Good morning from El Segundo, Insiders. A very happy eve-of-turkey day to you. The Kings took the ice shortly before 10:00 a.m. at Toyota Sports Center on Wednesday and aligned as such:
-Peter Budaj was the first goalie to leave the ice and is expected to get the start against the New York Islanders (7:30 p.m. / FOX Sports West / FOX Sports GO / KABC 790 / I Heart Radio). Marian Gaborik, Andy Andreoff, Teddy Purcell and Tom Gilbert remained on the ice for extra work with Jeff Zatkoff and are not expected to play. Gaborik (broken foot), who is currently on injured reserve, said that he hopes to play Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks, should all go well in practice on Friday. Andreoff (thumb surgery), who is also on injured reserve, is also nearing a return. Darry Sutter liked that they went through a lengthy practice that was comprised of game situations yesterday. “It doesn’t matter when they’re cleared. You’ve got to be game-ready,” he said. “…You can practice all you want, but it’s like that horse out on the track – he can run by himself in the mornings, but when he runs with seven or eight other ones coming around the corner, it ain’t just a straight line.” Because the Kings have one open roster spot and two players on injured reserve nearing a return, a roster move or transaction would have to happen should they both be activated.
-Anze Kopitar (upper-body), on the other hand, is already on the active roster and appears ready to return to the lineup tonight after a five-game absence. He skated alongside Dwight King and Trevor Lewis and did not remain on the ice for extra work, an indication that he intends to play. There was a considerable amount of improvement on the strength of his shots between Sunday (and last week) and this morning.
-The Islanders banked a 3-2 win in Anaheim last night following a 14-round shootout and excellent play from both Thomas Greiss and Jonathan Bernier prior to the extra session. New York isn’t holding a full-team morning skate at Staples Center today, but Newsday’s Arthur Staple reported yesterday that Jaroslav Halak is “likely” to get the nod tonight against the Kings. UPDATE: Halak will indeed get the start, per Staple, while Cal Clutterbuck, who took a big hit from Josh Manson last night, will be a “game time decision.” Halak is 3-5-4 with a 3.08 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage on the season and is 6-8-2 in his lifetime against Los Angeles with a 2.39 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. Former Kings prospect, call-up and 2015 Calder Cup champion J-F Berube, who has seven career appearances to his name, backed up Greiss last night at Honda Center.
-Lo, there is a Kings Weekly airing tonight. A preview:
Topics: Bernie Nicholls scores 70 goals! Jim Fox recalls the infamous Ryane Clowe incident (BTW, Ryane was in the Chick Hearn Media Room on Saturday afternoon as a New Jersey assistant, in case any of you still have your torches and pitchforks nearby.) Trevor Lewis is also Bob Miller’s guest in a Coffee with Bob segment, while we look back at the three-hat-tricks-in-one-game against Calgary and the most recent Ontario trip.
-Thank you, as always, for reading. There’s much more to come, Insiders. Darryl Sutter quotes will follow. Enjoy these morning skate shots, courtesy of Jon Bradley: