Thomas Hickey and Jeff Zatkoff represented the Eastern Conference, the Manchester Monarchs (and, by extension, the Kings) at yesterday’s AHL All-Star Game. The Western Conference beat the Eastern Conference 8-7 in a shootout. Zatkoff allowed three goals on 20 shots in the second period. Hickey had an even plus-minus rating and one shot on goal.
Darryl Sutter took advantage of last week’s NHL break to get a first-hand look at Hickey, Zatkoff and many of the Kings’ prospects for the first time. Sutter watched two games in Manchester over the weekend and had the tour-guide services of Kings development guru Mike O’Connell. Sutter and O’Connell were teammates in Chicago during their playing days. Sutter indicated that he was mostly in a learning mode, and not so much an evaluation mode, when it came to watching the Monarchs, but did offer a general opinion on what he saw from the prospects.
SUTTER: “Carrying eight defensemen (with the Kings) makes it tough for any defenseman there. There are forwards that are good players. They’re `sooner than later’ guys, that’s for sure, and that’s good. They’ve had a tough time, too. They’ve been going through the injury thing and trying to get back to healthy again, and then they had their break.”
Sutter said he didn’t get much time to talk to the players, largely because the Monarchs started their All-Star break immediately after Saturday’s game.
“There were a lot of F-150s leaving the yard there,” Sutter said.
Other than the trip to Manchester, Sutter spent most of his “break” in El Segundo but did get a chance to take his son Chris to Disneyland.
“It was awesome. A long day for grown-ups,” Sutter said with a laugh.