The Kings were originally slated to hold an off-ice workout on Wednesday, but at 10:00 a.m. a collection of skaters and goaltenders Jack Campbell and Anders Lindback took the ice for an optional practice on an off-day between games against Anaheim and Pittsburgh.
Darryl Sutter shared an update after practice on Lindback, who is still on an AHL PTO and can’t appear in any games with the parent club without signing an NHL contract.
“We’ll spend some time getting to know him. The way their schedule is, [Ontario] didn’t play during the week, so he’ll practice here for three or four days, and if everything goes right, then he’ll go and play in Tucson this weekend,” he said.
Sutter noted that one of the intriguing aspects of Lindback’s ability and skill set comes from his professional upbringing.
“I think the biggest thing is the original program he was in is very similar to ours for goaltenders in Nashville,” he said. “I mostly think since then he’s moved around to different types of organizations that may or may not have been conducive to that type of goaltender. I think it’s a good fit for him, and we’ll just see how it goes. He’s missed some time here, but he’s been sturdy, he’s been with the team here, so he’s in good shape. So we’ll just see how it goes. And he’s clear with that, too. He understands what we want and expect, and he’s pretty open with it as we talk about it.”
In 130 career NHL games, Lindback is 45-58-8 with a 2.87 goals-against average, a .904 save percentage and three shutouts with Nashville, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Buffalo and Arizona.
It’s still a bit presumptuous to expect him to immediately join the Kings when needed; the team should continue to get a look at the 6-foot-6 goalie this weekend, as noted, and make any hypothetical decisions after seeing him in action. It’s also still a bit too early to expect those from Ontario to join the team and quickly provide dividends, as Sutter noted in an extension of one of his comments from last night, in which he said, “there’s nobody coming in on a white horse to play goal for us or score goals or to come up from Ontario.”
Such moves could come, but teams, generally speaking, aren’t looking to make fundamental changes to their lineup one month into the season, and while injury reinforcements should arrive, the players currently in the room are the ones who will by and large look to kickstart their scoring and figure out how to regularly claim two points.
“You have to be realistic, and at the same time, it’s not just me. You, the players, everybody,” he said on Wednesday. “It’s not the same team, so we’re in the middle of the pack, and we’re going to have to fight like hell, and our goal is, as I said, to stay in it. We’ll get guys back one at a time, but during that time, stay in it. You’re not going to win every game and you’re not going to lose every game and you’re going to go through stretches that you don’t score and things like that, but the one thing you should have is solid goaltending and a commitment to checking. That’s what good teams do.”
Darryl Sutter, on what stands out with the Nic Dowd-Dustin Brown “duo”:
Well, Brownie’s a veteran with some experience. Yes, we like that. Quite honest, the way we are set up and the way that we have Kopi with one of Pearson or Toffoli and Carter with one of Pearson or Toffoli, so it sort of makes sense that we could do that. [Reporter: In terms of Brownie specifically, that north-south game, that physical emotional game that you see, has that been there most nights so far this year?] I think the last couple games he’s been really good at it. [Reporter: How does Nic complement Dustin, and how does Dustin complement Nic in that pairing?] I mean, until they play together for a while, I really couldn’t tell you. I mean, I thought they had a strong game last night, but at the same time, they were on the ice for two goals against. They complement each other if they aren’t on the ice for any goals- [Reporter: If it clicked.] Yeah. If they score a goal. I mean, we’re just sort of not getting too far down the road with any of this. We’re sort of in a game-to-game and match-ups and who we’replaying, that sort of thing.
Sutter, on whether he’ll watch the World Series tonight:
Oh yeah, I’ll watch it. Should be able to get both of ‘em – Penguins and Ducks, and Cubs and Indians.
Sutter, on what Pittsburgh did well to turn its season around last year:
Well, I think their big guys, if you look back early in the year, there was a lot of talk that their big guys weren’t playing that well. I think if you look going down the stretch that for sure Sid became a dominant player again, and not just that where it’s a stats thing. Where it’s a 200-foot game, and the leadership thing and the identity thing and all that, I think he re-established himself. [Reporter: I think I remember you saying that when we were back in Pittsburgh, I think the kind of general groupthink was, ‘why is Sid not having the type of year,’ and you saw otherwise.] We’ve seen it when we did it in ’12, too. The big guys step up and they call a couple young guys up and changed some players. They bring the new coach up, but they also bring players that were good players at the American League level, not guys that were given jobs. They came up and played a part. Similar to probably what we did that year with Kinger and Jordy and Slava.
Sutter, on an assertion that the team hasn’t adequately replaced Slava Voynov:
It’s true. When he left, he played the most games in hockey that year. He won a Stanley Cup, played in all the Olympic games, all the Stanley Cup games, every regular season game and every preseason game. So, not replaceable. [Reporter: And plus it forces everybody into different roles and different positions and forced them to come up.] Yeah, he was our second-best defenseman.
Sutter, on Jack Campbell making his Kings debut:
I told him this morning, I thought he was solid. A lot of times when kids come in, you can tell if the puck jumps off or they’re a little skittish in there. But he came in and he was saying he felt good and he was solid, and he was ready to go at any time. I was happy for him. I was proud of him, actually.