In your first National Hockey League game, the last thing you would want to happen is a season ending injury. That is just what happened to Kings center Andrei Loktionov three years ago. With about 7 minutes to go in the third period of his NHL debut, Loktionov tried to wrap his arm around an Edmonton Oilers defeseman in pursuit of the puck. His awkward arm movement caused him to lock up, and subsquently separate his shoulder. Immediately he dropped his stick and gloves, indicative that he was in a high amount of pain and discomfort. He would not return to the ice. Edmonton doctors attempted to relocate his shoulder, but to no avail; and he was rushed to a local Edmonton hospital. Not a good way to start your NHL career.
Loktionov Injury In His First NHL Game:
His facial expressions on the bench say it all.
Yesterday he took the ice in Edmonton for the second time since his major injury (played in EDM 2-2-11). Loktionov had zero points and only one shot on goal in 12:42 of ice time, enroute to a 2-1 overtime Kings loss. The bright side is that the Kings young Russian center (and the rest of the Kings team) was still in once piece after 60 minutes of regulation play and 3:06 of bonus hockey.
As long as Loktionov stays healthy he can become an impact player for the Kings. The promising prospect was called up from the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL due to injuries to Dustin Penner and Simon Gagne, and I feel like Loktionov has been steadily improving into a legit NHL player. He has not proved much on the offensive side of the game yet (0 goals, 4 assists, only 39 shots in 25 games), but definitely defensively. He is 1 of 10 Kings players with a plus rating (+ 1). As long as ‘Lokti’ continues to play solid defense and remain healthy, the offense will eventually come; and he will be an NHL player for a very long time.