One of the key players in the often-fascinating rivalry between the Phoenix Coyotes and the Los Angeles Kings could be missing Thursday night's game at Staples Center.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan is out with a lower-body injury and did not play in the victory against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night. However he is making the trip to Los Angeles and will be a game-time decision against the Kings.
The Coyotes "looked fine last night," Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said Wednesday. "...If you lose a guy for a couple of games, that's the way it is, it's no big deal. That's the way it works. If you lose guys for an extended period of time, then you're concerned. The guy that went out is feeling really bad because he's not playing.
"But there are two or three guys ... moaning because they're not out [there]. So if they get an opportunity, it's either sink or swim."
Said Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell: "He's definitely their leader. He's a bit of their identity. He's big ... and strong on the puck and competes. But I always say when you lose a player like that, short term, it usually helps a team, in my opinion.
"The old wounded dog thing, right?
"The longer term if a guy like that is out, then you show how you miss a player like that. I always think in the short term it helps motivate people."
Speaking of motivation, Sutter got off a good line when he was asked about the Lars Eller controversy. The Montreal forward compared the Edmonton Oilers to a junior team and on Wednesday, he apologized, through reporters, for his "poor choice of words."
Oilers Coach Dallas Eakins used those words to motivate his team.
Sutter, on Wednesday, was asked if he ever used bulletin-board material for motivation.
"Not very often," Sutter said. "You've got exposure to everything you want. Why do I have to get it for 'em? You can’t just go buy the Chicago Tribune, right? You’ve pretty much got whatever you want now."
Meanwhile, he also talked about the lack of goals from his centers.
"Our centermen have over 10 games in -- I bet in the history of the game there's no team that's gone 6-4 and their centermen haven't scored a goal yet," Sutter said. "In the history of the game."
Anything you can do to address that?
"I can't play center," Sutter said.
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