morning afternoon from El Segundo, Insiders. Most of the Kings took the ice well before 10:00 a.m. and remained on for the better part of an hour. In doing so, they aligned as such:
-Yes, that’s correct. Anze Kopitar lined up as a left wing alongside Nic Dowd and Dustin Brown. There was special teams work during practice, so that placement may simply be related to where Kopitar could find himself come the first power play of the game. Then again, Kopitar has played only one game since returning from an upper-body injury related to one of his limbs, was used with two different sets of wingers on Wednesday, and “was only taking [faceoffs] on one side” against the Islanders, according to Sutter. I asked Darryl whether today’s placement could foretell an even strength slotting for tomorrow’s game, but he declined to go into specifics. We’ll wait and see what happens at tomorrow’s morning skate before jumping to any conclusions.
-Whether or not Marian Gaborik will play against Chicago will be decided after the morning skate. Gaborik was confident he could jump into the lineup; his exact words were “I think I should be good to go tomorrow.” Because the winger hasn’t faced any real game situations since September 25 – a near-nine-week absence – Darryl will have to be convinced, though he acknowledged that the decision will be made after the morning skate. “First off, the player has to really tell you that he’s ready, and then the coaching staff has to think that way, too,” he said. I’ll fill in some of the blanks with a story on Gaborik this afternoon.
-Like Gaborik, Andy Andreoff is also on injured reserve and nearing a return. Los Angeles has one open roster spot. I’m told that no roster moves are planned for today. Should there be a roster move tomorrow, it would likely come in the hours leading up to game time. Again, the team will go through the morning skate before any official decisions are made; they’re still weighing several options, from my understanding.
-As for the practice, the Kings took part in rushes and flow drills, followed by special teams work, followed by that fun jungle hockey drill in which the nets are moved to the width of the rink. That segued into a similar drill where the two nets were placed on opposite blue lines, and some two-on-two games meant that the goalies were regularly tested by around-the-net, bang-bang scoring chances. Because yesterday was a day off, it was one of the longer practices of the early part of the season.
-Jonathan Toews (upper-body) is not playing against Anaheim this afternoon.
I asked Q if the team was just being hyper-cautious, or if Toews was physically unable to play. He said Toews was unable to play.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) November 25, 2016
-More to come, and probably in this order: Sutter on the goaltending tandem, Sutter quotes, Gaborik update, Greene on the Gravel-Greene pairing. Based on timing and anything unforeseen, I may mix that up a little bit or omit one of the stories. I hope you’re enjoying your Black Friday, Insiders. Let’s talk soon. Enjoy these practice shots, courtesy of Jon Bradley: