One player could be coming back. Another could be out of action.
Yes, it was another lively morning and afternoon for the Los Angeles Kings. Right wing Justin Williams, who escaped suffering a serious eye injury in Dallas and missed one game, indicated he was ready to return Saturday.
Separately, defenseman Robyn Regehr left Friday's practice early and is considered questionable because of an unspecified injury, according to Kings GM Dean Lombardi. Lombardi spent the morning scrambling and making his case for cap relief on a conference call with the league. It was understood to be unsuccessful.
Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, indefinitely suspended by the NHL, is still getting paid and counts against the cap. Of late, the Kings have come up against cap problems, most notably when they played one man short against Philadelphia. The best minor-league options to replace Regehr would not fit under the salary cap.
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter was his usual stoic self about the prospect of playing with five defensemen, rather than six.
"I don't really think about it that much," Sutter said. "A lot of teams play four [defensemen]. It has no bearing on anything ... I don't get too caught up in any of that stuff. We just went through that a week ago. You get the same answer — been through it."
Meanwhile, Williams practiced and reported that his right eye was significantly better. He said he thought he could play but would consult with Sutter.
"It was exactly like the doctor said, she said the next couple of days, it should get all better, and it did," Williams said.
He told an amusing story about the reaction from his son, Jaxon, who is 6 years old.
"Jaxon was actually watching [the game] a little bit," Williams said. "He was worried I'd have to wear an eye patch. He was just asking if I was going to be able to play hockey, asking his mom. He was OK. The next morning, he kept looking at me, losing his train of thought. He'd stare at me for a couple of seconds."