play these two scrimmage games against the Yotes, so no more fake hockey until the preseason. But hey, if it looks like hockey, sounds like hockey, smells like hockey… it’s hockey. Just because nobody’s going to remember the outcome of these games a week from now doesn’t mean it wasn’t still pretty fun to watch.

In the meantime, the Kings training camp starts on Saturday. While the RFA Who Shall Not Be Named still (STILL!) hasn’t signed and might not be planning on showing up, there’s still a lot for Kings fans to look forward to, this next week and beyond.

Check out this rundown of the training camp schedule, a .pdf file courtesy of the official Kings site. Camp starts on Saturday the 17th and continues throughout the preseason.

Preseason schedule:
Wednesday, September 21 @ Phoenix (split squad), 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 25 vs. Anaheim, 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, September 27 vs. Pittsburgh (played in Kansas City, MO), 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, September 28 @ Colorado, 6:00 p.m.
Friday, September 30 @ Anaheim, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 1 vs. Colorado (Frozen Fury in Las Vegas), 6:00 p.m.

Note: Photo credit to Meg from Kings Court. Like her page on Facebook and Follow her on Twitter.

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