Gaborik skated, but no clarity in first round availability - LA Kings Insider

Darryl Sutter revealed that Marian Gaborik skated on his own at Toyota Sports Center this morning, but with only six games remaining in the regular season and more boxes to be checked off in advance of a return, there is no clear picture on when or whether the skilled winger would be available for selection during early Stanley Cup Playoffs action.

“He skated a little bit today, but until he puts the gear on, there’s no magic or mystery to it,” Sutter said. “When you have a Grade 3 sprain, then there’s a timeline for healing, and with healing is therapy. Once therapy’s over, then that gives coaches the reign on when he could play. So I would say I have no idea.”

A Grade 3 sprain, compared to a Grade 1 and a Grade 2 sprain, is the most severe, and early in the rehabilitation process, Gaborik shared with FOX Sports West’s Alex Curry that he was given a preliminary 10-to-12 week diagnosis following his February 12 collision with New York Rangers forward Dominic Moore. Given that range – and that range can change over time – the general ballpark of a return would be between April 22 and May 6, while the playoffs begin the week of April 11. Last week, Sutter had downplayed any chance of a return during the regular season (which would have come with its own set of LTIR and financial complications; the salary cap is irrelevant in the playoffs).

“As coaches and players, you’re always leaning towards when they say when it’s ‘six-to-eight’ or whatever it is, well, that’s a big difference,” Sutter said. “That’s a series, and there’s no way a player, unless he can play regular season games, I have no interest in playing him in the playoffs. None. We’ve done that before, and if you’d look back and just in the past accomplishments of this team, if you look back it, it’s very difficult to put players in [that haven’t played regular season games after their injury]. … And as you go into March, there’s a whole another level of play, so there’s a whole next part, too.”

Sutter prefers to categorize players’ availability by “healthy,” “day-to-day,” “long-term” and “injured reserve.” There is also another linear if imprecise process undertaken by those trying to work back from injury. Players don’t simply immediately make a surprise return to the lineup, but rather gradually work back to game action after having completed a checklist that includes but isn’t limited to skating on their own, skating at the end of a team practice, skating in a limited capacity in practice, participating fully in practice, and finally being cleared to play.

That checklist isn’t relevant to Sutter at this moment. “He doesn’t have one, because it’s not in our hands yet,” Sutter said. “When they say there’s a circled date, I want to know that date. I don’t want to know that ‘six-to-eight’ stuff. That, to me, is irrelevant. That’s a series.”

Gaborik, capable of spreading opposing teams out because of his speed and skill, has 12 goals and 22 points in 54 games this season. Though he has an injury history, he has appeared in a higher percentage of possible games in Los Angeles than he had in earlier stops in his career, and was injured while playing his 99th consecutive game for the team.

Of course, recoveries and timelines are different, and the possibility and thrill of playing in the postseason is not lost on Gaborik, who had told FOX Sports West that he’s “looking forward to some playoff hockey.”

“I think every player’s different,” Sutter said. “We’ve been around guys – I’ve played with and coached with guys that try to stretch out as much as they can, and I’ve played and coached with guys that try and get back as quick as they can.”

Rules for Blog Commenting
  • - No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • - Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other commenters, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • - Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • - Please do not discuss, or post links to, websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • - Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.
Alec martinez

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 210 lb | Age: 29

Born: July 26, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester Hills, MI, USA
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Martinez was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 Draft, while playing for Miami University. He has since become a two-time Stanley Cup champion and the 17th man in Stanley Cup playoff history to score the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

VIEW ALEC MARTINEZ POSTS
Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

VIEW ANZE KOPITAR POSTS
Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

VIEW DREW DOUGHTY POSTS
Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
VIEW TYLER TOFFOLI POSTS

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

VIEW JEFF CARTER POSTS
Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

VIEW JONATHAN QUICK POSTS