Kovalchuk scrum transcript; projected lineup and Kings-Wings at a glance

INSIDERS. More to come this afternoon. But first! A quick tee-up of tonight’s game against the Detroit Red Wings (7:30 p.m. / FOX Sports West / FOX Sports GO / I Heart Radio), beginning with the projected lineup:




— The vitals: Today’s skate was optional. Todd McLellan confirmed that there will be one change to the lineup, and stick taps to Carrlyn Bathe for her sleuth work, which has indicated it’s probably Adrian Kempe entering in place of *left wing* Carl Grundstrom. Might have a touch more on that subject later. Bill Ranford donned the pads again, and though he left the ice first – “That means he can’t breathe,” McLellan joked – Jonathan Quick is the projected starter versus Detroit, against whom he’s 10-14-1 with a 2.76 goals-against average, a .907 save percentage and two shutouts in his career. Kurtis MacDermid and Grundstrom remained on for some work with Jack Campbell didn’t dither. Ilya Kovalchuk skated but isn’t expected to play tonight. More on him below.

— Their vitals: The Red Wings have won three straight on the heels of a 1-11-1 stretch but are hurting; forwards Justin Abdelkader (middle-body) and Luke Glendening (upper-body), and defensemen Patrik Nemeth (illness), Danney DeKeyser (lower-body) and Trevor Daley (lower-body) are all on injured reserve. Defenseman Joe Hicketts was recalled today, joining recent defensive reinforcements Dylan McIlrath and Jonathan Ericsson. Beyond regicide enthusiast Mike Green, who has five goals in 14 career games against Los Angeles and 847 games total, only one defenseman has more than 100 NHL games played, and that’s Jonathan Ericsson, who had been waived and assigned to AHL-Grand Rapids last month. There’s also something about glass houses I can’t quite remember right now. Jonathan Bernier has started each of the three straight wins, so there’s a good chance the goaltending battery that together won a Stanley Cup in 2012 may face each other. I’ve got to jet from El Segundo, but Detroit’s skate is winding down and if Bernier is confirmed, I’ll share a few notes this afternoon. He’s 2-5-0 in nine career games against his former team with a 2.61 GAA, an .896 Sv% and one shutout.

— And, finally, the full transcript of our conversation with Ilya Kovalchuk, who skated with the team this morning but declined to go into details beyond that as his status as a healthy scratch:

To our understanding, obviously things are fluid and it’s changing, moving around, but do you have an understanding of what your situation is with the team right now?
Nothing, really. I just come here every day, work, try to get better.

Are you OK with an arrangement in which it had been reported you’d be practicing with the team, skating, things like that?
I don’t know what was reported. I’m a regular player. Everybody’s got a healthy scratch, and we’re in last place, so coach has to do something to change things, and I’m just here every day for the guys, for the team and if they need me, I’m ready to go.

Rob Blake said that he met with you before Tuesday’s game. What was the message he gave you-
Ask him. He told you the message? Did he tell you what the message was? [Reporter: But what did you take out of it from your end-] Just ask him.

Like, are there emotions? These are personal questions, and you don’t have to answer-
No, not emotions. We’re all professionals. [Reporter: Anger-] It’s not anger, no. Trust me, I’m not that kind of guy. I just have to come and work and show that I’m ready.

— More to come! Tonight’s officials are referees Dan O’Rourke and Gord Dwyer and linesmen Devin Berg and Derek Nansen. Mike Dalager will perform the national anthem. Let’s talk soon, Insiders.

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