As posted last night, Ryan Smyth will not make the trip to Canada and won’t play in any of the three games before the holiday break. Barring any setbacks, Smyth will return to the lineup when the Kings play at Phoenix on Dec. 26.
After practice today, I asked Smyth if he was frustrated or disappointed about not playing before the holiday break, something he had seemed to be pointing toward.
SMYTH: “Well, I understand the logic behind it. Obviously I want to play. It’s hard, being on the outside looking in. Obviously it’s great that the team is playing well and that we’re finding wayt to win, but on the outside you want to be a part of it and feel like you’re a part of the team and stuff. But we have three games and then we have (eight) days off, so that’s an extra full two weeks from yesterday, so it makes logical sense to do it. I’ll be ready to go on the 26th and I’ll be hungry.”
Smyth said he was confident that, with the three days of practice — next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday — before the mandatory two-day holiday break, he would have enough time to get back on the same page with his teammates.
SMYTH: “Yeah. We obviously get a few days off when they get back, but once they get back together, I’ll be excited to skate with them. I’ve been skating with them the last few times, but just getting into it with the guys and being around them is always exciting. I’ll be excited about playing a game.”
It sounded as though the Kings made a choice not to push things with Smyth, but Murray said there had not been a change in philosophy, in terms of deciding when to put Smyth back in the lineup.
MURRAY: “It’s not my decision. It’s a medical decision, the doctor’s decision. With us going on the trip, my philosophy is that injured players do not travel. He has ice (time) and he’s going to be skating. We get back from the road trip and we’ll have three days of good hard practice. … We’ll get a real good push with things, and he will be on top of things here (in L.A.) while we travel.”