Good afternoon to you, Insiders. The Kings flip-flopped their on and off-ice preparation for tonight’s game against Dallas (7:30 p.m. / FOX Sports West / FOX Sports GO / KABC 790 / I Heart Radio), and after a meeting, took the ice at a half past 10. They aligned as such:
-Peter Budaj was the first goaltender to leave the ice and should be expected to start against Dallas, while Tom Gilbert, Kevin Gravel and Andy Andreoff remained on for extra work with Jeff Zatkoff. Tyler Toffoli (lower-body) did not take part in the morning skate.
-Are NHL teams more similar now than they ever have been? Is this a byproduct of the salary cap? This has been a topic I’ve heard at a few different press boxes over the last few weeks, so I decided to ask around. “No, I don’t think the salary cap’s really changed it,” Matt Greene said. “It’s not a real complicated game. I think it was 1-2-2 or 2-1-2 for a long time, now you see I think it’s nine teams that are playing the 1-1-3, but there’s not a grand scheme. And then you also you coach to what style you’d want your team to play and what style your team is so it changes in terms of who you have and what your personnel and what your lineup is but it’s not a lot different than what it was before.” Is Dallas one of those teams that gives a little bit of a different look? Their offense has been a bit subdued this year due to an injury binge, but the Stars are very capable of spreading teams out and generating up-tempo chances. “Yeah they’ve got a ton of high-powered offense,” Greene said. “I mean, look at their top six, they’ve got some injuries but you look at their top six and they’re as big as anyone in the league. That’s what they want to do, they want to be a rush team and an offensive team and you’ve got to be ready to try to slow them down a little bit.”
-Dallas is still expected to be without Jamie Benn (foot) tonight, though the former Art Ross Trophy winner did skate through rushes (which may have simply been as a placeholder for Patrick Eaves). Via Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning news, today’s lines were Hudler-Spezza-Seguin, Roussel-Eakin-Benn(Eaves), Shore-Faksa-Sharp and Korpikoski-Cracknell-Ritchie/McKenzie, with defensive pairings of Lindell-Klingberg, Hamhuis-Oleksiak and Oduya-Benn. Kari Lehtonen is expected to start in net. The Stars have lost 179 man-games to injury this season.
Lindy Ruff said Jamie Benn is getting better. A "possibility" for tomorrow in Anaheim, they'll see how he responds after today's skate.
— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) January 9, 2017
-In case you missed it, the Dallas Stars arrived in town a touch later than expected after running into some mechanical issues after taking off on Sunday. According to the Belleville News-Democrat, smoke appeared in the cockpit shortly after takeoff, necessitating an emergency landing back at St. Louis Downtown Airport, which is used frequently by NHL charters. Ultimately a different plane arrived to carry the team west. It was asked of several players: Have there been any dicey moments on team charters? “We landed in Pittsburgh one time and it was so windy and then we came back and the next day we had a different nose on the front of our plane,” Devin Setoguchi said. “It was from a different plane, they put it together.”
-It’s a bit in advance, but this is a really cool event in advance of the All-Star Game: On Friday, January 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Kathryn Tappen (NBC Sports Host) will host a “Women in Sports” business panel that will include Alyssa Milano (Entrepreneur, Actress, Philanthropist & Founder, Touch by Alyssa Milano), Angela Ruggiero (Chief Strategy Officer, LA2024; Hockey Hall-of Famer and 4-Time Olympian ), Heidi Browning (Chief Marketing Officer, NHL), Helene Elliott (Hockey Hall-of-Fame Columnist, Los Angeles Times ) and Susan Samueli (Owner, Anaheim Ducks) as panelists. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Los Angels Kings President of Business Operations Luc Robitaille will share introductions. Click here to RSVP.
-There aren’t any Darryl Sutter quotes today, but I’ll have stories up this afternoon on Tomas Sandstrom and the Kings’ desire to construct better starts to their games. More to come, Insiders. Let’s talk soon.