February 15 morning skate notes/quotes: Shorthanded scenario on defense - LA Kings Insider

–Due to the Tom Gilbert move and current injuries to Vincent LoVerde and Alex Lintuniemi, the Reign had just five defensemen on the ice for morning skate. The roll call for the five in attendance read: Damir Sharipzianov, Cameron Schilling, Zac Leslie, Kurtis MacDermid and Alexx Privitera.

That list did not include Rob Scuderi and to make matters worse, the rostered veteran will not be able to play tonight.

“We can’t even get Scuds in time. He hasn’t skated in,” head coach Mike Stothers said, trailing off before finishing his thought.

Scuderi has played in just 15 games this season and has not made an appearance since Jan. 18. In a season where goalie coach Dusty Imoo has had to play back-up in net and the Reign have seen too many injuries to count, it’s just another curveball for Stothers.

“We’re going to have five D. We’re mulling around some options and moving some forwards or auditioning some forwards to play the back end,” Stothers said. “A guy like Backs plays the point on the power play. It’s a lot different than playing it regularly, but he skates well and thinks the game well. He can get back and get back for pucks. We could use Crescenzi. Long reach. The problem is if you go with Cres then you’ve got a lot of lefties and no righties with Privitera being the only righty. You try to get Backs back there, you move Cres back there then you lose a faceoff guy. You move Backs back there, you lose some speed up front. I’ve got almost six hours to try to mull it around in my head. Move the magnets around on the white board. I don’t know. It’s another one of those ones where, just when you think you’ve seen it all, something else is new and you’ve got to deal with it.”

Stothers thought Scuderi would be an option to play over the weekend.

–LoVerde, who was injured last Friday versus San Diego, remains out despite Stothers previously being hopeful last weekend that his captain might return today:

“I don’t know,” Stothers said when asked if LoVerde might return this weekend. “He’s still got a lot of discomfort, so that’s what’s limiting him. As far as the injury itself, we still don’t believe it’s like a dire situation. But it is very much pain tolerable and it’s not. If you try to do that then you might risk injuring something else because you’re trying to compensate. And it’s nt fair to him. We’re looking long term for Vinny, as we are for all our guys. We’ll get through it. We’ll get through these three games and see how it plays out.”

–Forward Devin Setoguchi joined the Reign after being waived and assigned to the AHL by the Kings. For more on his first day, click here.

–Goalie Jack Campbell was first off the ice and is set to make his 30th straight start tonight when the Reign host Iowa at 7 p.m. He’s 21-9-5 this season with a 2.67 goals against average and .909 save percentage.

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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.