Good afternoon from El Segundo, where the Kings held an optional 11:00 a.m. practice. Skaters taking part under the direction of John Stevens, Davis Payne, Bill Ranford and Nelson Emerson were Brayden McNabb, Jamie McBain, Kyle Clifford, Andy Andreoff, Trevor Lewis, Nick Shore, Robyn Regehr, Jordan Nolan, Tyler Toffoli and Derek Forbort. Martin Jones was the only goalie on the ice.
Other than the Kyle Clifford extension, there wasn’t much news from practice. Some interesting Darryl Sutter quotes are coming down the pike, and I also had an interesting chat with Jarret Stoll, an unrestricted free agent, about the team’s core and the motivations behind a tight knit group that has won two Stanley Cups but faces an uncertain future due to salary cap complications that will affect personnel decisions as they relate to free agency.
-As reported by Rich Hammond, the Slava Voynov trial has been pushed back by one week to accommodate Deputy District Attorney Frank Dunnick, who has two cases overlapping. According to Hammond, it is expected that the trial will last five days, and there will be a ruling on Monday whether still and video cameras will be allowed in the courtroom during testimony.
-Two mid-level but significant trades took place across the league, with Pittsburgh acquiring rugged two-way forward Daniel Winnik from Toronto for Zach Sill, a 2016 second round pick and a 2014 fourth round pick, and Winnipeg acquiring two-way scorer Jiri Tlusty from Carolina for a 2016 third round pick and a conditional 2015 sixth round pick. Both Winnik and Tlusty are bound for unrestricted free agency. As noted earlier – and I hope to gain some greater perspective leading up to the deadline – the Kings are expected to acquire a defenseman, likely one who can play the right side and has the ability to advance the puck. Los Angeles has one game remaining against both Winnipeg (Sunday, March 1 / MTS Centre) and Pittsburgh (Saturday, March 7 / Staples Center) this season.
-Patrick Kane is going to be out for 6-10 weeks, Scott Powers of ESPNChicago.com writes. Tied with Nicklas Backstrom and Jakub Voracek for the league scoring lead with 64 points, Kane was crosschecked by Florida’s Alex Petrovic during the first period of Chicago’s 3-2 shootout win Tuesday night and fell shoulder-first into the offensive zone boards. There won’t be a hearing for Petrovic (nor should there have been), who drew a two-minute minor on the play. The Kings will travel to visit the Blackhawks on March 30 for their only United Center visit of the season, so it’s unlikely they’ll see Kane for what will shape up to be a hugely important late season game for both teams. Chicago is in third place in the Central Division, four points ahead of Winnipeg with a game in hand.