San Jose Sharks winger Raffi Torres’ hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for his hit on Kings center Jarret Stoll on Tuesday has ended, but the league is not expected to announce its verdict until later Thursday.
The announcement probably will be made before Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinal series between the Kings and Sharks is played Thursday night at Staples Center. The Kings won the opener, 2-0, but lost Stoll late in the second period to a suspected concussion that is likely to keep him out a week or more.
Stoll did not participate in the Kings’ morning skate Thursday. Brad Richardson took Stoll’s place between left wing Dustin Penner and right wing Trevor Lewis. Coach Darryl Sutter said Lewis, as a natural center who is right-handed, could take some draws when the situation calls for a right-handed shooter.
“He may not be a top-two-line guy for us but he’s got a lot of fingerprints all over the game every time we have one,” defenseman Rob Scuderi said, a good summation.
“He takes faceoffs, he’s on the penalty kill, he’s on the power play and key faceoffs, at the end of the game when maybe we need a goal or we don’t, he does all those things. So he’s got a lot of fingerprints on top of a hockey game and we’re going to miss him.”
The Kings didn’t have to make many lineup changes during their Stanley Cup run last season -- they used the same six defensemen in all 20 games -- but they’ve already had to adjust on the fly this time. Stoll’s absence will test them in many ways, since he was one of their top faceoff guys and among their most physical forwards.
“It takes a team to win a championship and we certainly have top-flight guys and they have to play at a top level for us to have a chance,” Scuderi said. “But even the guys like myself, good role players, you have to be able to do your part so the other guys can do theirs. And I guess we’re just going to flat-out miss him.”
Richardson replacing Stoll looked to be the only lineup change for the Kings based on their configurations in the morning skate. That meant no Kyle Clifford (undisclosed injury) or Matt Greene.
The Sharks will juggle their lines without Torres, who was suspended by the league pending his hearing.
Based on their lines in their morning skate on Thursday, Tim Kennedy—who was scratched from the lineup in Game 1—will center the fourth line in Game 2 with Andrew Desjardins and Bracken Kearns as his wingers. Joe Pavelski moved from center to right wing, with Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture.
“We discussed a lot of different options, and I don’t know if this is written in stone by any means,” Sharks Coach Todd McLellan said. “We’ve got to start somewhere and see where it goes.”
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