The Kings have been off for 11 days, but they could be missing a major player when they resume their season Saturday night.
Anze Kopitar is ill and missed the morning skate at Nassau Coliseum. He is expected to be a game-time decision when the Kings play the New York Islanders, although coach Willie Desjardins sounded optimistic.
“Let’s see how he makes out here, and hopefully everything’s good and it’s just quick,” Desjardins said.
Kopitar came down ill after Friday’s practice, Desjardins said. The team is without Nate Thompson because of the flu, so there could be a bug going around.
“That’s a bit of a concern,” Desjardins said. “The good thing was Nate wasn’t a long one. We’re hoping Kopi’s will be fairly quick as well.”
If Kopitar can’t play, Desjardins said he could have Alex Iafallo play center with Dustin Brown and Kyle Clifford on the top line. That trio skated together in the morning practice, with no change to the second and third lines.
Austin Wagner, Michael Amadio and Matt Luff skated as the fourth line. Amadio has not played with the Kings since Dec. 29.
Jonathan Quick was the first goalie off the ice and is expected to start.
LaDue gets a chance
This will be the Kings’ first game without defenseman Jake Muzzin, who was traded to Toronto on Monday, and it appears Paul LaDue is getting a look to fill that void.
LaDue skated with Dion Phaneuf in the third pairing and would play in consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 27-29.
“Obviously, it’s terrible seeing a teammate go like that,” LaDue said. “He was a great leader for me and a great teammate too. He helped me out a lot, especially the last couple of years.
“There’s an opportunity. Now, there’s a spot to fill. We’ve got a lot of young defensemen out here, and we think that’s going to make us better, the competition. I’m excited. Nothing’s given to me. I still have to earn a spot. But I felt good last game, and I just want to keep it going from there.”