Good afternoon, Insiders. I’m going to keep this (kind of) brief, not because Nashville is calling, but because I spoke with Anze Kopitar, Darryl had a lot of interesting things to say, and you’re probably interested in both of those things.
-It was an optional practice. All coaches and both goaltenders took the ice, as did Kyle Clifford, Dustin Brown and Brayden McNabb. Brown should be the first to return to game action and told LA Kings Insider that he’s ready to play tomorrow against the Predators. McNabb is on the verge of a return but, as noted previously, is almost certainly going to be held out until after the Christmas break. His return could be announced shortly after the roster freeze is lifted the morning of December 28, when the Kings will be preparing for a game in Vancouver. A better sense of whether McNabb could play during that road trip will be hinted at during the practice on the 27th, so let’s cross that bridge when we get there. Kyle Clifford isn’t as likely as Brown to play against Nashville tomorrow night but isn’t a ways off.
-If Derek Forbort played a assertive, controlled game on Tuesday, that was news to, well, Derek Forbort. “I mean, I didn’t think I was very good down low,” he said. “I think I need to get better at that.” It’s interesting to hear the 24-year-old looking inward to critique his performance, even if he was being a bit tough on himself. “I took a penalty there, got my stick in there and I’ve just got to do a better job of getting two hands on my stick in those battles and not letting the guy get behind position on me like that, but I felt all right on my puck movement. Other then that, just got to get back to being better down low.” I’ll have more on the PK later, but a graph from Sean Tierney shows that Forbort and Drew Doughty have been an effective penalty killing pair. Having killed off 19 in a row, Los Angeles’ PK has crept up to eighth in the league.
–From Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts: 7. The Predators didn’t put P.K. Subban on injured reserve and hope to have him back Thursday against Los Angeles. That’s great news considering there was a rumour going around that he had a herniated disc.
-Brayden McNabb was a roommate of Craig Cunningham’s in Kelowna in 2009 when a WHL team faced Russia as part of the Canada-Russia Super Series, a late fall exhibition that aids in evaluation for the World Junior Championship. Like so many people who had played with, coached or had simply gotten to know the Tucson Roadrunners captain who went into cardiac arrest prior to his November 19 game, he had good memories of his former roomie. Thankfully – and perhaps miraculously – Cunningham is on the road to recovery after undergoing several stages of medical treatment that had very rarely been performed previously. This Arizona Daily Star article beautifully shares the critical stages of Cunningham’s medical procedures, and how a group of doctors literally helped keep him alive when he was very close to dying.
-I’m saving all of the quotes I have from Darryl Sutter and Anze Kopitar for stories later today. Darryl’s quotes should be up in 30-45. Let’s talk soon, Insiders.