A King Returns
Fresh off a Stanley Cup Championship with the Los Angeles Kings in June, left wing Dwight King is expected to make his season debut with the Manchester Monarchs this Saturday against the Worcester Sharks. King, who has spent parts of the last three seasons with the Monarchs, is not back in the American Hockey League due to lack of performance but his return is just a product of the current National Hockey League Lockout. There are an abundance of NHL players, much like King, playing across the AHL this season as a result of the NHL Lockout.
King was recalled by Los Angeles along with right wing Jordan Nolan on February 10, 2012. Both players had an immediate and direct impact with Los Angeles’ last season. They proved to be valuable additions as the Kings attempted to clinch a playoff seed in the final months of the regular season as well as the team’s success in the playoffs en route to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup Championship.
“He is the ultimate power forward,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris about King. “He is big. He is strong and can make plays. He is very reliable defensively and gives our team some much needed size and experience. I think he represents what we try to do here. He is the guy that has steadily improved and a guy that was able to impact the Los Angeles Kings in a big way (last season).”
King tallied five goals and nine assists for 14 points in 27 games with Los Angeles to help them make the playoffs as the eighth and final playoff seed in the Western Conference. King continued to contribute by registering five goals and three assists for eight points while appearing all 20 games during the Kings’ historic playoff run.
With King, there are now four Stanley Cup Champions on the Monarchs roster that appeared in the playoffs for the Kings. The three others include defenseman Slava Voynov, center Andrei Loktionov and Nolan. As the Monarchs search for consistency in their new system, these champions’ on-ice presence can only help the rest of the team.
“They set a good example,” said Morris. “They have a familiarity with how (Los Angeles King Head Coach) Darryl Sutter wants to see the game played. So having those guys is invaluable.”
With many players from last year’s team back with the Monarchs, King feels right at home in Manchester.
“I am familiar with everyone here and what is going on in Manchester so I am excited to be here,” said King. “It is good to see some familiar faces that I haven’t seen in a little while. Being back here to play hockey with them is something that makes that friendship a little more close.”
The Monarchs square off against the Sharks on Saturday, October 27 at 7:00 p.m. in their first match-up of the season. Last season, the Monarchs were 9-3-0-0 against the Sharks but they are always hard fought, grind it out, battles.
“Based on what we know about the San Jose Sharks organization and the way that Worcester plays and the way Roy Sommer builds his teams, it is always a very edgy game and we look forward to the challenge,” said Morris. “I think this will be a great experience with our young guys to learn how to play in a physical contest and at the same time, learn how to execute against a system that is aggressive and one that has always been a difficult one for us to play against.”
Monarchs Country can give number 21 a King’s welcome this weekend with home games on Saturday night against the Sharks and Sunday afternoon versus the Binghamton Senators on Canadian Heritage Night at 4:00 p.m.