The Kings held an optional skate on Friday – expect a notebook with some words from Peter Budaj, Teddy Purcell, Tom Gilbert and Jeff Zatkoff later today – one day after getting back in the win column with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Near the end of a difficult seven-in-12 stretch, Darryl Sutter spoke with reporters after the practice and shared a few notes on the injured players, as well as where the team’s game stands at the end of a compacted portion of the schedule.
Quotes are below, but the bullet points:
-Marian Gaborik, Brayden McNabb and Andy Andreoff are all four-to-six or four-to-seven weeks away. It was indicated that McNabb’s injury is a broken collarbone, and Darryl provided some visual clues of how the fracture occurred. There was no overlap in the bones (forgive me for my lack of knowledge, but LAKI’s athletic training expert, who is not affiliated with the team, noted that this was most likely a non-displaced, mid-shaft fracture.) (Apologies to medical experts if this is not the correct medical reference.) (In any event, the bones did not move past each other, which implied that the type of break was not as severe as it could have been.)
-Jeff Zatkoff is recovering well from his groin injury and was nearly tabbed to back Budaj up against Calgary, but will instead be given a bit of extra time. The plan is for him to travel with the team next week. He’s getting close.
-Jonathan Quick is month-to-month; there’s no real update there.
-Darryl liked the hustle and production from some of the energy-type players, notably the Nick Shore line. Nic Dowd was commended for his overtime game-winner, but it wasn’t his overall best game. (Dowd appeared to indicate this somewhat in his post-game quotes.)
On whether there was “significance” in winning his 600th NHL game:
Significance? Yeah, it doesn’t happen very often. [Reporter: No, 14th, I think, in history.] Significant. The two most important things in coaching – I was telling Lisa this the other day. I’ve been a general manager, I’ve been a head coach, been an assistant coach, been a player. Head coach’s two most important things: wins, playoff wins. Championships. 600 is really not the number, when you look at it. It’s a lot more.
On whether Jeff Zatkoff will travel with the team next week:
Yeah, that’s our plan. There was even, quite honest, the possibility that we would use him tomorrow as a back-up, but with Ontario playing in Tucson and Anders going there yesterday, it gives him a couple more days, and Jack showed that he was capable if we needed him, so we’ll wait. This Sunday’ll be a day off. We shouldn’t talk about it, right? Because play play tomorrow night, so we’ll make a decision tomorrow night. He’ll travel with us, for sure.
On whether he has been encouraged by individual performances during the compacted stretch:
We need four lines and three pairs, and we’ve had to use a lot of different guys, when you look at it. Our defense held up pretty good last night, those young guys we put in. I said after the game that Kevin gives us some speed in our lineup, just needs some experience. Same with Derek, he needs some more experience. There were situations last night that with more experience we wouldn’t have gotten scored on. Hey, it’s the way it’s going to be. You know, I think we’ve had to move guys around again up front with Teddy coming back in – see how that goes. It’s funny to have a first game, a lot of guys can’t have a good second game. We’ve seen that lots, so that’s going to be a real evaluation tomorrow, see how he handles the mental part of it. I liked Devin and Brownie last night. I thought Dowder’s got some work to do in terms of the whole game. The Shore line scored a goal. Cliffy and Lewie were really good, we played them a lot with Kopi just because Teddy, as the game went along, he hadn’t played, that sort of thing. You’ve got to go deep on that, and you’ve got to be sharp on the bench.
On younger players being having “play time,” not “development time”:
It’s both, though. I understand it. I have a good feeling on what the expectations are, and I know there’s going to be hiccups in there. That’s the way it’s going to be, but at the same time, their demands in terms of compete and pace, and if you show trust in them, then they have to reciprocate. They have to throw it right back to you. If you look at last night, after the game everybody’s talking about Dowder because he makes a great play on the goal, and he did, the biggest play was the play before that was Peter Budaj, getting the whistle. He gets a fresh three guys out there. We get Dowd and Pearson and Martinez. It’s the biggest play in the game, and he gets you a whistle in their zone. Get possession, go down and score.
On Marian Gaborik’s progress:
Gabby’s right on schedule. He’ll go again this week. I’ll just make in really clear. Those guys – Andy, Brady, Gabby – they’ll all be December guys, and when that is, so that’s a four-week span there, and you know that’s how far out they are. They’re still a minimum of four weeks away, so four-to-six or four-to-seven weeks, those three, and obviously Zat is day-to-day and Quickie’s month-to-month, so that’s exactly what I;ve got. [Reporter: Brady, was it shoulder or collarbone?] Collarbone. They put a little – which is better – anyway, they put a little plate [in there], just so it doesn’t move. I’m familiar with it. [Reporter: He went for it right away when he fell. You can see it on the video.] A lot of times, you break a collarbone because of this pressure, so the bone goes like this, and what you always worry about is that it goes like this, so if it’s like that, then they’ve got to pull it out. But his was just moved a little, so it’s way better if you put a plate in it and just screw it down. Then you have to stop at all those airport securities.