If Jack Campbell had it his way, he would have put a brace on his knee and soldiered on in net for the Kings.
That was his initial thinking when he tore the meniscus in his knee in a Nov. 10 game against the Calgary Flames. The Kings nixed that idea and opted for surgery, but it showed Campbell’s stubborn passion to keep the net.
“Just whatever I had to do to help the team, but obviously management felt it was best to take care of it right away for the long term,” Campbell said. “With Cal [Petersen] and [Peter Budaj] and [Jonathan Quick] coming back, they played amazing, so it was great to see that and it definitely helped being out, seeing success with the goalies. It was really tough to not be out there, at least practicing with the guys.”
Campbell’s long wait ended Monday when he was recalled before the Kings played a New Year’s Eve game against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center. As expected, the Kings re-assigned Petersen, so Campbell will resume his backup job to Quick.
“It’s such a good feeling,” Campbell said. “It’s been so long. I missed it.”
Campbell and Quick coincidentally suffered the same injury. Campbell’s happened on a fluke play when teammate Nate Thompson was pushed into him.
Campbell said that Thompson doesn’t owe him dinner, though.
“He was defending me,” Campbell said. “I owe him dinner for going so hard into the blue paint and helping me out.”
Dion Phaneuf is expected to return after a seven-game absence caused by a fall into the boards with Buffalo Sabres forward Evan Rodrigues.
“I had a good couple of practices to get my feet back underneath me, and tonight I’ll be ready to go,” Phaneuf said.
The Kings did not do line rushes at their morning skate. Coach Willie Desjardins said that Adrian Kempe might go back to center after Kempe played wing with Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli.