Better times - Jeff Gross
The good news: Kopitar felt all right after skating in a knee brace. The bad news: Mitchell's recovery hasn't been going as planned.
On day two of training camp, more news on injuries is beginning to trickle out. Unfortunately, it turns out to be a mixed bag.
Kopitar skates after practice
Yesterday, Kopitar said that he had been rehabbing without pain. Today, he put on a knee brace and briefly went out on the ice.
So far, it looks positive. He tried out some pivots, a tough motion with an MCL sprain, and had this to say afterwards:
"I really didn't know what to expect," Kopitar said. "It felt good. We'll see how, day by day, how I progress. I wanted to get the turns in and the crossovers. I'm sure if you skate normal, straightforward, even at the higher speed. I don't think there's going to be any pain there.
"...There's a little bit discomfort. But to be honest I thought it would be a little worse than it was." -LA Times
It appears Kopitar's recovery is on track. If his recovery takes a third week, he might miss only four or five games.
Mitchell had a setback
We knew it couldn't be all sunshine and roses, right?
Surprise! It turns out that Willie Mitchell had surgery to remove cartilage in his knee almost seven weeks ago. Now, Sutter confesses, his recovery is taking longer than it was supposed to. He told Lisa Dillman that it should only have taken "a couple of weeks."
Lombardi had been cagey about Mitchell's injury timeframe before today. Instead of week-to-week, maybe we should say "out indefinitely." Yikes.
Let's talk replacements
The Kings may look to acquire another defenseman if Mitchell is out for a long time. While I'm excited that Martinez will get a chance to join Voynov on the second pair, Mitchell was also a stalwart on the PK, and whomever gets the nod to play with Greene won't have a wealth of experience. Even though the roster will be limited to 23, another veteran tough-minutes defenseman wouldn't hurt.
The question is, where could they find one? Many other teams are said to be on the hunt for better defensemen. Vancouver is even loading up on depth players of dubious quality like Cam Barker and Jim Vandermeer, possibly anticipating a rash of injuries during the shortened season.
There aren't many free agents still available, but check out this list to see a few options. Kubina, Clark, and Campoli are at the top.
Is Lombardi about to do a little more wheeling and dealing? Or will they need to stick with what they have?
For now, well...I'm hoping Thomas Hickey clears waivers.