February 12: Bus Texts with Stothers - LA Kings Insider

Today’s Bus Texts with Stothers comes on the long haul back from San Jose after Ontario lost a second straight game by a 4-1 score.

San Jose Barracuda 4, Reign 1
A shorthanded Reign squad ran into the buzz-saw Barracuda on Sunday, which resulted in an uneven game and an uneven score and the Pacific Division-leaders winning their eighth straight game. Captain Vincent LoVerde missed his first contest of the season due to injury and his absence only added to the list of key players currently out of the lineup and discussed ad nauseam on this site. Head coach Mike Stothers is dealing with a younger lineup, and he can only hope a temporarily younger blue line with LoVerde out. Stothers said in a postgame video interview that LoVerde’s mid-body injury is something he could return from shortly if “everything goes well.” A mostly-competitive first period ended with a 1-1 score be virtue of an opening goal by Dan Kelly and then a redirect tying mark by the Reign’s Patrick Bjorkstrand. The middle frame though was where the Reign lost the tempo of the game, being outshot 11-2 and finding their only shots on goal in the two minutes. They surrendered a goal by a net-crashing Nikolay Goldobin and trailed just 2-1 after two despite being outskated. While Ontario’s level of play raised in the final period, especially early, it was stifled by San Jose stopped on a goal by Nikita Jevpalovs in the first four minutes. Ontario failed to convert on two late power plays and San Jose ended up scoring its final goal on an empty-netter.

ORI: It almost seems like you all are dealing with a Jonathan Quick-like issue, where you need to find a way to hold on until some of these guys can get healthy. With that in mind o you have to have a short memory even more so after losses like this?
Stothers: We are missing some key people from our lineup, no doubt. But we have enough to fill out the roster sheet, so whoever is in the lineup we expect to win. The guys that come into the lineup to replace an injury need to make a contribution. The guys that have been here all season need to contribute more, not less. In times like this we all need to raise our levels, push to produce more than expected. It is new territory for some but like any family we will push thru this and be better for it.
ORI: Noticed tonight that you moved the lines around from last game. Gave Bjorkstrand a shot with a more veteran line. Moved Kempe to the middle. Do you feel like these ones will stick or there’s more tinkering to be had.
Stothers: We scored one goal last game, we scored one goal again tonight. Change to the lines, change to the lineup that’s all for another day. Today is Sunday. I will deal with it on Wednesday when we play next. Anything written does now would be in dry erase markers, or pencil.
ORI: Were there any positives you could take away from tonight?
Stothers: Bjorkstrand scored. We came out injury free. And their media room serves Diet Dr. Pepper.

(Courtesy of San Jose Barracuda)

Rules for Blog Commenting
  • - No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • - Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other commenters, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • - Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • - Please do not discuss, or post links to, websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • - Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.
Kevin Gravel

#4 | 6′ 4″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: DOB: 2/17/1996
Birthplace: KINGSFORD, MI
Position: D


Gravel made his NHL debut with Los Angeles in the 2015-16 season, skating with the Kings for four games before returning to AHL affiliate Ontario.

Rob Scuderi

#0 | 6′ 1″ | 212 lb | Age: 37

Born: DOB: 12/30/1978
Birthplace: SYOSSET, NY
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Scuderi is currently playing for the Reign while under contract with the LA Kings. He has won two Stanley Cups, once with the Pittsburgh Penguins and with the Kings.

Michael Mersch

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 225 lb | Age: 24

Born: DOB: 10/2/1992
Birthplace: PARK RIDGE, IL
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Drafted by the Kings in 2011, Mersch is currently playing forward for the Reign. Last season, he drew into his first NHL game for the Kings, where he registered 2 shots and 3 hits.

Michael Latta

#24 | 6′ 0″ | 207 lb | Age: 25

Born: 5/25/1991
Birthplace: KITCHENER, ON
Position: F
Handedness: Right


Prior to turning professional, Latta played major junior hockey in the OHL with the Ottawa 67’s and Guelph Storm. He was drafted into the NHL in 2009 and joined the King’s affiliate Reign in 2016.

Adrian Kempe

#09 | 6′ 1″ | 187 lb | Age: 20

Born: 9/13/1996
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Growing up in Swedan, Kempe made his hockey debut in 2014 in the Swedish Hockey League. He has since been drafted by the Kings, where he is playing for their AHL affiliate team, the Ontario Reign.

Brett Sutter

#07 | 6′ 0″ | 192 lb | Age: 29

Born: 6/2/1987
Birthplace: CALGARY, AB
Position: C


Drafted in 2005 by the Calgary Flames, Sutter was traded to the Reign in 2016. He is the son of LA Kings head couch Darryl Sutter, and the eighth member of the Sutter family to play in the NHL.