Good morning, and a very happy Martin Luther King Day to you from El Segundo. Notes from the morning skate in advance of tonight’s game against the Calgary Flames (7:30 p.m. / FOX Sports West):
Gaborik – Kopitar – Williams
Clifford – Shore – Carter
Brown – Stoll – Lewis
King – Andreoff – Richards – Nolan
Muzzin – Doughty
Regehr – Martinez
McNabb – Greene
Schultz – McBain
-Robyn Regehr, welcome back. “I feel ready to rock,” he said. The veteran defenseman and elder statesman in the Kings’ room suffered a hand injury in a win over St. Louis on December 18 and hasn’t played since. He’s on injured reserve, so the team would need to make a roster move to accommodate his return to the lineup (a return that Darryl Sutter confirmed). Loaning Jeff Schultz to Manchester is a possibility, though at this point I’m hearing the “most likely” move would be to place Martin Jones (back spasms) on injured reserve, retroactive to last Thursday. The “most likely” disclaimer (via hockey ops) is important; the official decision hasn’t been made yet. If Jones were to be placed on injured reserve, he wouldn’t be available for Wednesday’s game in San Jose. That Jones got onto the ice after today’s morning skate works in his favor to not getting placed on IR, and the goaltender deemed himself “day-to-day” when we spoke with him moments ago. But as of now (see: 11:40 a.m.) the leaning decision would be to place Jones on IR. Keep in mind Schultz wouldn’t have to clear waivers if he remained with the Kings for fewer than 30 days (his loan to Manchester during the Christmas break doesn’t counts towards the 30-day total) or logged fewer than 10 games; he has nine games this season to his credit, and I was told two days ago by hockey operations that he was nearing but just shy of 30 days with the club. Schultz also logged 23:48 in a strong performance against Anaheim on Saturday, working in his favor as well. Another possibility would be a Jamie McBain assignment to Manchester, though McBain would have to clear waivers, and in my discussions with hockey ops, given that McBain earns the $550,000 league minimum and teams are constantly in search of righthanded defensemen, the potential of losing him to another team works against a hypothetical Manchester assignment.
-Both McBain and Schultz remained on for extra work with J.F. Berube, who will back Jonathan Quick up tonight. No forwards remained on the ice for extra work, so it’s not entirely clear which of the forwards will sit. Based on the line rushes, it would either be Dwight King or Andy Andreoff.
-Tyler Toffoli (in a red no-contact jersey) and Martin Jones (back spasms) joined the skate after most of the team had left. Toffoli (injured reserve / mononucleosis) and Jones won’t play tonight, and Toffoli is all but certainly out through the All-Star Break.
-Could we see a Nick Shore – Drew Shore “bi-coastal” brother rivalry? Maybe not. Drew Shore was scratched in Calgary’s win at San Jose on Saturday and skated as an extra at Calgary’s practice yesterday. Due to the Clippers game at Staples Center today, there’s no Flames morning skate. As noted through reports yesterday, Joni Ortio will start in net.
-Jonathan Quick left the ice first; he’ll start, and J.F. Berube will back him up.
-More to come throughout the day, including a report on the impending roster move. Also, check out the new banners on the, uh, banner photo for this post.