All things considered, the Kings have been pretty transparent with injuries of late. There wasn’t a lot of the mysterious ‘lower (or upper) body injury’ stuff from several months ago.
Then again, it’s hard to mask Anze Kopitar‘s leg injury when it played out live inside Staples Center and at home on television. Just about every hockey fan has seen the clip by this point.
That being said, GM Dean Lombardi did have some updates on several players during his post-season recap yesterday…
On Justin Williams – “Obviously, there’s an issue there. But, it’s kind of going to be a player thing (decision). I forget the exact percentage – he can get it 90% back, I think he had it 80% back, in terms of being able to go out there and play. But, the issue is obviously the long term effect. This is one you have to be careful of because this isn’t one – like with Parse’s hip, where you’re like ‘OK, you have to have it done’ – this is one where you have to make a decision. Do you want to go through this (the surgery)? It will set you back three months, but your shoulder is going to be as good as new. It’s one of those decisions where it’s more about his long-term benefit than being ready for training camp.”
He went on to talk about how great Williams played when he came back in the playoffs – specifically saying he was “outstanding” in the first game, partially because of adrenaline. He also said he almost got the sense the Sharks were “targeting him” later in the series.
Regarding the fact he came back at all – “I love the kid for it. A lot of guys wouldn’t have played, at their stage of their career. They’d say ‘I’m not going to dare risk this.’ But, he did everything possible to get it up to 80% and go out there.”
On Andrei Loktionov – “Loktionov is huge. We need to work on his strength and we have to just get him back to normal. That was a huge loss.”
On Brayden Schenn – “Schenner’s getting his knee checked out. I don’t think there’s anything major there.”
On Scott Parse – “Without getting into a big thing, remember, this all started with the groin. And it’s connected to the hip. You’re seeing this surgery more and more, mostly with the goalies. Our concern is, first off, to get him through this. Give him credit for trying to play out there. Similar to Williams, he was pretty good in his first game back. Then, second game, he (coach Murray) ended up having to bench him. The issue is whether it connects over here now (pointing to his groin and hip areas). That’s a tough injury now. It’s the new, remember like 10 years ago everything was the sports hernia? Now, everybody’s talking about the new one is this hip stuff. So, we’ll see where he’s at. But, it’s like Williams – it’s more about ‘What do you want to do with you career?’ than an immediate concern. But, it’s just so frustrating because again, you talk about our skill level and that’s what we have to address.”
And then it happened…more talk of Parse being one of the most skilled guys on the team. You may remember there was quite a bit of chatter coming out of HockeyFest last year when he called Parse ‘one of our top-3 skilled players.’
Here he said – “He’s one of the most skilled guys and he hadn’t had a chance. This was the year we were going to put him on the top line and let’s just see what you can do. Boy, it’s been frustrating – to get him out there and see what he can do. At times, you see the flashes. Even in San Jose, on his first shift, he makes that little crisscross pass and you go ‘Oh, there it is.’ So, he’s a tough one.”