Anze Kopitar’s head injury may not be serious; he could play Thursday for Kings
It was a Tuesday night filled with bad news at every turn in the span of a few hours.
Three hockey players, three injuries. But they ranged widely in severity.
Luckily for the Kings, Anze Kopitar’s head injury seems to be the least serious. The center took the butt end of a stick in the face from the Blues’ Ryan Reaves, was bleeding from the mouth and missed the final two periods in St. Louis. Kopitar could be back in the lineup soon, perhaps as early as Thursday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Staples Center. Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said, via email on Wednesday afternoon, that Kopitar is day-to-day.
Connor McDavid and Chris Kelly were not so lucky.
McDavid, the Edmonton Oilers’ young star in the making, suffered a broken left clavicle and could be out for “months,” according to team officials. Kelly, a member of the Boston Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup-winning team, will miss anywhere from six to eight months because of a broken leg.
The Kings, who have won eight of their last nine games, are coming off a split from their two-game trip to the Midwest, finishing by beating St. Louis, 3-0. All but two of the players stayed off the ice Wednesday and took part in off-ice workouts at their practice facility in El Segundo, including Kopitar.
Caution is obviously the byword with Kopitar, who has led the Kings in scoring the last eight seasons. Kopitar was not available for comment at the rink on Wednesday. Sutter did note that Kopitar felt “good” Wednesday but added that they would see how he was feeling Thursday morning before making a decision.
Reaves escaped with minimal punishment. He was fined $3,024.10 Wednesday by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for roughing. That sum is the maximum allowable fine under terms of the collective bargaining agreement.
Kopitar was injured in the opening period against St. Louis in front of the Blues’ net as Reaves’ stick caught the center in the face with about 7:40 remaining. Kopitar skated slowly off the ice and the team trainer attended to him on the bench. Sutter told reporters afterward that the team observed the league-mandated concussion protocol, which is carried out after hits to the head.
KINGS VS. COLUMBUS
When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. PDT.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 790.
Update: “The Torts Effect.” Columbus has tightened its defense under new Coach John Tortorella. In six games with Tortorella, the Blue Jackets’ goal-against average is 2.33. Before his arrival, it was 4.86.
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