As you probably already know, the Kings will regain the services of Jack Johnson, Brandon Segal, Wayne Simmonds and Ryan Smyth tonight. Segal and Simmonds were activated from injured reserve today, and Jarret Stoll was placed on IR, retroactive to Dec. 15, meaning he will be able to come off IR when healthy.
It’s always a good thing to get injured players back, but getting four back at once might make a coach nervous. Until the players get into game conditions, it’s hard to predict how sharp they will be, or if they can handle a full complement of minutes. I asked Terry Murray this morning how he would handle the four returners, and if he would keep a closer-than-usual eye on them…
MURRAY: “I’m assuming that they’re going to get slotted back in and play the number of minutes and the same situations. Ryan Smyth has been out for quite a while, as we know, but has been on the ice for probably three weeks. In my mind, as a veteran player, he’s able to get right back in and contribute. Same thing with Wayne Simmonds. I know he’s only a second-year pro, but he has a pretty clear understanding as to what his role is and how to play the game now. We’ll just put him right back at it, also. I have the confidence that everybody is going to play that way. We’ll keep the shifts short. After this many days off, you’ve got to bring the high energy and match Phoenix.
“That’s a team that’s played incredibly well. Watching their last couple games on video, they’re a very confident team. Scottie Upshall, he’s playing good, as good as I saw him play at any time in Philadelphia. We’ve got to make sure that we’re ready to go against that group of guys.”