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October 12. 2011 10:07PM

Ian Clark's On Hockey: Monarchs get more power with addition of Voynov

MANCHESTER - The Manchester Monarchs got some good news for the power play unit this week and his name is Slava Voynov.

Voynov had an extended look with the parent club in Los Angeles as the Kings started the season in Europe. Voynov did not play with L.A. and was sent down last week but was not back in time to play in the Monarchs’ opening weekend games.

Manchester (1-1-0) will hit the road for three games this weekend beginning Friday in Providence, moving to Portland Saturday and Springfield Sunday. The Monarchs are hoping Voynov will help improve a power play attack that went just 1-9 last weekend.

“Slava’s a great player. He should be a real great addition. We’ve had him here for the past few years and seen steady progress on both sides of the puck,” said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. “He’s dynamic offensively and defensively he’s getting better all the time. He should be another set of sure hands for us and a guy who defends well.”

Working the point on the power play, Voynov (a two-time AHL all-star) has a great shot and distributes the puck well. That’s a double-edged sword for opposing penalty kills to handle. Voynov has scored 33 goals over the past three seasons.

“When you’ve got a threat to shoot, it creates more opportunities for the guys that are in there paying the price in front of the net,” Morris said. “When that puck comes whistling through and other people are diving to get out of the way, you’re probably going to come up with rebounds and tips. He likes to shoot it so there’s no doubt they’ve got to get to the net.”

Justin Azevedo, who scored the lone Monarchs power play goal on the past weekend, thinks the power play did some good things but needs to loosen up.

“A couple times we wouldn’t get in and get set up, but for the most part after that we did get in and moved the puck well. Once we get in and settle it down, we’re good,” Azevedo said. “We’ve got to relax. We don’t have to force plays.”

The Monarchs also have another shooting threat from the blue line in rookie Nick Deslauriers. It remains to be seen whether Morris uses them both together on one power play unit or splits them up amongst the two extra man teams.

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Another player returning to Manchester this week was goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, who had an extended look from Los Angeles just like Voynov. The Monarchs will need both Zatkoff and Martin Jones this weekend for the tough three-games-in-three-days grind.

“Having a guy that moves the puck well and is experienced helps to shore up that position and to share the workload (is nice),” Morris said. “It’s a long season and both guys will be vying for net time. It should be a healthy competition for those guys to play well.”

Zatkoff enjoyed his time with the Kings and getting more time with their coaching staff and goalie coach Bill Ranford.

“It was long, a lot of travel, but it was a great experience for me. Just to be around the guys up there and get a taste of what it’s like,” Zatkoff said. “Taking shots and being in practice and getting used to the speed of the game up there, it helps a lot for your confidence. Any time to you get a chance to learn from the guys there and be around Billy full time helps out a lot.”

Zatkoff said he feels good about the season and his level of preparedness for it. Last season saw Jones emerge as a rookie and overtake Zatkoff for the job early, only to have Zatkoff come on strong late in the year.

“It’s a lot better this year. I think last year I came in almost putting too much pressure on myself and worrying about things I couldn’t control,” Zatkoff said. “I know what to expect and this year I can just take care of my game and play well and give the team a chance and the rest will take care of itself.”

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The Los Angeles Kings have acquired forward Stefan Legein and a sixth-round draft choice in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for future considerations, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced Wednesday.

Legein, who turns 24 next month, is a 5-10, 185-pound right wing from Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Last season he played for Adirondack (AHL) and Greenville (ECHL). He has played in the AHL over the last four years both with Adirondack and Syracuse. In 2009-10 he recorded 24 goals.

Legein was originally selected by Columbus in the second-round (37th overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He attended training camp with the Flyers this year and was assigned to Adirondack on September 25.

Legein is expected to report to the Monarchs.

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Ian Clark covers pro hockey for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His e-mail address is iclark@unionleader.com.


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