A good afternoon to you from Silicon Valley, Insiders. The Kings took the SAP Center ice shortly after 11:00 a.m. and hinted at the following lineup:
-Scratches would appear to be Andy Andreoff, Jonny Brodzinski and Paul LaDue; they remained on the ice for extra work with Brooks Laich and Darcy Kuemper. Jonathan Quick left the ice first and is expected to start in net versus the Sharks, against whom he has a record of 14-9-5 with a 2.61 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage in 30 games, all starts. Here’s a nice article by Clay Fowler of the LA Daily News on Jonathan Quick’s importance to the Kings. And, from Curtis Zupke of the LA Times, a reflection on the season opener by the three players who made their NHL debuts on Thursday.
-Say, remember late June, when the Kings were zeroed in on Joe Thornton as a top free agent target? I’m not sure if anyone really expected him to sign in Los Angeles given, you know, the decade-plus animosity between the Kings and Sharks during his tenure, but that sure would’ve been weird to envision, right, Drew Doughty? “I think it would’ve been tough for him to come to us after playing for this team for so long and creating so many battles against each other. It probably would’ve been tough for him and I don’t think the San Jose fans would’ve been too happy if he had came to L.A., so I’m not surprised he didn’t [sign with us].” More from Doughty, on San Jose’s core and their perceived “window” of opportunity: “Well, theirs is a little older than ours I would say, so their window is closing faster than ours is closing. But Joe Thornton is however old and he’s still the best player on their team. So it’s pretty special when you can be the best player on your team for all twenty years you’re in the league. You know you’re a special player when you do that. Every time he’s circled when we play him, and every time its usually my job and my partner’s to shut him down.”
-Discussed prior to the morning skate: the last time the Kings won their first two games was… wait for it… 2002-03. Glavin! That year, the Kings started 3-0-0 with wins over Phoenix, Detroit and Anaheim, and then lost 32 of their next 48 games. That year, Adam Deadmarsh played the final 20 games of his career. I will tell this to anyone who is interested: the 2000-02 Kings were being set up for something special. Boo, injuries.
-No changes are expected to San Jose’s lineup. Their likely alignment includes Labanc-Thornton-Pavelski, Boedker-Couture-Hansen, Donskoi-Hertl-Meier and Karlsson-Tierney-Ward up front and defensive pairings of Martin-Burns, Vlasic-Braun and Dillon-DeMelo on the back end. Martin Jones is expected to start in net. More, from Curtis Pashelka of the Mercury-Tribune: Sharks spent $5 million to improve ice at SAP Center. Is it helping? I also strongly recommend this excellent piece that came out three weeks ago in the Merc, courtesy of Daniel Brown: Where have you gone, Tim Lincecum? In search of beloved Giants ace.
-Tonight’s officials are referees Jean Hebert and Kevin Pollock, and linesmen Brandon Gawryletz and Kiel Murchison. John Stevens quotes will follow. Enjoy your Saturday, Insiders.
-Lead photo via Rocky W. Widner/NHLI