Stevens might not be long-term solution in L.A.

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Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider isn’t convinced John Stevens is the answer in L.A.

Reacting to news that the Kings parted ways with Terry Murray, Hammond writes that — from what he understands — the organization doesn’t see Stevens as a long-term solution.

Guess who might be, though?

Keep an eye on the whereabouts of Darryl Sutter in the next few days. Dean Lombardi is very close with Sutter and, as GM in San Jose, hired Sutter in 1997.

Sutter left the coaching ranks after the 2005-06 season, as he went from coach/GM to GM, and he left that role last December.

I’ll never forget the exchange I had with Lombardi, at the press conference to announce his hiring as Kings’ GM in 2006. It went like this…

Question: “In terms of qualities, what will you be looking for in a coach?”

Lombardi: “Darryl.”

Sutter’s been out of hockey since 2010 and hasn’t been behind an NHL bench since 2005-06. While the Sutter-to-L.A. theory looks great on paper, one has to wonder if the dysfunctional, acrimonious way he left the Calgary organization burned him out.

If that’s the case, Lombardi will have to look elsewhere for a coach….so here are some “types” to keep an eye on. (Note: I’m straying away from current assistant coaches because of contractual red tape, even though the likes of Mike Haviland, Lane Lambert, Tony Granato and Kevin McCarthy are highly thought of.)

The Recently Departed

Paul Maurice, Randy Carlyle, Davis Payne, Marc Crawford, Cory Clouston, Rick Tocchet.

A few intriguing names here. From the “story writes itself” angle, Carlyle is a money hire given the L.A.-Anaheim rivalry. He also talked about how hard moving would be on his family, especially his 15-year-old daughter.

Should note that Clouston is coaching the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) while Crawford/Tocchet have jobs — they’re currently doing TV work. Tocchet’s kind of interesting because he used to play for the Kings. There’s no way L.A. is going to hire Crawford again, but I wanted to mention him so I could play this clip:

Names That Get Mentioned Every Time A Job Comes Up

Craig MacTavish, Michel Therrien, Gerard Gallant.

Guys That Used to Coach The Kings

Robbie Ftorek, Andy Murray, Crawford.

Don’t laugh! Ftorek has reinvented himself with the OHL’s Erie Otters (and the Capitals just hired a junior coach in Dale Hunter). Plus, the NHL could always use a good bench tossing:

OK, now you can laugh.

AHL Guys

Dallas Eakins (Toronto), Kurt Kleindorst (Binghamton/Ottawa), David Quinn (Lake Erie/Colorado).

In light of what Glen Gulutzan’s done in Dallas and Mike Yeo in Minnesota, hiring from the AHL is tempting. Eakins has been a hot coaching commodity for a while, but the Leafs likely want him as an insurance policy should things go south with Ron Wilson. Kleindorst took Bingo to the Calder Cup final last year and Quinn has groomed many Avalanche youngsters in Lake Erie, so they could be options as well.

Kings outlast Canucks in first edition of NHL China Games

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The Los Angeles Kings came away with a 5-2 preseason win over the Vancouver Canucks in the first of the 2017 NHL China Games. This contest took place in lovely Shanghai.

Adrian Kempe got the ball rolling for Kings, as he scored the first goal of the game on the power play to make it 1-0 for his team (top).

Kings forward Tanner Pearson scored a great shorthanded breakaway goal to extend Los Angeles’ lead to 2-0 (check out the Pearson goal by clicking the video below).

The shorthanded goal against wasn’t the only issue the Canucks power play had in this game. Vancouver managed to score once on the man-advantage, but they finished the game 1-for-14 in that department (yes, it’s only a preseason game).

with Vancouver trailing 3-0 in the second period, Sven Baertschi finally got them on the board to cut the Kings lead to 3-1.

Markus Granlund made it 3-2 in the third period, but that’s as close as the Canucks would come to tying the score.

Pearson extended Los Angeles’ lead to 4-2 before Jeff Carter finished off the game with an empty-net goal.

These two teams will meet again in Beijing on Saturday at 3:30 a.m. ET.

Krug to be re-evaluated in three weeks after taking puck to jaw

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Torey Krug‘s 2017 training camp is officially over.

The Bruins defenseman suffered a non-displaced fracture in his jaw after taking a puck to the face in Tuesday’s preseason game against the Red Wings.

General Manager Don Sweeney expects Krug to be re-evaluated in three weeks, which means he could miss Boston’s regular-season opener against Nashville on Oct. 5.

Losing Krug for any regular season games would be huge for the Bruins, as he had eight goals and 51 points in 81 games last season.

In other injury news, the Bruins also announced that forward Matt Beleskey (foot contusion) is day-to-day. He was hurt in Boston’s preseason opener against Montreal on Monday.

Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (upper body) is also day-to-day. He was injured against the Red Wings, too.

Caps’ Vrana hoping to earn spot with Ovechkin, Kuznetsov

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It looks like the Washington Capitals are going to give Jakub Vrana the opportunity of a lifetime.

Washington has given the young winger a chance to earn a spot on the right side of the top line with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin.

On Wednesday night, they got to put the chemistry to the test, as Vrana and the Caps played the Canadiens in Montreal.

Vrana finished the game with a power play goal (an innocent shot that went off Canadiens defenseman Brandon Davidson and in the net). Kuznetsov and Ovechkin registered the assists on the goal and the Caps won 4-2.

“We played fast today,” Vrana said, per the Washington Post. “We had some passes today, some chances. It’s always a good sign when you have chances. … You’re going to be confident when you play with guys like this. You’re just going to be confident on the ice with the puck. Just play fast and build some chemistry there.”

The 21-year-old got his first taste of real NHL action last season, but the production simply wasn’t there (three goals and three assists in 21 games). But the 13th overall pick in the 2014 draft did put up solid numbers in the AHL, as he had 36 points in 49 games last year and 34 points in 36 games with the Hershey Bears two years ago.

“He gets to space,” head coach Barry Trotz said. “He gets on the puck because he moves his legs and his speed is noticeable. Kuzy can get him the puck, and getting down ice, he can put some pressure to create a forecheck, too. He worked hard today, and I think we keep putting him with top players, because we think he’s going to be a top player.”

WATCH LIVE: Canucks vs. Kings from Shanghai, China

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The Vancouver Canucks and L.A. Kings will make history on Thursday.

The two teams will face each other in an exhibition series in China, marking the first time NHL teams will play preseason games in that country. The two-game set gets underway with Thursday’s contest from the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai.

Set your alarms, wake up early (especially if you’re on the west coast!), put on a pot of coffee and catch the game on NBCSN (7:30 a.m. ET) or online with the live stream.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for today’s game:

NHL hopes to make inroads in China with exhibition games

It was a little on the foggy side for Canucks practice in Shanghai

Canucks-Kings exhibition series in China highlights preseason schedule

NHL preseason games in China are ‘the biggest deal’ for local fans

NHL looks to China to ‘expand the sport’