No player wants to see a teammate go down injured, but if Jeff Carter is unable to play tomorrow — and beyond — it will likely open up an opportunity for Brad Richardson, who hasn’t had many opportunities of late. Richardson, a lineup regular for the Kings over the previous two seasons, has been a healthy scratch in 23 of 77 games this season, and has three goals and two assists in 54 games. Richardson has played in top-six roles for the Kings previously — most recently in the first round of the playoffs last season, with Kyle Clifford and Wayne Simmonds — and in practice today, Richardson was alongside first-line pair Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar. Richardson hasn’t been in a game since March 9 — he’s been scratched from the past nine — but sounds as though he’s prepared to play.
RICHARDSON: “I hope Carts is fine. We need him in our lineup. But if I’m in, I’m ready to go.’’
Richardson has actually participated in pregame warmups before the past two games, so it seems as though Darryl Sutter was giving strong consideration to putting Richardson in the lineup anyway.
RICHARDSON: “The last couple games, he said, `Be ready,’ and I wasn’t really sure what was going on until after warmups. You just kind of prepare like you’re playing. Sometimes it’s not easy, but I’ve been through it before and you have to do it. This is the time of year you want to be playing. I’m excited to get back in there, hopefully soon.’’
Question: When you’re not playing, what’s the key to staying ready? Do you try to treat practices like games?
RICHARDSON: “The biggest thing is, you’re trying to stay in shape and feel like you’re in a game. We haven’t been practicing a whole lot here, so yeah, it’s been tough, but we’re doing the work after, either after practice or on game days. You’re just trying to do the drills like you’re simulating a game, what you would be doing in a game. That’s really all you can do, and stuff in a gym.’’
Question: During your time here, you’ve played pretty much everywhere and with everyone. Does that make it a little easier to step in now?
RICHARDSON: “I think I’ve played with everyone in this room. So I’m excited. If I get to play with Kopi Brownie tomorrow, that would be awesome. They’re playing great. If that works out, then I’m excited to get back in there.’’