The Reign were without two key defensemen for Saturday night’s opener against San Diego.
Veteran Rob Scuderi, who cleared waivers earlier this week and was assigned to Ontario by the Kings, has yet to join the team. Head coach Mike Stothers confirmed following the Reign’s 2-0 opening win against the Gulls that Scuderi would be at practice on Monday.
When asked if the injuries that reportedly ailed Scuderi during Kings training camp were the reasons for his absence, Stothers said it was more personal than physical.
“He’s got to try and figure out what exactly he wants to do, and his family,” Stothers said. “So a guy who’s had as good a career as he has you just give him the time. Get his personal affairs in order and what he wants to do and whatever he brings to us it will be valuable. We’re looking forward to it. I think once he gets into our environment and sees on a daily basis what we’ve got going in Ontario, it’s a great set-up and it looks like it’d be a half-decent team so I think the youth around him will make him feel young again and geez, he might have another 7 or 8 years left in him.”
One of those young defenseman could be Paul LaDue, but the Reign are waiting for his services after the 24-year-old prospect missed Saturday’s game to a lower-body injury sustained in practice on Thursday, Stothers said. LaDue did travel with the team to San Diego.
“I don’t think it’s too bad,” Stothers said when asked whether the injury was day-to-day or week-to-week. “It’s unfortunate because he had a great training camp and we were looking forward to having him tonight, but there’s a lot of hockey left to be played so I’m sure he’ll get his fair share of ice time.”
LaDue, 24, won an NCAA title last season with the University of North Dakota and is entering his first full pro season. Of note, defenseman Erik Cernak was a healthy scratch on Saturday in place of Paul Bissonnette, a usual winger who played defense.
“Well, you expect a physical game in here,” Stothers said in part of why he had Bissonnette, typically a forward, in the lineup. “You don’t want anybody on your team to get hurt because you didn’t have the right personnel dressed. There’s going to be times where it’s not needed but just going in here tonight I think it was good to help settle things down. Biss is versatile, that’s why he’s lasted as along as he has.”