One of the first things that caught the eye of those covering the Los Angeles Kings’ morning skate on Friday was that Kyle Clifford was not on the ice. Instead, Jordan Nolan took line rushes with Colin Fraser and Tyler Toffoli.
The situation allowed Darryl Sutter to dig into his bag of jokes at a time of year many teams are tight-lipped about injury and personnel news.
“He was out there. He gets here before you guys,” Sutter said. “Then he was doing a GEICO commercial, then he was doing the weather for Channel Four this morning up in the helicopter.”
When the chuckles subsided and the question was rephrased, Sutter doused any concerns over the Kings’ fourth line left wing.
“He had a – what does Hitch call it? – maintenance day, day of the game.”
Expect Clifford to skate alongside Colin Fraser and Tyler Toffoli during Game 6 tonight.
Darryl wasn’t the only one auditioning for a time slot at The Comedy Store.
Robyn Regehr offered a few laughs when revealing that the reason that he had left Game 5 in the third period was to repair some damage when he took a stick to the nose when delivering a hit on T.J. Oshie in the corner.
“I was telling these guys before, I’m just putting my nose in all the wrong places,” Regehr said.
It caused some additional pain to a nose that had already been broken in the series. “It was broke, so he can’t re-broke it,” Sutter memorably said on Thursday.
In what has become a common question in the L.A. locker room, Regehr was asked how many times he had broken his nose in his career.
“How many fingers and toes do you have? You can start counting. I don’t know. I don’t count,” he said.
“Just like stitches, I stopped counting a long time ago.”
The biggest boost the Kings get out of having Regehr is lightening the load of abuse the Universe usually throws at Scuderi.
— All The Kings Men (@KingsMenPodcast) May 9, 2013
Many questions over the previous two days have centered on what Los Angeles has to do to close out the series, and the expected emotional push-back from a St. Louis team facing elimination.
It’s a situation that the Kings faced in four different series last year. The Kings were 4-4 a year ago and 12-10 all-time with an opportunity to close out a series. The Kings are 6-1 all-time when leading 3-2 in a series.
“I think we were pretty good at it,” Trevor Lewis said of the team’s ability to end a series in 2012. “I mean, the team’s always going to come out the hardest when they’re on the verge of elimination.”
“We know they’re going to come out and throw everything at us. I think we’ve got to match and exceed their intensity and just make sure we’re taking care of business the way we know how. We know that the fourth game’s always the toughest to win, so we’ve got to make sure we’re prepared for it.”
The line of Lewis, Dustin Penner and Jarret Stoll was clearly prepared for the efforts the Blues threw at them in Game 5, which was the trio’s best forechecking and pressure performance of the series.
“I think that’s kind of our role, is to be hard, energy and get on the forecheck and kind of tire them out. I think last game we did a pretty good job at it. I think a big key to it is if we’re quick out of our zone, we have lots of energy in the offensive zone. We’ve got to make sure we’re getting back quick and helping our D out and getting back up the ice quick,” Lewis said.