INSIDERS. Time to get to the meat of today’s practice doings and happenings. More to come from Ontario this afternoon and evening. But first!
— Neither Drew Doughty nor Derek Forbort – eerily, devastatingly, heartbreakingly players whose numbers are Kobe Bryant’s 8 and 24 – practiced. Both had skated yesterday, though Doughty came off the ice a few minutes early. Rob Blake confirmed that the two are day-to-day, and Todd McLellan shared some additional detail.
“If they don’t get a good skate in tomorrow … they’re going to be very questionable for Wednesday, so that’s where we’re at,” he said.
Doughty appeared in his franchise-record 460th consecutive game prior to the bye week, while Forbort has played in six of a possible seven games since returning January 6 from a back injury that derailed his first summer training. When asked, McLellan indicated that his absence from practice was related to his recovery from the back injury.
“I think in his situation it’s always going to be the pre-existing thing. Practicing and working out and training, you’re always going to feel it,” he said. “So that’s where he’s at, and Drew, same situation. Get back to practice, and something doesn’t feel right, and all of a sudden you’re fighting it a bit.”
— Blake Lizotte returned to center Adrian Kempe and Austin Wagner at his first practice since the morning skate on January 8. Keep an eye out for a Deborah Lew story on Lizotte in the next week, by the way.
Speaking with LA Kings Insider, Lizotte shared how awkward contact during his first shift against Dallas led to immediate discomfort in his groin and the recognition that he wouldn’t be able to play.
“[Andrew] Cogliano leaned into me and I felt it a little bit in my groin earlier. I told Kinger right away, and that was it. ‘Shut ‘er down,’ he said.”
Blake Lizotte, on the immediate recognition and understanding of the injury:
For me, I was more happy – it wasn’t because it was overuse. It was a hit, so that makes me feel better about my preparation. Coming into the year it was nothing I could avoid. That injury just kind of happened. It’s disappointing to miss games, but it’s nice to be back.
Lizotte, on using his rehabilitation while the team was away and during the bye week:
It was terrible. Watching your teammates go out and play, sitting at home, it’s not fun, as anyone with an injury will tell you. It’s disappointing to miss games. Especially you feel like you bring something to the team and help them win each night. But it’s good. My brother came out and spent a few days out here with me, so that was great. Got to explore the city a little bit. So, hindsight 20/20, I guess.
— Lines, in Forbort’s absence, depicted a forward group of Iafallo-Kopitar-Brown, Prokhorkin-Carter-Toffoli, Wagner-Lizotte-Kempe and Clifford-Amadio-Wagner-Luff. Don’t put much stock in the defensive pairs, which rotated a touch, particularly between Martinez, Hutton and Ryan. Let’s hold off until we see the whites of Forbort’s and Doughty’s eyes (or not).
Brown back up with Iafallo, Kopitar
— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) January 27, 2020
McLellan continued to discuss the team’s psyche in the month-long lead-up to the trade deadline, a topic he covered in sharp detail yesterday. More on the team’s preparation for Wednesday’s game and the 31 that follow:
Todd McLellan, on how much he wants to be informed as potential transactions develop:
Want, need – that’s a good question. I think that any good question includes everybody in it, and Blakey’s doing that. We’re involved in where the team is, where it’s going, the plan, the transition into the future, and that’s been a part of the process since I’ve arrived in every way, shape or form. We spend a lot of time together, and it’s not just Rob and Todd. It’s Rob’s team and our coaching staff. We all get input. Now, do we sit on the phone when Blakey’s making phone calls and analyzing? No, we give them summaries of what we think and he gives us summaries of what’s happening. We’re not discussing it at every time we meet, but we do keep each other up to date.
McLellan, on whether he wants to be informed with a “reasonable chance of something happening”:
Quite frankly, there isn’t anybody in the league that watches hockey the way we do as a coaching staff, so there might be somebody in the pro scouting staff or somebody in Blakey’s group that may want to ask us about a player. ‘What do you know about Jon Rosen?’ ‘Jeez, he’s a fast skater, he scored 50 in the past, he’s physical – and way overpaid.’ But those are scenarios – we re-watch games. We break situations down, and we’re not just doing it from our perspective. We take a look at players that are involved with other teams. We do discuss individuals or players that are on other teams. That is management’s job, and that’s what they’re working on all the time.
McLellan, on seeing AHL games and “recharging the batteries” during the bye week:
I went to the … Monday game. Blakey and I drove together. I think there’s a couple factors that are really important there. One, our American league team plays out of basically our own building. If I’m a player on that team or a prospect, it’s important to know that the coaches up here are paying attention to them, that we do pay attention to them and we want them to proceed and succeed going forward. Therefore, being in the building and watching the game and having them know that is important. But, also for us to watch and see how they’re executing, the type of systematic play, the structure they have, how individuals are performing. You can watch it on video, but it’s never the same as it being live. So that was a really good experience for me. I enjoyed it, the team played really well. Other than that, we had a few small projects that we worked on doing the break. And it was ‘re-charge the batteries’ for us, too.