Kings pass on deadline deals, calm locker room

The Kings, it turned out, made their trade-deadline noise about 90 hours before the deadline.

Having acquired former 40-goal scorer Jeff Carter from Columbus on Thursday, the Kings didn’t make any additional moves before Monday’s trade deadline, and will try to win with what they have on the roster.

With the ability to expand rosters now — while still staying under the salary cap — the Kings might call up young forwards such as Andrei Loktionov or Linden Vey, and might get injured winger Simon Gagne back before the end of the regular season. But further improvements will have to be internal.

In the Kings’ locker room, recent anxiety proved to be anti-climactic. Reports, in recent days, had the Kings fielding offers for captain Dustin Brown and goalie Jonathan Bernier, but neither player moved.

Kings Coach Darryl Sutter, a former general manager in Calgary, said he found the trade-deadline media reports to be largely inaccurate and in poor taste.

“Quite honestly, it almost gets to be a pain in the (butt),” Sutter said. “It’s like I was telling the guys, anything can happen, that’s true, but most of it is, pardon my language, (B.S.). It’s borderline respectful to players, what some people in the media say. Now you have everything that you have access to.

“There’s very little work done on it, because it’s just rumors. It starts with a lie — they say a source — and that’s what makes me mad. It’s disrespectful to the players. It’s part of the business, I understand that. There’s a lot of people that pretend to be friendly to the players, and they basically. . . . I don’t like it.”

The Kings opened their post-deadline stretch with a 2-1 loss to Nashville on Monday night.

NOTES, QUOTES
   –The Kings face a significant challenge as they attempt to climb into the top eight in the Western Conference.
   The Kings are in the middle of a back-to-back set of games, and they have four sets of back-to-back games remaining on the schedule, most of which involve significant road travel. The Kings played a back-to-back set a week ago, and it didn’t go well, as they lost a four-goal lead in a 5-4 overtime loss to Phoenix, then flew to Colorado and lost 4-1.
   –The Kings have been on a season-long quest to improve their power play, which has ranked in the bottom 10 of the league in effectiveness. That quest has led them to mull a personnel overhaul. The Kings had to make at least one change on the power play, as Jack Johnson — who regularly played the point — was traded to Columbus last week. His spot on the second unit will be filled by rookie Slava Voynov, but coach Darryl Sutter also indicated that Voynov could challenge Drew Doughty for time on the first power-play unit. Jeff Carter, acquired in the deal that sent Johnson to Columbus, also figures to replace Dustin Brown on the first power-play unit.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “You’ve got to stay focused on the mission. You can’t look back and you can’t look too far ahead. You’ve got to stay in the moment of it. I hope we understand how tough it is, because everything is so close.” — Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell.

ROSTER REPORT
PLAYER NOTES:

   –LW Dwight King is part of one of the most unlikely lines in the NHL right now, as he is playing alongside C Mike Richards and RW Jeff Carter. King, not considered one of the Kings’ top prospects at the start of the season, has impressed since being called up this month, and now he’s playing alongside Carter, whom the Kings acquired via trade with Columbus last week. King, a rookie, finds himself alongside two established scorers who helped Philadelphia reach the Stanley Cup Finals two years ago.
   –C Jarret Stoll, after a few detours and fits and starts, is back to where the Kings expected him to start the season, as the third-line center. Stoll started the season on the third line, but because of various injuries and ineffective play, Stoll has had a lengthy stint as the Kings’ second-line right winger as well. Stoll, though, is consistently the Kings’ most effective faceoff man, and has publicly said that he is more comfortable at center. Stoll is trying to get his offensive numbers on track. After a 20-goal season last year, Stoll now has five goals and 13 assists in 59 games this season.
   –G Jonathan Bernier stayed on the bench at the start of the game, even though the Kings’ backup goalie has a strong history against Nashville. Bernier has a 5-1-0 record and a 2.00 goals-against average in six career games against the Predators, but starting G Jonathan     Quick was coming off a 19-save shutout of Chicago on Saturday. Plus, coach Darryl Sutter might be saving Bernier for tomorrow, as the Kings face Minnesota in the second of back-to-back games. The last time the Kings played on consecutive nights, Quick started both games, but in the second game, he lasted only one period before he was pulled in favor of Bernier after he allowed three goals. Quick is now winless in five career starts against the Predators.

MEDICAL WATCH:
   –Simon Gagne (concussion) was put on injured reserve on Dec. 28 and is out indefinitely.
   –Scott Parse (hip) was put on injured reserve on Nov. 9 and underwent surgery on Dec. 2. Parse will be out until at least early April and might be out for the season.

GOALTENDERS:
   –Jonathan Quick.
   –Jonathan Bernier.

DEFENSE PAIRINGS:
   –Rob Scuderi, Drew Doughty.
   –Willie Mitchell, Slava Voynoe.
   –Alec Martinez, Matt Greene.

FIRST LINE:
   –LW Dustin Brown, C Anze Kopitar, RW Justin Williams.

SECOND LINE:
   –LW Dwight King, C Mike Richards, RW Jeff Carter.

THIRD LINE:
   — LW Dustin Penner, C Jarret Stoll, RW Trevor Lewis.

FOURTH LINE:
   –LW Kyle Clifford, C Colin Fraser, RW Jordan Nolan.