The Los Angeles Kings took part in team meetings, workouts and some hallway soccer – which I’ve heard called both two-touch and sewer ball, depending on the level and age of those playing – after arriving at the Bell Centre shortly after 1:00 p.m.
There wasn’t anything to share as it related to on-ice activity in the aftermath of the Toronto-Ottawa back-to-back split, but as for several team notes, have at ‘em:
-Jeff Carter (ankle surgery) is officially on injured reserve, retroactive to October 18. Assistant General Manager Mike Futa’s assessment, as shared with Sportsnet 590, is that Carter’s progress will be “measured more on a month-to-month basis.”
-Kurtis MacDermid’s hometown is Sauble Beach, ON, some three hours northwest of the Air Canada Centre and the general congestion of waterfront Toronto. His parents returned home after traveling down to the Kings’ 3-2 loss to the Maple Leafs on Monday, a game he did not dress for, but upon getting the word that their son would likely be in against Ottawa, embarked on a much longer drive on Tuesday to the Canadian Tire Centre, and arrived in time to catch Los Angeles’ 3-2 shootout win before making another return trip.
“It’s been a dream of mine [to have my parents watch me in an NHL game] since I started playing hockey, so it’s pretty special,” said MacDermid, whose father, Paul, played for Hartford, Winnipeg, Washington and Quebec, and whose brother, Lane, played for Boston and Dallas.
In 11:33 of ice time, MacDermid was his usual self. He checked well and did a good job breaking up plays down low against a team that can play a strong and gritty perimeter game. He also generated a pair of interesting chances, the first of which was arguably the Kings’ best scoring chance in the first period when he received a drop pass on an odd-man rush and fired the puck at Mike Condon, who fought the shot off with a quality save.
Of course, generating scoring opportunities won’t necessarily lead to additional assignments and widened responsibilities.
“If the offensive part comes, then it comes. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t, but I’ve just got to take care of my own end first,” he said.
-Jonathan Quick preferred it to be whispered and not exactly broadcast amidst a contingent of Montreal media, but his next appearance – which could very well be Thursday night against the Canadiens – will be the 500th of his NHL career.
“Obviously it’s special, but it’s still a hockey game you’re trying to win, whatever the number is,” Quick said. He’s not one for public recognition of individual tributes, though he did say such a milestone would be something that will probably “mean a little more” when he has the ability to look back on his career after its conclusion. As of now, though, he’s simply remaining in the moment and doing what he can to put the team in position to win hockey games.
“He’s the type of guy that it’s about wins for him, and the accolades, he’s not too big on that, and that’s probably why he’s the guy he is,” Goaltending Coach Bill Ranford said.
Darryl Sutter would remind anyone asking about milestones that playoff games are more important, so Quick, who has played 580 combined regular season and playoff games, has a work log that goes beyond Carey Price, who has 577, even though Price’s 517 regular season games outweigh Quick’s 499.
More importantly at the moment are the seven wins that Quick and Darcy Kuemper have combined for this season.
“We’re just finding ways to win hockey games,” Quick said. “It’s been different every time. We’ve been ahead in a few, been behind in a few, worked our way back. It’s been a good start, but it’s still early, so we’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’ll just focus on that.” He stopped 45 shots for one of his 45 career shutouts in his last visit to the Bell Centre, a 3-0 Kings win on December 17, 2015.
But the next time he steps onto the ice, Quick will join nine other active goaltenders with at least 500 regular season games to their name: Roberto Luongo (970), Henrik Lundqvist (751), Ryan Miller (709), Marc-Andre Fleury (695), Cam Ward (626), Kari Lehtonen (615), Price (517), Pekka Rinne (515) and Craig Anderson (513). He’ll also equal Jeff Hackett’s 500 career games played in moving into a tie for 68th place all-time in that category.
Players are presented with silver sticks when they reach 1,000 games played, a milestone that has only been reached by two goalies: Martin Brodeur (1,266) and Patrick Roy (1,029). It’s not the most positionally level playing field.
“Hey, we’re used to being kicked around all the time,” Ranford said. “Nothing’s changed.”
-Kings Weekly airs tomorrow on FOX Sports West. A preview:
-Lastly, here’s a Best Coast Show interview with Alex Faust, recorded earlier this month:
-Lead photo via Francois Lacasse/NHLI