Good afternoon from Midtown Manhattan, Insiders. A brand new day is upon us, and it began with an 11:00 a.m. practice at Madison Square Garden. Boy, those 10:00 a.m. bus rides sneak up on you!
Kings practice begins with a chat underneath the Knicks banners. No Dowd, Greene. May see Toffoli at the end, but he's not on yet. pic.twitter.com/EG4i21iR3O
— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) January 22, 2017
After their chat, the Kings aligned as such:
-Defensive pairs rotated throughout, but the first circuit appeared to depict Muzzin-Doughty, Forbort-Martinez and Gravel-Gilbert with Brayden McNabb ultimately looping through. The former three pairs were used for most of Saturday’s game against the Islanders. Matt Greene was present but did not skate, and there appeared to be some ominous signals on his availability this morning. “He’s been struggling with a back, groin, all that stuff – issues that he’s had off and on for the last number of years – and it acted up on him, and we shut him down again,” Darryl Sutter said.
-More on the walking wounded: Nic Dowd is “fine” and “enjoying New York,” Darryl Sutter said, before confirming that the center, who suffered a lower-body injury during the second period of last night’s 4-2 loss in Brooklyn, was day-to-day. Dowd didn’t skate, but Tyler Toffoli again took the ice at the tail end of the practice to get some work in. Toffoli is not expected to play on this four-game trip.
-Despite the recent casualties, there were no moves planned as of Saturday afternoon to recall a player from AHL-Ontario, according to correspondence with General Manager Dean Lombardi.
-Sunday’s skate was a normal practice that occurred the day after a game. Those mornings often feature optional skates, but that wasn’t the case today. “I don’t think it’s bad. I don’t think we’ve been on the ice too much at all,” Anze Kopitar said. “Just before we got here it was a day off and we had a quick skate in LA, we come out here and then morning skates are for guys to get moving around, so it’s not like you’re going to work or get fatigued from that, so it’s just a matter of getting ready. Today I thought it was a fairly short practice again, I guess what I’m trying to say is we’re not fatigued. I think for the most part, obviously, coaches have done a pretty good job of keeping it light and giving us optionals and all that stuff.” For more on morning skates, and how several teams are eschewing them to afford the players more rest, the LA Times’ Kevin Baxter has an interesting report.
-I asked Kopitar about the team’s “Park and Ride” approach in which it moves past wins and losses very quickly, and how that relates to the current situation, in which three consecutive regulation losses have dropped the club out of a playoff spot:
-J.T. Miller buried a Mats Zuccarello two-on-zero overtime game-winner to hand Henrik Lundqvist a 21-save shutout in a 1-0 win at Detroit on Sunday afternoon. The Kings play the Rangers at 7:00 p.m. at Madison Square Garden Monday night, and it is unclear at the moment who they’ll face in net. Lundqvist played today but could draw a second consecutive start, given that Antti Raanta suffered a lower-body injury on January 14 and was placed on injured reserve with the expectation that he’d need approximately seven-to-10 days to recover, and the current back-up, 6-foot-6 Magnus Hellberg, has three career games of NHL experience, none of which were starts. Of note:
OFFICIAL: #NYR Kevin Hayes suffered a lower body injury in the second period and will not return.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 22, 2017
New York may be without defenseman Marc Staal, who has been out with a concussion but has resumed skating, and Jesper Fast, who suffered an upper-body injury on Tuesday that isn’t expected to sideline him for an extended length of time.
-Darryl Sutter quotes will follow shortly, and should more information be learned about tomorrow’s lineup, either from the Kings’ or Rangers’ perspective, it will be posted to this page. Enjoy your Sunday, Insiders.