As if it weren’t bad enough to surrender a 3-1 lead, the Kings now also have to grapple with potential injuries to two of their defensemen.
Drew Doughty played 9:25, all in the first period, and then didn’t return after suffering an upper body injury.
Doughty, obviously, is the driving force of the Kings blue line, and being without him is not the ideal scenario. But still: playing with five defensemen is doable.
And then Dion Phaneuf went back and forth down the tunnel in the second, and did not come back out for the third.
That left the Kings with just four defensemen: Jake Muzzin, Derek Forbort, Oscar Fantenberg, and the rookie Sean Walker. Muzzin had one of the better games of his career as he logged 30:35 in ice time and — well, let’s be honest. At this point in the season, a fantastic game by Jake Muzzin is mostly going to be great for Rob Blake if he decides to trade Muzzin.
But still: a fantastic effort from one of the Kings less heralded blueliners.
Both players are currently day-to-day, although that timeline is pushing it given that the Kings play again tomorrow night.
The Kings only have one extra defenseman right now, Paul LaDue, so if Doughty and Phaneuf both can’t go on Thursday, they’re either going to have to play with a short bench, or do a quick recall from Ontario.
In case you’re looking ahead for the latter, the blue line in Ontario doesn’t offer many intriguing options. Kurtis MacDermid has NHL experience, but for a team that needs to get faster and more skilled, he’s not the right choice. Alex Lintuniemi has put together a fine, but unremarkable, career in the AHL and has never gotten a look at the next level. Daniel Brickley is a promising signing but has struggled so far this season. Matt Roy’s fine, I guess. Kale Clague and Chaz Reddekopp are both not ready for the NHL yet.
If you, too are concerned about the state of the defense, this is who's left in Ontario. pic.twitter.com/60X3kqOhlG— Jewels from the Crown (@JFTC_Kings) December 12, 2018
So, tl;dr: y’all better hope Doughty and Phaneuf are both ready to go tomorrow.
A look back at yesterday’s moral victory. [Jewels from the Crown]
And a view from the other side of the ice. [Die By The Blade]
Quick post-game hits, including quotes from Willie Desjardins, Jake Muzzin, and Cal Petersen. [Kings Insider]
Jordan Samuels-Thomas breaks down Anze Kopitar’s recent play to try to understand why he’s struggling this year. [The Athletic]
Trade rumors abound, and Jeff Carter’s one of the big names that keeps floating around out there. [The Athletic]
A look ahead to our next Kings prospects report:
Writing latest piece on @LAKings prospects for @JFTC_Kings and came across some @AkilThomas2 sorcery:— Matt Pelkey (@MPelkey) December 12, 2018
- 9th in OHL in pts/g (38 pts in 24 GP) w/ +22 rating
- Better pts/g avg than 8 of the 10 fwds from OHL w/ Canada World Jrs invite
Crazy this kid is not there getting a look!
Relatives of Kings Things
The Iafallo family and friends came out in a big way to support him in his return to “home” ice.
In case you didn’t know, Alex Iafallo is kind of a big deal in Buffalo, NY. pic.twitter.com/xUuq9vUNSH— LA Kings (@LAKings) December 12, 2018
The first intermission saw some time spent with Julianna Iafallo, Alex’s younger sister. Julianna is also a professional hockey player, in her first pro season with the Buffalo Beauts. She has three goals and one assist over seven games and scored the Beauts’ opening goal in their recent teddy bear toss game.
"Honestly, with the white jerseys, the tan is crazy. At first, I didn't [recognize him], especially with the beard."— LA Kings (@LAKings) December 12, 2018
- @juls_iafallo on seeing her brother warming up tonight pic.twitter.com/xzBhfsWqD7
Elsewhere in the World
Humboldt Broncos crash survivor Ryan Straschnitzki was involved in another bus crash. While ultimately everything turned out okay, what a terrifying moment for Straschnitzki and his family. [CBC]
The Calgary Hitmen break their own record in their always epic teddy bear toss night. [NHL on NBC]
The Minnesota Whitecaps have been scary good this season. [The Ice Garden]
A look behind the scenes as Penn State’s men’s hockey team prepared for a big matchup against Notre Dame. [StateCollege.com]
Former Nashville Predator Cody Hodgson opens up about the genetic disorder that ended his NHL career. [The Athletic]
Too much Marc-Andre Fleury can be a bad thing. [Knights on Ice]
Looking ahead to the next expansion draft, have GMs learned their lessons after handing Vegas a really good team? [AP News]
If you want to see another powerhouse-gone-wrong, you can tune into the Chicago Blackhawks/Pittsburgh Penguins game tonight. The hockey won’t be good, but you’ll get to see Tanner Pearson, and given Chicago’s record as of late, he’ll probably score a goal. That one starts at 5:00 PM on NBCSN. I can’t recommend watching Chicago play, but you can press your fingertips gently to the screen when Pearson is inevitably shown doing something good, and whisper, “my boy, my boy, I miss you,” and hope he hears you, thousands of miles away.