Goalie LaBarbera says he plans to start tonight

Times Staff Writer

His succinct reply -- all three letters of it -- was probably the best information to surface at the Kings’ practice facility Sunday at El Segundo.


“Yep,” said Kings goalie Jason LaBarbera, who has been nursing a lingering rib injury.

He expects to start tonight against Colorado, and barring a setback or change of heart after the morning skate, LaBarbera would return to action against the man who put him out of action Dec. 1, Avalanche forward Ryan Smyth.

“It’s interesting,” LaBarbera said. “On the ice, it’s not too bad when I get warmed up, I don’t feel it as much. Off the ice, it’s miserable.


“Once you get into the adrenaline of a game, you don’t think about it too much. There’s a few times in practice, a straight-on shot, you kind of feel it.”

His teammates are planning a bit of extra scrutiny for Smyth.

“If there’s going to be a chance to finish a check -- everybody’s going to take the chance to finish,” said Dustin Brown.

Said Jack Johnson: “Definitely guys are not happy with him. So guys are going to play him harder, and be a little bit more alert around our goalie.”

LaBarbera appreciates the protection . . . within reason.

“As long as we don’t take penalties doing it,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing. You obviously have to stand up for your teammates, it’s all part of the game.”

The other injured King, forward Ladislav Nagy, skated for the first time since suffering a hip flexor in the first period against Buffalo on Dec. 6.

Nagy, who has missed five games, said the injury was “a little bit my fault” because he kept playing against the Sabres and couldn’t skate by the third period. He said the leg is still sore.


“Tough to say when I may be back. When I pushed a little harder, it still bothers me,” Nagy said.


vs. Colorado, 7:30, FSN West

Radio -- 1150.

Site -- Staples Center

Records -- Kings 12-19-2, Avalanche 18-13-1.

Record vs. Avalanche -- 0-1.

Update -- Colorado hasn’t won consecutive road games since late October, and the Kings have not won consecutive games, period, in about that same time frame. Captain Joe Sakic, limited to 24 games because of a groin injury, is expected to miss tonight’s game, which would be his ninth straight out of the Colorado lineup. Ryan Smyth has 10 goals and 27 points in 32 games for the Avalanche.