The Kings Concluded Their Final Practice Today In El Segundo Ahead Of Their Long-Awaited Season Opener Which Will Mark The Beginning Of Their First Ever Title Defense
By Paul Armbruster | KingsNewsDaily.com
After two days of hard practice, Anze Kopitar once again joined in a full practice this morning in El Segundo. And once again, he skated with the ’5th’ or ‘scratch’ line alongside Anthony Stewart, which means the likelihood of Kopitar playing in tomorrow’s home opener has all but vanished. Indeed, Lisa Dillman of the LA Times tweeted the bad news:
Kopitar def out for sat-no surprise , not playing
— lisa dillman (@reallisa) January 18, 2013
Practice was paired down today, with focus on special teams, positional drills, shooting and light skating. After an excused abscense yesterday, Dustin Penner returned to a line with Jeff Carter at center and Brad Richardson, who skated in place of Justin Williams, who was out because of illness.
Here’s how the lines and d-pairs looked.
Penner (25) — Carter (77) — Richardson (15)
Gagne (12) — Richards (10) — Brown (23)
King (74) — Stoll (28) — Lewis (22)
Clifford (13) — Fraser (24) — Nolan (71)
Kopitar (11) — Stewart (21)
Scuderi (7) Doughty (8)
Martinez (27) Voynov (26)
Drewiske (44) Greene (2)
On a positive note, Willie Mitchell (knee) made his first camp appearance by skating for about 30 minutes after practice. Video soon. Check back.
The Kings are currently one man over the roster limit of 23, which means either someone else gets cut or Kopitar gets placed on IR. The latter seems likely for tomorrow but that won’t last long. Kopitar seems certain to rejoin the team in short order and a decision will have to be made to shed a player. Who will it be? It appears the Kings 4th line is set with Clifford/Fraser/Nolan. Nolan being the only one waiver exempt.
The scratches will likely be Richardson and Stewart (unless Williams is too sick to play tomorrow). Both would need to clear waivers in order to be sent to Manchester. With Richardson filling in for Penner yesterday and Williams today, it would appear his place on the roster is safe. That leaves, newcomer Stewart as the odd man out. That is, unless Dean Lombardi feels it necessary to keep Stewart simply as an asset and send Nolan down.
If you were Dean Lombardi, what would you do? Risk losing another player on waivers or mess with your Cup winning lineup?
HERE’S TODAYS KND PRACTICE VIDEO
Kings Practice – Willie Mitchell Skates! (1/18/13)
Kings Practice – Overview & Discussion #1 (1/18/13)
Kings Practice – Overview & Discussion #2 (1/18/13)
Kings Practice – Overview & Discussion #3 (1/18/13)
HERE ARE TODAYS POST-PRACTICE INTERVIEWS