Good afternoon from El Segundo, where the Kings held an optional practice at 12:00 p.m. after arriving shortly after midnight from San Jose. Six players took the ice – Matt Greene, Kevin Gravel, Nick Shore, Andy Andreoff, Jamie McBain and Jhonas Enroth – as the rest of the team resumed their off-ice preparation in advance of Friday’s Game 5 at Staples Center.
“Yeah, we just went over some obviously some special teams from last night,” Darryl Sutter said. “Checked on some injuries. Guys got a little workout upstairs, and guys who wanted to go on, go on.”
While Alec Martinez wasn’t among those who took the ice with the team, Sutter did note with more than a hint of pride that Jordan Nolan, who is out indefinitely after undergoing back surgery, is back around the team. Though he isn’t yet ready to rejoin his teammates on the ice, Sutter alluded to Nolan’s more visible role around the team facility.
More to come shortly from Marian Gaborik and Vincent Lecavalier. If you’re interested in hockey talkin’, I’ll join Hustler and Lawless on TSN 1290 Winnipeg at 1:45 p.m. PT. A link to listen live is right here.
Darryl Sutter, on whether the team is at its best with that even-keel approach:
Well, if you had back-to-backs, you’d be getting in game mode again, or if you had two or three days you’d do it different, but between games and travel, you’re trying to get guys energized and in the right frame of mind. I mean, heck, we were good last night. They scored on opportunities, we didn’t.
Sutter, on the challenges of limiting penalties with how tightly the games have been called:
The referees missed some calls last night. If they’re going to call those penalties – you know, Jamie’s penalty is an accidental high stick, and they’ve got to call that, and in the game before, Gabby’s. But there’s opportunities – I know the theme today is ‘San Jose’s power play.’ I’d say the game for me is ‘how come we didn’t have more?’ We have a good power play, too. There’s missed calls in the third period. When it’s three-two, there should’ve been some calls, clearly. There’s two hooking, tripping penalties. They’ve got to call ‘em. I mean, if they’re going to call what they did call – that’s why you ask. It’s even. It’s not about ‘one team more than the other one.’ I’ve said it – there is a lot of special teams in this series. So, they’ve scored five, and we’ve scored three and a shorthanded goal. So they’re plus one, but plus one might’ve been last night, and we might’ve been playing overtime until three this morning if they’d have given us one more. We didn’t the call. [Reporter: Along those lines, did somebody like Rob or Dean talk to the series supervisor?] I talk to him every day. That’s part of protocol, that I talk to him. It’s not in a bitch mode, or a correction officer mode. It’s just ‘what’d you think,’ or ‘should’ve that been.’ We’ve seen some funny ones this series, if you look at it. Five-on-three they scored, and neither one knew that the other guy was calling the penalty. But it is what it is. It’s the first round, and they go from how many officials down to who they feel are the 20 best referees. You know what? Those guys are trying to get another round, too, so it’s not easy for them.
Sutter, on whether the team draws from its experience two years ago:
I don’t think there’s anything to that at all, quite honest. As you said, it was totally, totally different, and it was three-nothing, not three-one, and we felt we deserved to win Game 3 that time. We didn’t look at it like that, and it’s the same thing now. You can’t win three. You can win one. That’s tomorrow. You can win one. I’d certainly rather it be three-one than three-nothing. You don’t want to play with fate.
Sutter, on what San Jose has been doing that has presented challenges:
Blocking a lot of shots would be I think the one thing that sticks out for me. Other than that, it’s pretty even. What’s the score after three games? They’re all one-goal games, and they all can be overtime games.