VANCOUVER, Canada — The panicked hue and cry from the Kings' fan base when defenseman Drew Doughty left Thursday's game in San Jose was almost like that bleak November night in Buffalo when goalie Jonathan Quick suffered a serious groin injury.
That's where the similarities end.
Quick immediately went home to Los Angeles and missed a substantial portion of the season. By contrast, Doughty, who appeared to injure his shoulder against the Sharks in the first period, continued on the trip with the team to Canada. Though the defenseman did not practice Friday, Kings Coach Darryl Sutter downplayed the severity of Doughty's injury. According to Sutter, it is not serious and he said Doughty could conceivably play against Vancouver on Saturday.
If it had been a more substantial injury, Doughty would have returned to Los Angeles immediately to see Kings' team doctors.
Defenseman Andrew Campbell is up from the Kings' American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H., as insurance if Doughty can't go. Campbell was expected to join the Kings in Vancouver on Friday night, officials said.
No matter the immediate impact, it makes sense for the Kings to proceed with caution since the playoffs are fast approaching. Already, the Kings sat another veteran defenseman, Willie Mitchell, against the Sharks, which was a back-to-back situation, and the night after they officially clinched a playoff spot.
Doughty's durability has been impressive. He suffered an ankle injury in the seven-game playoff series against the Sharks last year, played through it and also in the next round against the Blackhawks.
There might be even the slightest of silver linings. Doughty has had his off moments since the Olympic break ended, so sitting out could help him recharge his batteries before the playoffs.
Maybe the Kings would have rested him any way since they are locked into the third spot in the Pacific Division. In Chicago, injuries to stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are being considered as something of a blessing in disguise. Like Doughty, they have played plenty of hockey in the last 14 months. They are both scheduled to be ready for the opening of the playoffs as the Blackhawks begin their title defense.
The Kings were amused to see defenseman Slava Voynov get into it with Sharks captain Joe Thornton in a brief scrap. Defenseman Jake Muzzin joked Voynov was a "little angry Russian out there."
"Slava is one of those guys, once he gets going he really gets into the game," Jordan Nolan said. "He's a competitor. It's nice to see it come out of him."
Said Voynov: "That was nothing but hockey moment. Emotion."
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Etc.: Center Linden Vey was lent to Ontario of the East Coast Hockey League on Friday, but he is with the team in Vancouver. The transaction was essentially a paper move for salary cap reasons.