Sean O’Donnell will be back on the ice tomorrow night when the Kings host Minnesota, having served the entirety of the five-game suspension he received during the preseason. It was a long wait for O’Donnell, who had played 82 games in each of the previous two seasons.
O’DONNELL: “I feel like I’ve been let out of jail. I’m happy that I don’t have to skate after practice anymore. I haven’t played a real game in almost six months now, so I’m looking forward to it, to get back with the guys. Practices are one thing, but when you’re in there giving everything you have, and you’re working with the guys, it’s a fun thing and I missed it.”
It was suggested to O’Donnell that his partner, Drew Doughty, might be the happiest to see O’Donnell back. Doughty’s opening-game struggles were well-chronicled, and last season O’Donnell served as a stable, veteran, defensive-minded safety net for Doughty.
O’DONNELL: “Drew, he makes some real good plays out there but, you know, he’s still 19. I think sometimes you look at him and you see some of the plays he does and you figure, `Oh, this guy is just something special,’ and you think it’s going to be that way every shift. And it’s not. He’s still playing against men, still playing against the best guys in the world, and he’s still a work in progress.”
Terry Murray said he would reunite O’Donnell and Doughty, and that O’Donnell’s presence had not simply been missed on the ice…
MURRAY: “OD is going to be welcomed back. He’s an important player for us. His experience, presence… Just a lot of the intangible stuff that happens in the locker room and is said in the locker room, he’s a big, big part of it. Back in the lineup tomorrow, and I’m sure he’s happy to get out of the `skating club.”’