With Robyn Regehr having returned for Saturday’s game against Anaheim and Drew Doughty participating fully in practice, the Los Angeles Kings appear to be in as good health as can reasonably be expected after 82 regular season games.
“We’re a hundred percent,” Darryl Sutter said. “That was the importance of having a full practice today. A full practice means everybody out there. That’s a good thing.”
And while Doughty has been given the clean bill of health – he was deemed to be 100% after the the Anaheim game – a more significant question will be addressed when he participates in his first competitive battle for the puck against Joe Thornton, or Brent Burns, or any of the other sizable Sharks forwards against whom he’ll battle for position on the ice over the coming two weeks. He hasn’t played since suffering an upper-body injury while making a hit on San Jose’s Tyler Kennedy midway through the first period of a game at the SAP Center on April 3.
The Kings didn’t participate in any full-bore battle drills at practice today, but that didn’t concern Doughty. As Sutter has indicated since the weekend, he’s ready to play.
“I’ve known I’m good to go,” Doughty said. “I don’t need [battle drills] to test my strength or anything like that. But it’d maybe a good idea to get in a few just to kind of get into a game situations kind of thing. I’m sure they’ll have some planned for me coming up here before game one.”
Though there weren’t any heavy compete drills, Tuesday’s practice was length and involved plenty of trips up and down the ice.
“Yeah, we didn’t get much rest and it was quite flowy, but we had to work pretty hard too. It was a good practice,” Doughty said. “He gave us a few days off, which was nice to kind of recoup. Yeah, it was a good practice today, and I thought the boys were pretty good out there.”
“My practices before this were tougher than today because I was doing the full practice, then getting bag skates after. That was the worst, but it was good to actually be in every single drill and be able to play physical a little bit in the corners and stuff. So that felt good.”