It was all quiet from the NHL office today, as the Kings didn’t receive word of a disciplinary hearing for Dwight King after his hit on Alex Pietrangelo in Game 1. King got a two-minute boarding penalty when Pietrangelo went face-first into the boards late in the second period. Pietrangelo didn’t play in the third period and his status for Game 2 is in question. A lack of a call from the league today means King is unlikely to receive any type of supplemental discipline, and while Darryl Sutter didn’t weigh in on that specifically, he did talk about the hit…
SUTTER: “It’s as much the player himself. It’s as much the player, Pietrangelo, his own…going that way. It’s not even a hit. It’s an arm going like this. [bent and extended] It’s not a player [King] who does that. It depends on what side you’re on, and I’m in the middle. … It’s a tough game, right? That’s a fact. If you guys want to take hitting out, hen see how exciting it is. In the first round, it happened to us to, not on a play that was accidental. It was a flagrant foul, and we didn’t complain.’’
As for Pietrangelo, here are some updates from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (click here) and Belleville News-Democrat (click here), both of which describe how Pietrangelo didn’t practice today and might be replaced by Ian Cole for Game 2. Incidentally, before Game 1, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was asked about his defensemen’s youth and depth, which would be tested a bit more if Pietrangelo is forced to miss any time.
HITCHCOCK: “We’re young in age, but we’re not young in years in the league. You can’t look at our defensemen’s ages. Even a guy like Barret (Jackman). He’s 30 years old and he’s been in the league 12 years. We’ve got 22-year-olds who have been in the league three or four years. We’re more experienced than people think we are, based on our age. Everybody looks and says, `Man, you’ve got a lot of youth there,’ but the guys have been in the league, really, since age 20, some of them 19. So we’re a little bit more of a veteran group than people think. What we are is a sum of parts. The tandem of Russell and Polak have really given us great minutes. We were able to distribute minutes pretty much every part of the year. At some period of time, it was Jackman and Shattenkirk. We probably need those guys to play a little bit better in this series than they did last series.
“But we’ve been able to distribute minutes through the three pairs, and it has worked. So, whatever’s happening, it works. We’re not overly physical, but we’re physical enough. We’re not overly skilled, but we’re skilled enough. I think we do it by that committee, and I think we get the job done, very similar to what L.A. does. Their puck-movers are on the right and our puck-movers are on the right. Their defending people are on the left and ours are on the left too. So it’s a very similar group that way.’’
Finally, in terms of injured players, Kyle Clifford made it through another day of full-team practice, but Sutter didn’t offer much of an update as to when Clifford might play again.
SUTTER: “We’re trying to get these guys, who have a concussion or whatever you want to call it, it’s whatever protocol is, but what they use is conditioning. They’re not machines. If they don’t have high-intensity training for two or three days, they can lose 15 or 20 percent of their conditioning. So it’s not much use having a player out there, this time of year, that is 60-percent capacity.’’