The recent adventures of Jordan Weal have been nothing short of perplexing. After once again being among the leading goal scorers for the Manchester Monarchs, and often nights their most consistent player, the Kings recalled their 2010 third round draft pick late last week, with the general assumption that he would make his NHL debut in the team’s regular season finale at Staples Center last Saturday.
Not so fast, though. He did take part in pregame warm-ups, but was a healthy scratch come game time. Why fly a player 3,000 miles across the country and then put him in the press box?
“Well, we were going to play [Andy] Andreoff, then we had a guy or two knocked up, so we wanted to make sure,” began GM Dean Lombardi, when asked about it during his end-of-season meeting with the media last Sunday. “On the one hand, you’d like to see him play, on the other hand, you still have to have the motivation to try and win.”
Weal’s tumultuous season also included a blocked call up earlier in the season, when the Kings wanted to bring him up from the AHL, but didn’t have enough room under the salary cap. He shared thoughts with MayorsManor here regarding that experience.
Then, after Friday’s game in Manchester, he spoke with us about everything that has happened in the past few days…
On being called up:
“It was great. Got to go up there in the sunshine and hang out for a bit. It was a great game and I got to see some guys I haven’t seen in a while. My family came down as well, it was great I got to see them. It was a nice weekend.”
On if there was any indication he would be playing when he got called up:
“I don’t know. I thought I was going to go in, but it turned out that they wanted to get a couple guys in that had been up there all year. That’s fine with me. It was a great experience and I was glad I got to get up for a game.”
On if Coach Sutter explained why he didn’t play:
“Yeah he had a few reasons. He just said ‘you’ve been doing a great job down there. Keep doing what you’re doing and hopefully you guys can go on a little run.’ I totally agreed with him, it was a good talk. It was great to get up there for a bit.”
On if there’s been frustration with being called up this year:
“Yeah, stuff happens you know. It’s out of my control completely. You can’t really linger on it too much. You just got to go with it. We’ve got a big couple of games here coming up to finish the year off. I’m looking forward to getting back and working with the boys.”
On getting the win in Manchester tonight:
“It was good. I haven’t played a game in a while and I was a little curious to see how I felt personally. I felt alright. The guys were battling. There are some guys that haven’t got to play a lot recently and were grinding it out and playing well. That’s what we need. We need everybody going because the playoffs, with injuries and stuff, you never know what could happen.”
On if the layoff helped his game or not (he recorded two assists and was the No. 2 star of the game):
“Felt a little more refreshed, not going to lie. It was definitely nice to get a little rest. I’ve been playing a lot of hockey the last couple years and it was nice to get a little break. But it’s good to get back into it and to get ready for the playoffs we got coming up here.”
On the expectation that Nick Shore will be coming back to Manchester very soon:
“That’d be good. That’d be really good. In playoffs, centermen are such a big part of the game, winning draws and controlling the pace. If we got him it’d just make the team deeper and more of a threat.”
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