Carl Hagelin was injured on “an innocent looking play” near the start of the third period during Saturday’s loss to Vancouver, according to Willie Desjardins, and is week-to-week with an MCL sprain.
“He went in to hit a guy and he came out, and it was the first time he had an injury, so that’s a tough one for us,” the LA Kings’ coach said.
Hagelin has an MRI scheduled for Monday. Los Angeles has already lost goaltenders Jonathan Quick and Jack Campbell to knee injuries – both suffered torn menisci that required surgery – as well as Jonny Brodzinski to shoulder surgery, Trevor Lewis to a foot fracture, and, in the final preseason game, Dustin Brown to a broken finger.
“It’s been a battle, especially with the goaltenders going down first,” Desjardins said. “I think that was a tough one. Quick, he’s such a big part of the room and is a leader, so it’s good that he’s going to be coming back soon. But, yeah, there are a few guys down. It always makes it tough, but it gives other guys a chance. Like, if everybody was healthy, we probably wouldn’t have even seen Luff play, so that’s the bright part of it.”
The Kings placed Hagelin on IR Sunday and recalled forward Michael Amadio. The 22-year-old has one goal and four penalty minutes in 13 games with Los Angeles and three assists in three games with AHL-Ontario.
“The key for him is moving his feet,” Desjardins said. “It was the same thing when Luff went down. I didn’t think he was skating well enough, so when he comes up – it’s going to be a good test today, there are some guys on the other side that are quick. He’s smart, he’s really smart, and he’ll have to make sure he gets himself in a good position.”
There was some positive injury news on the day. Desjardins confirmed that Quick, who has endured two separate lower-body injuries this season and hasn’t played since October 23, is approaching a return to the lineup. That return could come as early as the upcoming road trip, with Desjardins noting that “I think we’ll get him back somewhere along that.” After facing the Oilers at Staples Center on Sunday night, the Kings travel Monday to face Vancouver on Tuesday, Edmonton again on Thursday and Calgary on Friday.
Apart from his important role and speed as an effective player both at five-on-five and on the penalty kill, Hagelin, acquired November 14 from Pittsburgh for Tanner Pearson, also represents an asset that the Kings are expected to consider exchanging near the trade deadline for picks and/or prospects, so it’s important that the team receives encouraging news from his MRI. The news also places on hiatus the Hagelin-Adrian Kempe-Matt Luff combination, which built good chemistry on the Chicago-Nashville-St. Louis road trip and was reunited shortly before Luff’s goal against Vancouver on Saturday.
More from Desjardins:
Willie Desjardins, on whether he sees Ilya Kovalchuk turning the corner towards production:
He is an interesting player. He relies totally on offense, he’s not a huge checker. His game revolves around offense. The one thing I do like, he’s excited to play. He wants to play, and when I call his name, it’s not like he mopes and goes out there. He wants to get a chance to play. Whenever he’s called, he’s up, right, ready to go. I’m hoping that’ll carry over and he’ll start scoring. He had a couple chances the other night. It was so unlike him to not get something out of it. He had that one in front that he bobbled a little bit. He just doesn’t do those things. Hopefully he’ll get on fire, and he’s a little bit streaky, and when he gets hot, then he plays well. [Reporter: Having said that, 27 seconds of power play action, what were the reasons and circumstances – just a variety of things?] It’s just mainly that other unit was out there for most of it. Once it was a split in the period, so they got both halves there. Another was only a 30-second power play, so he didn’t get anything on that one. At the end of the game, we pulled and tried to go. It’s just the way it worked out.
Desjardins, on whether he liked the power play unit with Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty on points:
Yeah, I like it. Those guys have played together – Carter and Kopi and Toffoli there, and Brown in front. I think that unit’s been together a little bit, so I think that gives them some chemistry. We’ll try a few different things off it, but it’s always good to see them get a goal. They got a post, too, so that could’ve gone the other way for us.
Desjardins, on whether a slight decrease in Doughty’s usage is attributed to “quality over quantity”:
A little bit. You’ve got back-to-backs as well, which can make a little bit of a difference. I’ve said before, I think if he’s playing 24 to 28 minutes, that’s probably in a pretty good range for him. It really varies when you have power play or penalty killing how much you get. Like, as soon as you start getting more power plays, then a lot of times those guys’ minutes go up. But I think he’s a guy we certainly want on the ice. He gives us lots of offense, so we want him out there.
Desjardins, on balancing keeping Kopitar’s shift lengths down with the need to play him:
The lengths aren’t bad, but the minutes stay up because they use them more. We’ve had a couple – Kempe went down the one game, so then those minutes got high that game, for sure. We only had three centers that night going. And he plays both specialty teams, which adds up his minutes, but again, I’d like him around 20 minutes, if I can. Some nights you’re going to have to use him more, but if he can stay around 20, that would be good.
–Lead photo via Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI
Nick Nickson wearing two different shoes. Needs wardrobe tips from Daryl Evans. pic.twitter.com/JUxQU4Dg4b
— Helene Elliott (@helenenothelen) November 26, 2018