Korobov makes his NHL debut tonight against the Kings, but who will be scratched?
Looking to get some heavier bodies into the lineup against the Kings, coach Jon Cooper announced that Dmitry Korobov will make his NHL debut tonight at the Staples Center. He also made it sound as if Pierre-Cedric Labrie will return to the lineup after eight straight games as a scratch.
Cooper was straightforward that Andrej Sustr will come out on defense to make room for Korobov. But he was a bit more cryptic with who will be scratched at forward, indicating only it will be someone off the fourth line. Assuming center Nate Thompson is safe, that means either B.J. Crombeen or Ryan Malone will sit if Labrie plays. We won't know that, though, until tonight.
What was interesting was Cooper saying about who might be coming out, "We've got to keep some of these guys fresh and we have to keep some other guys on their toes."
As for Korobov, 24, he is indeed a big body at 6 feet 3, 230 pounds. He had six assists in 13 games with AHL Syracuse and was plus-7 before he was called up last week.
"We think he's ready," Cooper said, and added when asked about Korobov's strengths, "That is his strength. He has strength. We're playing a team that's big, strong and forechecks. To have a heavy body down there, he can penalty kill, block shots. It will behoove us to have another defender back there against these guys."
Korobov, who in August 2012 was signed as a free agent out of Russia, did not speak any English when he first came to North America. But Cooper said there are no communication problems at this point: "He understands now. Hockey is a little bit of a universal language."
St. Louis to play his 1,000th game: When Marty St. Louis takes the ice tonight he will become just the 16th undrafted player (since the universal draft began in 1969) to play 1,000 games. All but 69 have been played with Tampa Bay, with which he signed in July 2000. "I feel I accomplished more than I ever imagined," said St Louis, who played with the Flames from 1998-2000. "In terms of playing 1,000 games, that never even crossed my when you're young. I feel I have more to give but I think the 1,000 -game mark, of all the things I've done in this league, it's one of those things I'm going to hold up there." Another interesting note about St. Louis is that as a member of the Flames he played his first NHL game -- Oct. 9, 1998, against the Sharks -- in Tokyo as the league tried to build off its participation in the 1998 Nagano Olympics. "It was really weird playing hockey in Tokyo," St. Louis said. "For me, it was an exciting moment, but I remember walking away after my first game thinking I could have done more." St. Louis had zero points and two shots on goal. "I was still a fan," he said. "I was too impressed by the players I was playing with and against. Once I stopped being a fan, that helped my game. It took me a while to get over that. Mentally I was fighting it. I had the ability to be there. I just wasn't ready mentally. I was too in awe of the league."
Other stuff from the morning skate: Ben Bishop gets the start in net. ... Teddy Purcell, who has just one goal in 14 games, said he still enjoys returning the Los Angeles, where he started his NHL career with the Kings. "Even when I was here and we didn't make the playoffs we were still getting full audiences," Purcell said. "The fans were just waiting for something to cheer about. For so much stuff going on in LA, they do have a passionate fan base who supports them all the time." As for Purcell's lack of production lately, Cooper said he is not worried because Purcell actually has been playing well. "He can play the game fast, but he kind of slows the game down and controls the pace of the game, which for him is his strength. Would we like to see him get more points? Sure. But that line with (center Valtteri Filppula) and (wing J.T. Brown) has been really effective for us, and more often than not when they are on the ice they have the puck, If his play was going down there would be some issue, but he's done really good." ... How did Richard Panik feel when he finally scored his first goal of the season Saturday in Game 20 at Phoenix? "It was like 'finally,' relief," he said. "It was building up, the pressure. I got the first one and , hopefully, there is more coming." ... The Lightning is 10-2-0 with two ties all-time at Los Angeles.