On whether Torrey Mitchell will enter into the lineup:
As long as there’s no issues during the day, I think he’s a good consideration to come in. He’s been off the ice for a few days, so skated him yesterday, skated him today, and he said he felt pretty good, so he’s an option to go in, for sure.
On Andy Andreoff’s progress in attempting to return from an upper-body injury:
Andy’s good. Andy he went through all his testing and he’s had some progressive workouts during the week. He’s feeling good. Workouts have gone well. He’ll rejoin the team when we get back.
On whether Mitchell’s fresh legs could benefit the team at the end of a road trip:
We had a good recovery day yesterday. The schedule is what it is. It’s been tough for Chicago, too. We expect our team to have good energy tonight, and I think we’ve done a good job of getting everybody into our lineup on the back end and u front and in the net, so I would expect our team to have good energy tonight, and the way Chicago is, they’re a good team, top-to-bottom. We’re going to need everybody, just like we’ve talked about the whole trip. We’re going to need four lines, we’re going to need six D.
On why the Kings have been such a good third period team:
The way we’ve played in the third period, it really seems like we’ve really gained momentum. We’ve seemed to have gotten better through games. The other night we played really solid in the third period. Our support for the puck was really good, we played fast and firm with the puck, we got pucks ahead and we were able to use everybody. I think that was the big thing. I think the other night, even though it was a back-to-back, we had really good energy, our shift length was really down and we were able to use four lines quite a bit, so I think that really helped our pace, especially in the third period. I’d certainly like to see that continue. I think that’s something we’ve really got to continue to focus on, is not getting overextending with our shift length, because then your pace drops, and when your pace drops, usually your execution in the third period’s not as good. [Reporter: Mentally, that was something that was instilled under Darryl, because for a long time you guys were known for being a strong third period team.] I think it’s important, especially if you have the lead going into the third period. You really want to bear down. The other team’s going to come at you. But I think this team, as long as I’ve been here, going back to when Terry was here, when Darryl was here, and certainly now, I think it’s a credit to the players. They know how to win, they understand what it takes to win, and they really try and bear down in the third period. I know the first period’s important, too – it is. The one thing we’ve talked to our team is don’t let an event affect the way you need to play the game. So, if it’s a penalty, a bad penalty, a bad break, one event shouldn’t affect the outcome of the whole hockey game. The first period’s important, but I certainly think the ability to play well in the third period under tight situations gives a real credit to the players.
On the Blackhawks and their evolving personnel:
I haven’t seen a lot of ‘em, but they have had quite a bit of change. But, I think their key, core pieces are the same – their goalie, a few guys on the back end that are really the pillars back there, and then the guys up front with Kane and Toews, it seems almost like Pittsburgh where they build around those guys all the time. But they’ve added some pieces. DeBrincat’s having a great year, some of those young kids with Schmaltz, Hartman are really playing well. I think Anisimov’s an underrated player. He’s a really good, effective guy. A big guy who goes to the net and leads their team in power play goals, and then a couple guys they have on the back end with Forsling and … Rutta. He’s really been a nice addition for their team, so it gives them some mobility, some good puck movers back there and allows them to play the way they want to play. There are other guys in the picture there, but I really think their core guys are there, and they’ve done a good job of bringing in pieces around them. They’ve really given them some depth, and getting Saad back certainly helps with some familiarity with Sharp back, a guy that’s been there before. We still look at that as a pretty dangerous offensive team and has the puck a lot. They leadthe league in O-zone entries and sets up their whole offensive game, so that part hasn’t changed.
-Lead photo via Bill Smith/NHLI
-Two quotes withheld for today’s morning skate report