Jarret Stoll and Jonathan Quick participated fully in an afternoon practice comprised heavily of veterans at Toyota Sports Center on Wednesday as they continued to work their way back into the Kings’ lineup after undergoing surgery.
Both expressed a general sense – not an exact number of games – of the workload they’d like to undergo before the regular season opens on October 8.
“Three [games], maybe? Four?” Stoll surmised before acknowledging that he’d like to get in at least the final two games.
The decision will ultimately be made with great care.
“The coach, trainer, myself, doctor, myself, we’ve got four people trying to figure out the right answer,” Quick said. “We’ve got a lot of minds putting together, trying to figure it out. We’ll figure it out. We’ve still got a little bit of time. Obviously it’s going to happen in a hurry, though. I’ll just come in, keep working every day, and hopefully continue to keep getting better, as I have been. Hopefully we can get a couple games and get ready for the season.”
Both coincidentally underwent surgery on June 24 – Stoll’s 32nd birthday. For Quick, it was necessitated by a wrist injury suffered in the second round series against Anaheim. For Stoll, it was a hip condition that worsened in the Chicago series.
“There’s a lot of particles and bone in there, the labrum tear, so it was kind of that you could play on it, but the wrap was tight,” he said.
“I couldn’t walk or anything. I kind of had a good limp going on, but I don’t know…when I did it.”
“Some mornings, I’d wake up, and it’d be fine. I’d be like, ‘Oh, this going to be a good day.’ And you get up from your pre-game nap, and you could hardly walk.”
These are painful reminders of the status quo experienced by teams that string together multiple deep postseason runs.
“It’s just that time of the year, it’s so late in the season, especially the way it’s every other day you’re playing a game at that time,” Quick said. “You just assume that the guys you’re playing against have some things that are nagging them, and guys on your team. It just comes with the territory of playing that late in the season.”
Jarret Stoll, on taking it slow in returning from injury:
I’m ahead of schedule, but there’s no reason to be stupid and push it and then all of a sudden be behind and then not be able to start the season. I anticipate starting the season, and that’s why I want to be smart with it. It’s a hip. You kind of need it to play hockey. We’re all on the same page – the training staff, coaching staff. We’re just going to be smart with it.
Stoll, on his mentality for preseason games:
Yeah, the timing, our system again, because you’re off for three months, three and a half months, and just in your mind, our system, where we’re supposed to be. If you’re four, five, six feet out of position, you’re out of position, and those reads, the timing happens quickly. In preseason it’s a little bit slower, and in the regular season, it’s faster. So for the young guys to get those reps, whether it’s neutral zone, D-zone, our forecheck, all those things, we’re looking at a lot of video now, and you’ve got to implement that in the preseason. Not only the young kids, but us as well. We’ve got to be in the right spots. We’ve got to be in the right places out there, and also to get the chemistry back as well, like you said. A lot of things. Some guys need two or three preseason games, some guys need more, but you need ‘em.
Jonathan Quick, on whether teammates are aware of each others’ injuries:
Obviously, as you know, we had a multiple guys who were battling a few things throughout the playoffs. You’re in the training room, and you see other guys, you know, you’re exactly going out of your way to tell people, and I suppose if you’re not hurt, you’re not really in the trainer’s room too often, so you might not see some of the things that guys are dealing with.
Quick, on whether such injuries are discussed:
No, you’re not really talking about it. Obviously if you see something, they’re your teammates, so obviously you show some concern and ask them about it. But you’re not really going out of your way to tell people any of your injuries.
Quick, on whether he pushes himself harder at practice to make up for lost game time:
You feel like you have a little more ground to make up, so you’re trying to get as much accomplished on the ice every day as you can. I think everything’s going the way we planned, and hopefully the goal is to get a couple preseason games in.
Quick, on whether he’d like to cut back his workload given the team’s runs:
No, I haven’t put too much thought into that. You love playing in the games, so I’d never voluntarily say, ‘Yeah, give me that night off.’ I think the coaching staff has a good feel for the goaltenders and their team and what’s best for them. They run the ship. We just go to work, that’s about it. So when they tell me to take a day off, I’ll take a day off. When they tell me I’m going, I’m going.
Quick, on wanting to play as much as possible:
Yeah, obviously. You want to be involved. You want to be a part of it. You work so hard all summer and training camp and everything to play those games and get in there and try to help be a difference maker for the team, so you want to be a part of it, obviously. For the number of games, I don’t think there’s any number in my head that I want or anything like that. Whenever I’m told to go, I’m going to go as hard as I can.