The state of the (injured) Kings …
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter, like most of his colleagues in the NHL, is often reluctant to discuss the specifics of injuries. Fresh off another overtime effort — a 3-2 victory against Pittsburgh — Sutter provided the latest update Friday about his injured players.
And there are many.
He put forwards Marian Gaborik (broken foot) and Andy Andreoff (upper-body injury) and defenseman Brayden McNabb (collarbone) in a similar grouping, pointing to a return in December. Gaborik, who was injured during the World Cup of Hockey, is on schedule, according to Sutter. He also said that McNabb had a plate put in his collarbone, indicating a small fracture.
“I’ll just make it really clear,” Sutter said. “Those guys — Andy, Brady, Gabby — they’ll all December guys … so that’s a four-week span there. You know that’s how far out they are.
“They’re still a minimum of four weeks away, so four-to-six or four-to-seven weeks. Obviously [Jeff Zatkoff] is day-to-day and Quickie [goaltender Jonathan Quick] is month-to-month. So that’s exactly what I’ve got.”
There has been improvement with Zatkoff, who injured his groin during the morning skate on Oct. 22. Sutter said the goalie would travel with the team on its next trip, which starts Tuesday at Toronto. First, the Kings play host to Calgary on Saturday.
“There was even the possibility that we would use him tomorrow as a backup, but with [the minor-league team] Ontario playing in Tucson and Anders [Lindback] going there yesterday, it gives him a couple more days,” Sutter said of Zatkoff.
Zatkoff, who was with the Penguins last season, received his Stanley Cup ring shortly before the Kings-Pittsburgh game Thursday night. He was thrilled to receive it and said it was a “final straw to turn the page.”
“They obviously didn’t slack on the ring at all,” Zatkoff said. “I had seen the rings when the guys had gotten ’em earlier in the year, so I was anxious to get mine. I knew they were going to bring it out here. You’re excited to see it. Then you get it and you put it in a safe and it just hangs out.”
Zatkoff’s contribution to their Cup playoff run last spring also was remembered by a nickname from his then-Penguins teammates and coach Mike Sullivan. They called him Mr. Game 1.
“I’m sure they were joking around because I played Game 1 and I won,” Zatkoff said, of the first-round series against the New York Rangers. “Then we lost the next two Game 1s, and so I told Sully before the Finals, I was available for Game 1 if he needed me. It kind of went from there. So it was just a joke, a fun thing.”
Kings defenseman Tom Gilbert spoke for the first time since receiving a three-game suspension from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for a boarding hit against Ducks forward Nick Ritchie.
There was no penalty assessed on the play in Tuesday’s game between the Kings and Ducks. Gilbert’s only history with disciplinary action was a fine, back in his days with the Edmonton Oilers. He is eligible to return to the lineup next week at Montreal.
“Not a whole lot to say. Yeah I’m surprised it was three,” Gilbert said. “It [stinks]. Obviously, with the whole thing, my intent was not to injure anybody, but unfortunately that’s what happened. I don’t like seeing that in the game at all. It’s unfortunate that it happened, but I think that’s it.”
When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
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Update: Calgary forward Kris Versteeg, who played 14 games with the Kings last season, sustained a lower-body injury Thursday at San Jose. The Flames announced that Versteeg had returned to Calgary for evaluation. It appears goalie Brian Elliott will get the start against the Kings.
Follow Lisa Dillman on Twitter @reallisa