The 2013 season starts in 10-14 days. Camp starts in less than a week, I suppose. Anze Kopitar and Willie Mitchell sound like they’re out with knee injuries for at least a few weeks. Tyler Toffoli has been tearing up the AHL. Jonathan Quick either has just been cleared to play (surgery, remember?) or is “seeking” clearance. Jordan Nolan is, if I’m reading the box scores correctly, back from his hand injury. Alec Martinez’s face is healed enough for him to be playing again. Andrei Loktionov didn’t get his name on the cup. David Courtney is dead, which will make the opening night festivities seem “off” no matter what happens. I wonder if the Kings will do what the Clippers did and use a recording of Courtney to introduce the starting line-up. That would be nice.
Anyway, opening night. Who will it be? My guess:
Alec Martinez – Drew Doughty
Jonathan Quick/Jonathan Bernier
IR: Kopitar, Mitchell
- The premise of the line-up above is that Jeff Carter (a natural center) replaces Kopitar on the first line and Gagne takes Carter’s place on the second line.
- Martinez replaces Mitchell, and Muzzin is recalled to play with Matt Greene on the third pair.
- There are some interesting alternative possibilities, though. Thomas Hickey has been playing very well in Manchester (and his stats are nearly identical to Muzzin’s). I would kind of love to see him get some action with Mitchell out. I can see him playing really well with Greene, and I have this fantasy that Hickey/Doughty could actually be an awesome pair (though I understand I’m dreaming at this point). Hickey has put in his time, and we know Lombardi loves to reward “seniority” and all that loyalty stuff which I used to believe from Lombardi until he LEFT LOKTIONOV’S NAME OFF THE CUP. (Sorry.)
- I was thinking for a minute that Gagne could play with Stoll and Lewis, in which case Toffoli could be recalled to play on Richards’ RW. If that happened, one of King or Nolan would have to stay in Manchester (or else one of Clifford, Westgarth or Richardson would have to be let go). Really, I don’t think we’ll see Toffoli until the slew of groin injuries that are inevitable with all these out of shape forwards being thrown into action so quickly, in a compressed schedule no less.
- With Quick coming off injury and a short to non-existent training camp coming, I expect Bernier to get many more starts (relatively).