Davis Drewiske has sat patiently and waited. And waited, and waited. The Kings have played 25 games this season, and Drewiske has been a healthy scratch in 24 of them. Always a quiet, friendly, polite presence in the locker room, Drewiske has gone about his work — countless miles of conditioning skating — without complaint. Now, with Willie Mitchell out of the lineup, Drewiske will get a chance, starting with tomorrow’s game against Montreal, in a defensive pairing with Matt Greene. After practice, Drewiske talked about his journey back into the lineup, before Terry Murray had made it official that Drewiske would play.
DREWISKE: “If I get the call, I’ll be ready to do. I’ve done a lot of work, trying to stay ready, and I’m anxious to get back in there. So I’ll be ready to go if they need me.’’
Question: When you’re getting back in, is it just a matter of keeping things simple out there?
DREWISKE: “I think that’s my game anyway, kind of, to make a good first pass and be hard and physical in front of the net and in the corners. That’s my game.’’
Question: It must be difficult to sit and watch, but is there anything you can learn when you’re out of the lineup?
DREWISKE: “First of all, you just try to be a good pro and work hard every day. I think the real battle is mentally staying connected to the game and everything that’s going on, when you’ve been out for a while. But I definitely try to watch the game pretty intently and focus on what guys are doing, where the mistakes are. I think that’s a good way to keep yourself in touch with what’s going on.’’
How long will Drewiske’s opportunity last? Alec Martinez has been medically cleared for full-contact practice, so it won’t be long before Martinez is ready to play. That said, Murray said he’s looking for all players to step up in the absence of Mitchell and Mike Richards.
MURRAY: “Guys just have to play. There’s no magic to that formula. There’s an opportunity that opens up for some players to get back into the lineup. Other guys just need to take on a little bit more of a workload, especially on Mitchell’s side of it. He’s a big penalty-killer for us. He’s a really good penalty killer, and other guys are going to get an opportunity. It’s a good thing to see, not the fact that you’ve got players injured but it’s good for other players to get put into situations that give them an opportunity to improve their game, to contribute to the team. Because as you get to the deeper part of the season, inevitably there is a call to duty in those situations. So they’ve been there, they know what to do and they react in the right way.’’