World Cup exhibitions underway; Quick in goal tonight

Good morning, Insiders. Hockey is being played.

This is, of course, a reference to the pre-tournament schedule for the World Cup of Hockey, which for four entries, will be longer than the tournament itself. Yesterday, Finland edged Sweden on Olli Maatta’s overtime game-winner – which followed a tying Markus Granlund goal Jhonas Enroth would like to have back – as well as a one-goal Russia win over the Czech Republic (Czechia, anyone?) and North America’s 4-0 shutout of Team Europe, where someone by the name of Anza Kopitar snuck onto the ice.

The Real Kopitar finished with an even rating and four shots on goal in 20:28 of ice time, while Marian Gaborik drew a minus-one and took one shot in 14:55. The U-23 team’s defense may be suspect (so is Russia’s), but don’t understate their dark horse chance in this tournament.

Injury scares:

Miller returned to the game, but, according to Mark Spector, was on the outside looking in during line rushes this morning.

Tonight, Jonathan Quick will be in net against Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin as the United States faces Canada at 4:00 p.m. in Columbus. Quick, who will be backed up by Ben Bishop, isn’t expected to go the whole way. Expect Cory Schneider to get some time in when the teams turn around and meet in Ottawa on Saturday, and I’m with Torts here: why is there a back-to-back, with travel, for pre-World Cup tune-ups, prior to a season that will be compacted due to the addition of a bye week? (Answer: Because $$$.)

Today’s game will be televised on ESPNU; you can find tomorrow’s game on ESPN3.

Here’s your friendly reminder that in addition to the players, Dean Lombardi (General Manager, United States), Rob Blake (Assistant General Manager, Canada), Chris Kingsley (Athletic Trainer, United States), Marshall Dickerson (Team Services, United States), Lee Callans (Assistant to the General Manager, United States) and Darren Granger (Equipment Manager, Canada) will also be representing their countries in this tournament. I asked Dana Bryson at the rink yesterday whether he was holding down the fort in Granger’s absence, but he deferred credit to fellow Assistant Equipment Manager Joe Alexander. Stories on how tournament participation will affect the Kings’ preparations for training camp and the preseason will follow in the coming days and weeks.


Elsewhere, Kris Versteeg is “closing in” on a PTO from Edmonton, according to Darren Dreger.

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