A good afternoon to you, Insiders. After a day off on Tuesday, the Kings practiced at Toyota Sports Center Thursday morning and, amidst the cacophonous wails of a fire alarm, aligned as such:
-Defensive pairings were Forbort-Doughty, Martinez-Phaneuf and Gravel-Folin with Paul LaDue skating as an extra. Jake Muzzin, who is week-to-week with an upper-body injury, did not skate. Gravel got some work in with Alec Martinez as the defensive pairing on the second power play unit. After power play work and rush and flow what-have-you, practice concluded with a good helping of battle-type-drills, including a tight-quarter, close-to-net scoring/compete drill in which the goal faced the corner from the right circle, as depicted at right. (The fire alarm sounded for only 90 seconds or so.)
-It was confirmed that the Kings met today with NCAA free agent defenseman Daniel Brickley. He’s a 6-foot-3, 205-pound Utahn whose junior season with Minnesota-Mankato ended last weekend and is expected to sign an NHL contract. Represented by CAA Sports’ Pat Brisson, he met with Detroit on Monday and with San Jose on Tuesday, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, who also noted that he’s looking closely at three but perhaps as many as five teams on yesterday’s Insider Trading.
“Good upside, should be a very good pro,” texted one Western Conference executive. “Will need to make adjustments to the pace of the NHL and still has some room for development but has the attributes and capacity that give him a really good chance to be a solid NHL player.”
Multiple sources projected him as a bottom pair NHL defenseman to start with the upside to grow into a No. 4 if he continues to develop. His offensive ability is developed enough to earn power play time on a first or second unit. He probably needs AHL time but it may take NHL playing time assurances to get him to sign, as is often the case with these free agents.
-The Board of Governors approved changes to goaltender interference review, and as recommend by the general managers, the NHLPA executive board and the NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee, voted to shift the final decision on goaltender interference away from the on-ice officials and to a consortium in The Situation Room in Toronto that will include a rotating former referee. The changes go into effect tonight.
Via the league’s release:
The changes were recommended by the NHL’s General Managers at their March Meeting and subsequently approved by the NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee.
The updated rule, as written below (with changes underlined), will be implemented for games as of Wednesday, March 28.
(ii) Scoring Plays Involving Potential “Interference on the Goalkeeper”
(c) The standard for overturning the call in the event of a “GOAL” call on the ice is that the NHL Situation Room (which shall include a former referee in the Officiating Department in the decision-making process), after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Referee who made the original call, determines that the goal should have been disallowed due to “Interference on the Goalkeeper,” as described in Rules 69.1, 69.3 and 69.4.
(d) The standard for overturning the call in the event of a “NO GOAL” call on the ice is that the NHL Situation Room (which shall include a former referee in the Officiating Department in the decision-making process), after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Referee who made the original call, determines that the goal on the ice should have been allowed because either: (i) there was no actual contact of any kind initiated by the attacking Player with the goalkeeper; or (ii) the attacking Player was pushed, shoved or fouled by a defending Player causing the attacking Player to come into contact with the goalkeeper; or (iii) the attacking Player’s positioning within the crease did not impair the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal and, in fact, had no discernible impact on the play.
-More league news: The odds for the 2018 NHL Draft Lottery were released this morning. There will be three drawings. The first will determine the club that selects first overall, the second will determine the club that selects second, and the third will determine the club that selects third.
The 15 teams that do not qualify for the playoffs will participate in the lottery, which will be held Saturday, April 28 in Toronto.
— CanucksArmy (@CanucksArmy) March 21, 2018
-The Kings lost a defenseman in Jake Muzzin but had two to choose from to replace him in the lineup. When the Arizona Coyotes visit on Thursday, it appears Kevin Gravel will get the first kick at the can to step in, though Paul LaDue will almost certainly get his looks over the season’s final two weeks, as well.
“Both those guys have been really good for us this year, and that’s what happens when you face a little adversity,” Alec Martinez said. “You’ve got to rely on your depth, and those guys are going to be awesome for us, as they already have.”
The choice of Gravel to get the first look is a natural one. Though he’s versatile and can play either side, he’s a left-handed shot, whereas LaDue shoots right-handed. Had Los Angeles chosen to go with LaDue to step in for the left-handed Muzzin, it would’ve required a more thorough realignment of their defensive pairings. Instead, Gravel is simply plugged into Muzzin’s spot – at least for Thursday’s game, it appears.
Coaches often have no issues moving forwards around from game to game based on performance, the opposition and other criteria. Moving defensive partners around doesn’t necessarily happen as regularly. Why is that?
“There are certain intricacies in the D-zone, and just having the comfort with another guy where you know what they’re going to do,” Martinez said. “I think the same applies to forwards. It’s just different because there’s three guys, and sometimes you try to shuffle things up just to get a different look, whereas I think there might not be as much shuffling on D. I think we have a formula and we know what we like. Obviously, we try to fit a puck-mover with a guy that’s maybe a little bit more defensive-minded.”
-There are still tickets available for Monday’s LAKI Group Night, which comes with a pre-game chalk talk-slash-panel-slash-oh gosh this season is going to come down to this Avs game, isn’t it-meeting. Jim Fox will be one of our esteemed guests. The rows in Section 316 we’ve allotted for Insiders have nearly been filled up, so we’ve added a pair of rows in 317. Details and logistics will be posted later this week. Click here to purchase seats, which are priced at $45, plus fees.
All photos, including lead photo, courtesy Jon Bradley: