Dean Lombardi had overwhelming praise for the fact that Justin Williams even returned to play in the post-season, let alone how well he performed in game one. The Kings GM said ‘a lot of guys’ wouldn’t have played and risked further injury (at this stage of their career), opting instead to shut it down and just return the following season.
Coach Terry Murray had repeatedly said he was waiting for Williams to come and tell him that he was ready before he penciled him in. Once that happened, it was full steam ahead.
Williams played in all six games versus the Sharks and averaged more than 15 minutes of ice time in each contest.
Which brings us to Scott Parse.
He too was rumored to be ready – or at least close to ready – in the days leading up to the playoffs. He finally made his return in game five, playing 10 minutes. Afterwards, Murray said things like “I thought he played pretty well” and “I thought he stepped in and did a pretty decent job.”
So, what changed?
Murray was ready with his answer today when I started to ask “Scott Parse had his minutes cut…”
“He deserved it,” said the Kings coach. “I was upset about it. When the meetings I have it’s ‘I’m ready to go, I’m 100%, I want to contribute’ – you have to play then. You gotta go. The easiest job in hockey is to be the weak side forward in your own d-zone coverage.”
More later on the off-season rehab / surgery plans for both players.