Kings center Anze Kopitar to the rescue … or something like that.
Kopitar pronounced himself good to go for Tuesday night’s game at Colorado, the first stop of a three-game trip for the Kings. He suffered a sprained right knee a little more than two weeks ago playing in Sweden during the lockout.
He has resumed practicing with contact and went through Monday’s session without any obvious issues. Kopitar noted it was difficult to be sidelined for Saturday’s season-opener against the Blackhawks, a 5-2 loss.
“It was not the most fun experience in my life,” Kopitar said.
He was able to skate on the ice during the pregame ceremony in which the Stanley Cup banner was raised and the players received their rings.
“It was hard to skate off the ice. I was actually joking around with my trainer, if I just stay off on the bench they’re not going to drag me off the ice,” Kopitar said, smiling. “But it was a smart decision and I’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
Just as the Kings were receiving positive news on the injury front – defenseman Willie Mitchell (knee) was able to take part in his first full practice with his teammate and will go on the trip – they were awaiting word on another new injury.
Stay-at-home defenseman Matt Greene missed practice and was having his injury, suffered in Saturday’s game, evaluated by the doctor.
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter called it a “mid-body injury,” and Greene is considered doubtful against the Avalanche. Sutter made a point of saying that Greene was one of the guys that “played hard for us” against Chicago.
That meant Sutter was going someplace with that thought and he got there a few minutes later.
“Hopefully our first and second lines give us some quality minutes instead of just playing them,” Sutter said. “It was basically just wasting time the other night.”
Then he later returned to that theme and added his own Sutter-ism.
“We had a lot of guys that struggled,” he said. “I have heard all this stuff about bringing your own team back and all that sexy rah-rah.
“The problem is that we’re not the same team. We’re a different team. Goaltenders are probably the most important guys that haven’t played for a long time. That’s interesting thing. We need Jonathan [Quick] to move on in a hurry, that’s for sure.”