Good afternoon from St. Paul, Insiders. So. We have a lot to talk about. Let’s get down to brass tacks.
First of all, there is a game tonight against the conference-leading Minnesota Wild (5:00 p.m. PT / NBCSN / KABC 790 / I Heart Radio). After taking the ice at 11:30 a.m., the Kings aligned thusly:
-Jonathan Quick was the first goalie to leave the ice and will be expected to start against Minnesota. Jordan Nolan, who did not return after getting tangled up with Korbinian Holzer during the second period of Saturday’s win over Anaheim, was not present.
-I’ll have some stories up throughout the day on Anze Kopitar and Ben Bishop, the latter of whom skated this morning and remained on the ice for some extra work. Kopitar, on whether he wants – and feels he needs – the team to acquire a scoring winger that he could play alongside: “Would I want it? For sure. Do we need it? I think it is [needed]. But at the same time, you can’t just throw something at a deal that doesn’t make any sense. Obviously at the end of the day we’ll just see if it happens or not.” Kopitar said that his game and the team’s game didn’t change with Budaj in net, and praised the newest Lightning goaltender for what he meant to the Kings this season. “Obviously he did a great job for us and getting the seven shutouts, that was huge for us.”
-On playing for a team that was described as having a “winning pedigree,” Bishop said, “Yeah, it’s exciting. We got a little taste of it the last few years in Tampa with going to the Final and then the conference finals last year, so it’s one of those things when you get used to it you kind of expect it and you want to go far, and when you go to a team like this they all expect to be in the playoffs and expect to go far, so when you have that type of mindset, it’s exciting and hopefully I can come in and just help out and get as many wins as possible down the stretch.” Bishop was wearing his electric blue Lightning helmet but said he has a new mask coming. “The blue and black, they don’t go together too well but we’ll make it work,” he said.
-Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau, on what he expects from Los Angeles tonight: “I mean, everyone in the west keeps winning. Calgary is winning, Nashville is winning, so we’re playing a desperate hockey club, and I know exactly how good they can be when they’re desperate. They’re not going to cheat the game one iota. If we’re not ready to play our best game coming out of the break in a while, then we won’t be very succesful.” The Wild are expected to have both Martin Hanzal and Ryan White in the lineup tonight, per Boudreau. “If planes work on time, then we should have both of ’em here,” he said. Devan Dubnyk is expected to start in net for the Wild, who held an optional morning skate. For the home team’s expected line combinations, check out Daily Faceoff.
"Being out east we only play them a couple times a year, but whenever you watch them on TV you obviously know that they have great defense and can play that shutdown hockey and they have some big names that can score some goals, so it’s exciting. Don’t know too much ‘cause it’s on the West Coast and you don’t get to see too many games, but I'm excited to being a part of that organization now and just looking forward to getting that first game under my belt."
Darryl Sutter, on how Ben Bishop will be incorporated into the lineup:
Well, the trade deadline is the same time every year, or around the trade deadline, so lots of teams make acquisitions and acclimate players. I don’t think we’re unlike anybody else.
Sutter, on any process to get Bishop familiar with the West, which he hasn’t been a part of since 2010-11:
No, I think goalies do a lot of video work with goaltending consultants or goaltending coaches, so I think he’d be pretty familiar playing. He’s a playoff-proven guy, so he’s obviously played against other conferences, and he played in the St. Louis organization, so I’m sure he’d be quite familiar with most players.
Sutter, on having another “elite” goaltender while Jonathan Quick returns:
Well, first off, Jonathan Quick can’t play every game. I mean, he has a long-term contract, which means that you want him to fulfill that contract and be a healthy player, whenever if that’s in three, for or five years, and I don’t think you’re going to with the injuries that he’s had the last three or four years, you’re certainly not going to nail him to the cross here in the next six weeks.