The longstanding cat and mouse game between NHL coaches and media continues. As noted repeatedly, any lineup projection — this season especially — is indeed just that, a projection based upon available information.
No doubt, though, the ability to keep up with said info in real-time has been increasingly difficult for all in 2021. McLellan has noted quite frequently that his lineup decisions have occasionally needed to change in those hours between morning skate and pre-game warmups.
We’ll cut to the chase here. Yesterday was an off day for the Kings. And nothing new was able to be gleaned from the way McLellan arranged things this morning. Perhaps he’ll shed a little light on the situation during his upcoming media availability.
Until then, we’ll assume the goalie rotation stays in tact, meaning Cal Petersen will get the start in net. Beyond that… well, for the first time in what feels like forever, there hasn’t been any taxi squad movement in about 48 hours. So there’s that.
LA Kings projected lineup vs. San Jose Sharks
Iafallo – Kopitar – Brown
Grundstrom – JAD – Moore
Athanasiou – Kempe – Carter *
Vilardi – Lizotte – Wagner *
* Alternate Option:
Vilardi – Kempe – Carter
Athanasiou – Lizotte – Luff / Wagner
Anderson – Doughty
Bjornfot – Roy
MacDermid – Walker
Other players available:
Martin Frk (IR)
The taxi squad is currently comprised of Michael Amadio, Daniel Brickley, Drake Rymsha, and Troy Grosenick
NOTE: Following the Kings media availability this morning, we’ll add a few relevant quotes to this article.
McLellan on Olli Maatta being out injured
He’s probably gonna be out for another ten days, at least.
On his previous comments that Vilardi needed to impact the game more and his recent move to wing
I think he’s had two of his better games the last couple nights – playing on the wing, winning some face-offs, and being involved in the offense there. He still has responsibility on the power play. He’s shot the puck more and got it to the net a lot more in the last two nights, since he’s gone to the wing. Let’s let him feel comfortable there and then we’ll move him around as we need.
On the Anderson-Dolan line getting more minutes, yet seeing a drop in production
When it comes to numbers, the pace that they were at was unsustainable really, when you think about it. They would be in the Pastrnak-Bergeron level, like McDavid-Draisaitl. Our players are really good players, but they’re not at that level yet. They still play with an overabundance of energy. Their forecheck is strong. The other night, we had played three games in four nights and they played a lot of minutes, in different situations; all three of them. They’re adapting to that, as well. The more they play, the better they play. The more minutes they get, the more they have to adapt and get used to it. Your body can get trained, your mind can get trained to play ten [minutes]. Then, all of a sudden, you’re playing 14 or 15, it makes a world a difference. But they’re doing good things and we expect them to continue to play with that tenacity and energy that they have. Forecheck has to be a big part of their game to keep the plays alive, and then be responsible defensively.
On the officiating controversy from yesterday and his experience with makeup calls
The officials that we have, there’s probably no better officials than what we have in the NHL in comparison to any other sport. I’m not discrediting any other sport. They officiate a very fast game they manage it very well. Our staff, our players, our organization have a tremendous amount of respect for them. They have a tough job to do. I don’t feel ever slighted in any of my games, from the officials trying to sway it one way or the other. By no means have I ever felt that.
On if he’s started to do the math yet regarding how many points the Kings need to qualify for the playoffs with just 25 games remaining in the regular season
No. We map out what we’re doing today. The furthest we’ll get ahead is what we’re doing on these upcoming four days off, just to plan and get set. We’re a team that has to live in the present. With that being said, the players are so aware of everything right now. Not just our team, but players in general. They know where we are in the standings. They know what we have left to play, who we have to play. They’re aware, but we’re not posting it and we’re not using it as a motivator. We have to stay in the present. We have to worry about these three periods against San Jose tonight. Tomorrow, we can look at the standings if we want. But we’re just gonna have to win games if we want to get closer to it.
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