The Kings made it through practice today without any traffic accidents. Including goalies, there were 27 players on the ice (plus coaches). The total has been growing over the last couple weeks. First, third goalie Martin Jones joined the group, followed by AHL players Marc-Andre Cliche and Jake Muzzin. Today, Simon Gagne jumped in, one day short of five months since he suffered a concussion. Gagne skated as an extra, and is not on track to play in any games until the fall, but his appearance on the ice was a positive sign in terms of his long-term ability to play again. Darryl Sutter welcomed him back with an interesting analogy.
SUTTER: “Well, we’re still playing, so he got an opportunity to practice with us. You need lots of live ammo. It’s the same thing when somebody asked a week or so ago. There was no chance then, because he hadn’t even skated with the team. So, all you do is improve your (odds). You go from zero to whatever.’’
The only chance of Gagne playing would be if the Kings suffered a couple injuries to forwards, and even then, that would presume he felt good enough to play. First in line would be Kyle Clifford, who was a lineup regular late in the season but has been a healthy scratch for most of these playoffs as the Kings have gone with a fourth line of Colin Fraser, Brad Richardson and Jordan Nolan. Still, players such as Clifford — and, to some extent, Gagne — give a coach options that he likes to have.
SUTTER: “You need lots of good players. I don’t see too many teams, at any point in the playoffs, that haven’t used a lot of players. Cliffy is probably the youngest player in our room. Experience is a big part of it, not just Cinderella. With the break, and that sense of it, basically what has happened to this team, now and forever probably will never happen again, where you see six-day break, seven-day break. You ask about somebody not playing, we’re thankful, from our standpoint inside the room, with the time we’ve had that’s what we’ve been able to do (is rest).’’