February 18 morning skate notes - LA Kings Insider

Good afternoon from #Gundo, Insiders. I wish I had more for you, but remorsefully, I come to you with the news that today’s morning skate was optional and no real line rushes were held. Darryl Sutter said after the skate that all active players will take the ice for warm-ups and decisions will be made prior to game time. If I were a betting man (I am!), I’d expect the same defensemen to suit up for tonight’s game. A family event kept me away from practice yesterday, where line rushes were held, but the word I was hearing following the skate was that there could theoretically be changes to the bottom six. Andy Andreoff skated as a center yesterday, for what it’s worth.

A few assorted notes:

-Peter Budaj was the first goalie off the ice and is expected to start against Florida. This normally wouldn’t be newsworthy – he’s started the last nine games – but tonight’s game is the front end of a back-to-back, so the #LAKingsGoalieTweetOff applies. Jonathan Quick didn’t skate this morning, but Jordan Nolan joined the skate midway through and was wearing a red no-contact jersey, as seen below.

-The Panthers are fully healthy and have won six of seven games, with the loss to the Kings on February 9 in Sunrise serving as their lone setback. In their last six games, they’ve scored 28 goals. “Number one, their defense leads the league in shots for,” Darryl Sutter said. “They’re second in even strength goals from their defense, their centermen since they got Barkov back, with Trocheck and Barkov, one guy’s got 20 goals, one guy’s missed 15 games and got 13 goals. They’ve got two really good lines because they do that. Huberdeau’s been back for five games. Excellent young player.” Florida won 4-1 in Anaheim last night behind James Reimer’s 35 saves. Because Roberto Luongo left Wednesday’s win at San Jose with cramps late in the game, it’s possible that L.A. could see Reimer on the second night of a back-to-back. (Luongo is fine and likely available to start; no announcement or report has surfaced yet.) Both goalies were pulled in the Kings’ 6-3 win nine days ago; goaltending did not work in the Cats’ favor that game, Florida’s first after their five-day bye week.

-Kevin Gravel might not play tonight but has largely looked fine in his first nearly-full NHL season. What could the defenseman do to raise his time on ice average, which is shy of 14 minutes? “I think I can become a little bit harder to play against, whether it’s down low or anywhere,” he said. “With my stick, my body, anything. There’s a lot of very skilled forwards out there on the other teams and they’re good down low and I think something I can improve on is my below the goal line play. Whether it be finishing a guy off or using my stick to kind of end the play and get it up to our forwards, you’ve just got to continue to work on that, obviously. Add strength and all that, so it’s something that I’ve been trying to get better at.”

-More Darryl Sutter to come shortly, Insiders. Tonight’s officials are referees Chris Lee and Mike Leggo and linesmen Brad Kovachik and Kiel Murchison. The national anthem will be performed by Dana Lee Ryan. Let’s talk soon.

Morning skate photos, courtesy of Jon Bradley:

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.