The Los Angeles Kings began taking the ice shortly before 10:00 a.m. at Toyota Sports Center after a Sunday day off and quickly shifted into flow and transition drills in which defensemen retrieved pucks behind their own net and sent them up-ice to the forwards. When lines were ultimately shown later in practice, there didn’t appear to be any changes to the forward groups used against Dallas and Vancouver. A better sense of any potential tinkering will be gained during Tuesday’s morning skate in advance of Columbus’ lone visit to Staples Center this season.
Darryl Sutter met with reporters after the skate and shared an update on Jeff Zatkoff, who injured his groin during Saturday’s morning skate. Zatkoff, who was placed on IR later on Saturday, shouldn’t be sidelined much longer than the minimum IR stay, which is seven days following the date of the injury.
“You know what, I think a week is pretty much normal for that,” Sutter said. “…It’s not extended or anything like that. So I just look at it like the schedule we play every other day and then back-to-back to finish this week, so he wouldn’t be eligible to come off til after we come home from that trip.”
Darryl Sutter, on Jack Campbell:
When we got him, [it] was clearly to get a prospect in the organization. He was still young enough, he had good size, that the goaltending coaches thought they could work with him and put him almost on a schedule where it’s going to take some time. Jack was clearly coming off a rough year and needed an organization change, so he came in and is sort of just taking his baby steps now.
Sutter, on returning to practice after a day off:
Our schedule is not so much today or yesterday, our schedule’s going to get into where it’s every other day, and we have to be prepared not just for the day-off stuff, but we’re going to get into a schedule where your days offs are going to be the day before the game, so we have to as a team start understanding how to handle and manage that. Days off are always good for banged up guys, but the key is for guys to be able to get their clocks set physically and mentally and play the games.
Sutter, on whether back-to-back sets are still a challenge in the NHL:
We we have 13 or 14 this year – we start this back-to-back coming up here – but the key to the back-to-backs is the amount of travel and time zones. It’s not ‘playing the games.’ You’re very seldom home or to the hotel, very seldom before one in the morning. So back-to-backs are part of a jammed schedule now. I’ve said it – I don’t like the border crossings in the division. That’s not a good way of doing it, and in our division also, changing time zones. You look this year, a lot of our back-to-backs, Calgary, Edmonton catch us. They get a pretty good deal out of that, those teams, when you look at where we’re coming from. So the border crossings, time changes and how long a flight are the most important parts of a back-to-back, then. It used to be everybody used to play Saturdays-Sundays, for the most point, right? But there were fewer teams, so you weren’t playing again ‘til Thursday, or Wednesday always. Now it’s not like that. If you look at our schedule this month, we’ve allowed to give guys Sundays off, but because it’s always where it fits best, it’s good for them to know their days and it fits good for them, but if you look at the schedule going forward, it’s hard to find. It’s hard to find your days.