With Anze Kopitar, Andy Andreoff and Marian Gaborik all skating and in varying degrees of readiness to return to action, it was worth asking Darryl Sutter whether there was any update on Jonathan Quick, who, as you are likely aware, suffered a groin injury late in the first period of the season opener at San Jose on October 12.
It’s now November 18, and there’s still not really any firm shift in the timeline of the goaltender, who remains month-to-month.
“We’ve seen him lots the last two or three days,” Sutter said “He’s feeling a lot better, but he’s still not in any sort of train mode. It’s not even rehab mode, it’s just waiting.”
Sutter said he wasn’t sure when Quick’s next appointment with a doctor was set for, but the team should have some sort of an update of the goaltender’s progress when that takes place.
In other goaltending-related news, Jack Campbell, deemed to be “panning for gold in Stockton” by Sutter earlier today, has officially been assigned to AHL-Ontario and should be available for tonight’s game against the Stockton Heat.
Campbell’s assignment comes on the heels of the news that Jeff Zatkoff is game-ready, but that doesn’t mean Sutter is simply going to insert him into the crease against either New Jersey at Staples Center on Saturday or in Anaheim on Sunday.
“He said he was ready last time. He was ready to play, but there’s three periods,” Sutter said. “I don’t have much patience for that stuff now.”
Budaj was the first goaltender off the ice at today’s practice, an indication that he could start in an afternoon game the following day. But Zatkoff will back Budaj up, and is feeling good about his progress over the past week.
“I’m good. A little setback there in Ottawa,” the goaltender said. “Felt really good in the game, but about halfway through the second just had a play where I went laterally right to left and just kind of came up a little lame, started spasming. Played the rest of the second, just thought maybe it would go away, and I think I just re-aggravated it a little bit. We decided it’s probably best to be a little more precautionary so that’s kind of why I came out. We’ve just really focused on getting it back and then making sure now I’ve had four really intense days to make sure that it holds up. I think we had maybe two intense days last time so we wanted to make sure we had a solid week of a lot of strain on it so it feels good.”
One of the challenges for a goaltender when returning from this type of an injury is to block it out and not allow it to affect their performance.
“Especially with groins, I think half of it is mental,” Zatkoff said “Sometimes at the beginning you get that feeling because it’s scar tissue breaking away it doesn’t mean that the strength’s not there, but you still have that aggravation and it’s being able to work past that and trust your body that it’s going to hold up. … Not playing for a few weeks, that’s normal – I do that all the time, that’s part of my job – so that wasn’t really the issue. It was getting to that point, and I was there versus Ottawa, where I didn’t have that hesitation and I feel that I’m back there now but in a better spot.”
In other goaltending news, Anders Lindback, who was on a tryout with AHL-Ontario, has been released from his PTO. This news was disseminated by an Ontario press release yesterday before it was retracted a short time later; it is now official. Lindback was 2-1-1 with a 3.40 goals-against average and an .870 save percentage prior to today’s transaction. For what it’s worth, I asked hockey operations whether the release from the PTO was simply a necessary transaction so he could be signed to a Standard Players Contract, and was told, “no.”
Jeff Zatkoff, on whether this kind of injury requires extra time to “make sure it’s right”:
Yeah, it’s been frustrating, especially going in in the Ottawa game and feeling good. It’s tough, I kind of put Buds in a tough spot there. When you’re leading going in to the third you never want to come out of a game, especially when you’re winning like that, but I think in the long run it was the right decision. I didn’t want to start back at square one, I think that was kind of our thought process, so I feel 100% confident now. I feel it’s good to go and so now I just keep working on getting back up to game speed and keep practing and just go from there.
Zatkoff, on whether he can move on without any hesitancy:
Yeah, yeah, that’s kind of what this week has been about. I got to that point and that’s why I was playing in Ottawa. We thought we were there, I thought I was there, and I guess maybe the strength wasn’t 100% there. But I didn’t have that hesitancy and I feel I’m back to that and I’ve been able to test it here for a week and really put that strain on it and it’s held up so knock on wood.
Zatkoff, on whether he’ll play in one of the back to back games this weekend:
Yeah, that’s a coach’s decision, so we’ll see. We’ll take it a day at a time. I’m available if he needs me so we’ll go from there but I’m just worried about working hard, and if I get the call then I’ll go in.