INSIDERS. There were no line rushes today as the team took part in special teams work and in-zone drills for the better part of a practice that began at 9:45 a.m. Several notes to pass along:
–Michael Amadio, who has two goals and four points in 28 games, has been assigned to AHL-Ontario. Because Dion Phaneuf was activated from injured reserve yesterday, this again leaves the Kings with 22 players on the active roster. Jack Campbell, who stopped 31 of 34 shots at San Antonio in a conditioning assignment Friday night, is nearing activation. A three-in-four at Colorado and Vegas and home versus league-leading Tampa Bay will test the club’s depth and health. How will Willie Desjardins plan on allotting minutes? How often does that plan go awry?
“What you plan [in the first game of a three-in-four] a lot of times changes, because when you get into the game, you’ve got to play that game to win, so you end up playing that one, and then you have to figure it out from there a little bit,” Desjardins said. “I think what happens, it might be a little different if you get a big lead or you’re way behind, then your minutes change a little bit. But during that game, you’ve got to find a way to win that game that night, and if guys’ minutes go up, then that’s what happens sometimes. Usually you recognize, especially the second night, you go in and you probably try to roll four lines a little bit more early in the game.”
–Alec Martinez (upper-body) and Jonny Brodzinski (shoulder surgery) took part in a robust skate an hour before the official practice. Both were in full gear, though there were no pucks on the ice. (Brodzinski had previously graduated to shooting pucks in prior on-ice sessions.) While Brodzinski had been partnered with Carl Hagelin (MCL sprain) in recent rehab skates, today it was Martinez, who had also skated early in recent days. No timetable has yet been shared on Brodzinski or Martinez’s returns.
–Hagelin, on the other hand, is getting close. He participated in practice wearing a red no-contact jersey with a timeline that’s around “another week, maybe,” according to Desjardins. One of the challenges in expediting Hagelin into the fold will be that the team will need to gauge how he responds to some contact when it returns from the two-game trip, but the upcoming five-in-eight doesn’t exactly tee up ample, full-team practices in early January. He’s pretty close, though.
–Dion Phaneuf (upper-body) was activated before Saturday’s game and is likely to play Monday night at Pepsi Center. “He says he’s ready,” said Desjardins, who noted that the 1,013-game veteran remained on the ice for a good conditioning session. “They just skated him out there now. I wasn’t there to watch, so I’ll find out. But he says he’s ready to go.”
Willie Desjardins, on Colorado:
They’ve changed it up a little bit. They had the one big line for quite a while playing together, but certainly hard to handle. They create a lot, but over that, they’ve always been a team that’s had lots of speed. I think in their building they certainly use that speed. They usually have a quick start to their game, so it’s a team that you’re going to have to be ready to skate with.
Desjardins, on whether anything has changed with Colorado during their recent struggles:
Well, results have changed. A lot of times, that makes it hard. You look at their game, and they were creating a lot of their success from the one line, and sometimes that line, they’ve carried it for a while, maybe it’s just gone flat a little bit. But knowing that, they’re pretty explosive. They’ve got a group that can score, so we have to make sure we play good defense, and we’ve got to stay on top of ‘em.
Desjardins, on Cal Petersen:
I think it’s huge, because when he came in, I thought we were in trouble. We had two guys down and we had a rookie coming in that if he goes bad, we’re in trouble. He came in, and he played great. He had all kinds of different starts. Like, it wasn’t that he just had one certain type of game. He had to come in back-to-back to back on nights where we were tired. He got a lot of the tough games. He really played well, which is a great sign for the future of the team. Everybody’s always short on goaltenders, and right now we’re fortunate we’ve got three good ones. I think that says a lot for the organization.
Desjardins, on the power play Saturday:
They were big opportunities for us. I think that could’ve changed the momentum of that game. The game got away from us a little bit in the second, and we had both those power plays at that time and we could’ve gotten momentum and could’ve gotten going the other way. But, saying that, I think the power play has been better. Like if you look at the amount of chances we were creating, it’s better. Even on that one when we were bad, we still had two great looks that we could’ve scored on. But overall, I do think the power play’s starting to become a threat. Like, when they go on the ice, it wasn’t great that night, but it has been good.
Dustin Brown, on his own performance this season:
I mean, I’ve had some good games. I think my consistency hasn’t been as good as it was last year. I had a couple off-games here as of late, and that’s something I need to focus on here personally, being a little more consistent.
Brown, on how much he values his leadership role and relating to younger players:
I think it’s just something that I learned. I used to be that 18 year-old kid and we had some good guys on my team, like a couple guys back in the [day]. [Reporter: Who were the guys that mentored you?] I think Lappy was really good with me, Matty Norstrom. But you can learn a lot from both good older players and bad older players and try to apply that to yourself, and I just remember what it used to be like for me as a younger guy on the team. The team was definitely a different type of team, but, you know, sometimes having an older guy look out for you helps.
–Lead photo via Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire