Some notes before the Reign have a development day late practice on Tuesday as they prep for Saturday’s Outdoor Classic.
–Michael Mersch (lower-body) is limited to just working out right now and said today he’s hoping to skate this week. Mersch was injured in Friday’s road game against Stockton, but played through to the final whistle. Mersch wouldn’t reveal how he was hurt: “Well, it was lower-body. Take your guess from there. But it’s just one of those things where you have the adrenaline of the game going on you don’t really notice it and then after the game you’re like, ‘oh, this kind of hurts a little bit.’ And then you see the trainers and then from there you go on. Obviously it was bothering me too much where I wasn’t able to play Saturday, which is unfortunate.”
When asked how likely he thought he’d play Saturday against Bakersfield, Mersch gave himself a 50-50 chance.
“It’s one of those ones where it happens and because of the adrenaline and everything that goes on in the course of the game, you get through it,” Stothers said. “Then after the game when you start to unwind, relax a little bit, you notice that something’s aching, throbbing, causing some discomfort. Then the next morning it’s even worse. It’s one of those that again, I think, if we were in a playoff situation where we needed to, we probably could have got through it, but we want to make sure Mike’s 100 percent healthy, he’s feeling comfortable and we don’t want to put him at further risk to do more harm.”
Added Mersch: “I just want to make sure I’m healthy right now. We’ve got a lot of games coming up here and we have this week to gear up for that. Rest, recover. Get some good practices in and get healthy, most important thing.”
The left winger was of course out of the lineup for the team’s New Year’s Eve 5-4 OT win against Stockton, the first game he’s missed this season, and said it was tough to watch, but his first answer when asked about how he was doing was a team-first reply.
“Obviously didn’t play Saturday night but that was a great game,” he said. “I was really pumped for all the guys. [Brett Sutter] had a really good game. It was just really fun to watch them come back against that Stockton team who’s kind of like the new San Diego. They’re a good team and we were able to battle back against them and win some big games and send Stutts to the All-Star game, which is awesome for him. Third year in a row, which is pretty special. So I’m feeling pretty happy because we’re winning right now.”
–Joel Lowry was missing from practice on Monday and Stothers revealed that the winger will miss an extended period of time with a lower-body injury suffered last Saturday against Stockton.
–Center Andrew Crescenzi (lower-body) skated late in practice on Monday and Stothers said the player was encouraged to just get his skates back on but the coach said: “I don’t think he’s close.”
–Stothers had said before the new year that the feeling was that defenseman Zach Trotman (upper-body) was close to returning, but Stothers revealed on Tuesday that he’s suffered a setback in recovery.
–The Outdoor Classic will be be played at 1 p.m. PT if there’s inclement weather for the planned 6 p.m. start in Bakersfield on Saturday. Stothers has chosen to have the team practice indoors in Bakersfield on Friday rather than on the outdoor rink. “I feel it’s important we actually have a quality practice,” Stothers said. This was before the news came down about the potential early start. There will be another post on the hype surrounding the game in the coming days.
–The Reign will wear special jerseys for the Outdoor Classic, which the team is hoping to announce the design of Wednesday.