–It sounds like forward Michael Mersch (knee) will be out another 5-6 weeks, this via the Kings hockey operations source. Mersch was injured on Jan. 14 against Bakersfield. It was originally reported and noted by Reign Director of Hockey Operations Hubie McDonough that Mersch could return mid-to-late February.
–Jack Campbell was first off the ice and will make his 27th straight start tonight against Bakersfield. Campbell (20-7-5) has two straight losses (both to San Diego) and has not lost three games in a row all season. He holds a 4-0-1-0 record against the Condors.
–Defenseman Paul LaDue made his NHL debut with the Kings last night, logging just over 16 minutes in a 5-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. “I did get a chance to watch Paul LaDue last night and I thought he was good,” said head coach Mike Stothers. “He provided exactly what they were looking for I thought. He’s a good skater and he can get up the ice, he can close on plays and his gap was good I thought. It’s unfortunate that the game didn’t go the way that everybody was anticipating but I don’t think it was a reflection on his play. I actually thought he was pretty steady out there. I think he’s only going to get better as he gets more experience and the team will definitely play better as a collective group. He even got some power play time, which was nice to see. Now he just needs to get some experience.” Kurtis MacDermid has played most of the season with LaDue in Ontario and said his D partner deserved the chance. “I thought he did pretty well,” MacDermid said. “Happy for him and glad to see him up there. I hope I don’t see him back here.”
–Veteran defenseman Rob Scuderi hasn’t dressed the last seven games and did not practice with the team either Tuesday or at Wednesday’s morning skate. Veteran Tom Gilbert is also now wearing his jersey No. 14. “We have a veteran issue so it’s a little bit tough because we could dress under the limit with the injuries we have, we can only dress so many veterans. It’s been a challenge. You can only have so many vets,” Stothers said, adding that he doesn’t read into the jersey “number thing.” Basically though, nothing has changed in regards to the two-time Cup champ who was waived by the Kings earlier this season and assigned to Ontario. “It is what it is. He’s still available to us. He’s still a part of it. We just got to wait to see how things sort out,” Stothers said.
–None of the injured players skated this morning and remain out. That’s a long list: Alex Lintuniemi, Teddy Purcell, Paul Bissonnette, Joel Lowry, Zach Trotman and Mersch. Stothers said on Tuesday that Purcell’s the one who may be the closest to returning.
Mike Stothers, on a happy-go-lucky morning skate and the team refocusing after two straight losses:
That’s part of the environment that we try to create ourselves. I’m pretty good at expressing myself and letting people know exactly how I feel, both good and bad. If it’s of a disappointed nature, once I let it out I usually feel pretty good. I feel better. And then it’s time to get back to it. We don’t want it — we talk about whether we are winning or losing — we don’t want our demeanor to change. There’s too many ups and downs through the course of the season where it’s a lot better to have a friendly environment or an environment where guys want to hang around and be in the rink. We put that behind us and we’re going to move on. We’re going to, as a group, get collectively better. That’s basically our focus and hopefully things go our way tonight and we get the result we’re looking for. If something happens and unfortunately we don’t or we get a bad bounce or bad break, we’ll get up the next day and move on. That’s all you can do. You can’t look too far ahead.”
Kurtis MacDermid, on facing Bakersfield again after his fight with Rechlicz in the last meeting:
They’re a good team, a fast team. Just got to focus on what we do best and shut teams down and be good defensively in our own end. We’ll just take our focus into the game.
MacDermid, on where the team is at after two tough losses last weekend against San Diego:
We regained our focus after those losses and we had a good week of practice and really stressed those things that [Stothers] talks about each and every day and got better at those things so we’ll take those into tonight.