Matt Greene's veteran presence has been missed ever since he was injured in the Kings' home opener. The alternate captain had surgery for a herniated disc in January, began skating at the end of March, and is finally close to returning to the lineup.
Lets try that again , recap: Greene cleared for contact - will go with team to San Jose. Obv not ready to play— lisa dillman (@reallisa) April 15, 2013
It looks like Greene is still on track for his projected return date of late April.
Dillman also speculated that Greene might return as early as Sunday, but called it only a guess. Darryl Sutter likes all players who are cleared for practice to travel with the team, which explains his inclusion in the trip to San Jose.
Having Greene get a few games in before the playoffs would be ideal, but the Kings are also taking things slowly and trying to avoid a setback. After tomorrow's game against the Sharks, there are only five regular season games left:
- Thursday, April 16th (vs. Columbus)
- Sunday, April 21st (vs. Dallas)
- Tuesday, April 23rd (vs. Minnesota)
- Wednesday, April 24th (vs. Detroit)
- Saturday, April 27 (vs. San Jose)
For their Cup run last year, the Kings had Martinez-Greene as their third pairing -- and remarkably, those two had a positive scoring chance differential in the Final. The current duo of Jake Muzzin and Keaton Ellerby isn't anywhere near as effective or experienced, so I'm eager to see Greene return. He is also usually one of their top penalty killers.
The big question is how long it will take for Greene to come back to top form. If he can be effective right out of the gate, that would be a boost to their chances in the playoffs -- but how realistic is that to expect? Physicality is a huge part of Greene's game. Last year, defenseman Andrej Meszaros returned from herniated disc surgery right to playoff action--but it's tough to tell how well he held up, since Philadelphia was eliminated in his first game back.
Question of the Day:
Is Muzzin the right partner for Greene, or would you like to see the return of Alec Martinez, who has a track record of playing well with him?