Kovalchuk "tweaked something," leaves practice early; LaDue close, will play in preseason - LA Kings Insider

Ilya Kovalchuk suffered an undisclosed injury Wednesday during an afternoon training camp session and left the ice midway through the skate. He did not return, and Head Coach Todd McLellan confirmed that the injury occurred during the practice and wasn’t something left over from Tuesday’s split-squad game.

“I don’t even know what happened – he tweaked something and left, but as far as last night goes, he was fine, he played good minutes, so it was more today than anything,” McLellan said. As of now, there’s no sense of the severity of the injury or whether Kovalchuk would have to miss practice or game action.

Kovalchuk, 36, totaled 16 goals and 34 points in 64 games last season.

“I’ve enjoyed my time around Kovy so far,” McLellan said Monday. “He’s a really smart guy. He looks at the game a certain way and he’s given us what he has at camp so far. He’s been willing to open up and learn. All of that’s great to this point now when the games start and coach-player relationship, player-team relationship, the whole group together all has to blend and everybody has a job to do. I’m going to give our group everything I have and I expect them to give each other that as well – and that goes from Kovy all the way through Kopi down to Bjornfot, who’s been here for 10 days now. Everybody has to give each other what they have, and there’s no cutting corners or cheating. If we get that from each other on a daily basis, I don’t know if that’ll be enough to win a championship, but that’ll be enough for growth, and that’s what we’re looking for.”

The two had met recently met for lunch to establish and build their relationship – and, per Kovalchuk, McLellan paid. “How does that happen?” the coach joked.

“It was a great lunch. We talked a little bit about the past, and the past isn’t just last year, his time here. The past can go way back. I know other people that have coached him, i know players that have played with him. We talked about his family, the importance of what happens there and how his kids are involved in different sports. I talked to him about how I would likely use him, a t least to start with, and then after that, he and all the players, they dictate how much they play, where they play, who they play with with their performances. It’s what i really believe in. People think that we determine ice time and we determine who’s in and out of the lineup. Quite often, the players do that themselves, and i know you asked about Kovy, but this is a general, ‘everybody’ comment in my mind.”

Better news!

Paul LaDue is getting closer. As I shared Sunday, he was on the verge of joining one of the regular practice groups. That happened today as he skated with the 12:00 p.m. group, and the plan will ultimately be to integrate him into preseason action.

“It’s funny, because I addressed the group yesterday with him being out and got good news. He was back out there today, involved more than I thought he would be, which is a good sign, and he’ll get some games in in the exhibition season, for sure,” McLellan said.

LaDue, 27, recorded two goals and five points in 33 games with Los Angeles last season. He has five goals, 17 points and an even rating in 67 regular season NHL games.

Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

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.

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.