Some stuff from this morning on the goalies, the roster situation and Dustin Brown
– Marc Crawford wouldn’t say who will start in goal Saturday night, and he seems to be getting slightly more irritated day to day by the questions, but I think he understands why they’re being asked. Anyway, he wouldn’t tip his hand for fear of giving Phoenix a competitive advantage. Here’s what he said:
Crawford: “When you’re talking about left-shot and right-shot goalies and different puck-handling abilities, those are things that a team will prepare for. I think it makes a big difference on how teams prepare. That’s what they pay (coaches) for, to make sure we take care of all those minute details.”
I appreciate Crawford’s point, but I don’t really get it. The lineup sheets are drawn up an hour before the game. How much surprise is there going to be? The Coyotes saw Garon five times last season and once already this season, and Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky was a teammate of Dan Cloutier, for goodness sake. This isn’t like recalling a Triple-A pitcher for a start two hours before a game. Anyway, if there was a line on it in Vegas, I’d bet Garon.
– With Jeff Cowan injured and Patrick O’Sullivan in the minors, the Kings have only one extra skater, but Crawford said they will not recall anyone from Manchester and that Alyn McCauley is likely one week away from returning. That means the return of big Raitis Ivanans to the lineup. McCauley, still recovering from knee surgery, has participated in full practices with the team all this week. He will accompany the team on its trip to Phoenix and Colorado but will not play.
– Has there been a better King over the last 10 days than Dustin Brown? He has really turned it up, with one goal, three assists and 17 shots on goal in his last four games. We’ve seen this before, because he tends to be a bit of a streaky player, but he’s being rewarded and seems to be thriving on a line with Michael Cammalleri and Anze Kopitar. Brown and Cammalleri have a history. They had a great season playing on the same line in Manchester during the lockout and they always seem to play well when paired together.
Brown: “I’m just feeling better and more confident in my game. ME and Cammy have played on and off together and that helps because we know how each other plays and thinks.”
It’s easy to see when Brown is on his game…he’s knocking people around, he’s causing havoc in front of the net and generating scoring chances and he’s not taking dumb penalties. Brown has taken only two penalties in his last seven games. And tomorrow is his 22nd birthday, so maybe he will have something in store for Phoenix.
– Jim Fox noted during practice that this will be the first time this season that the Kings have more rest than their opponents. The Kings are coming off two days off, while the Coyotes play at Anaheim tonight.
– This road trip can’t possibly go worse for the Kings than the last one…only because they were 0-4 on the last one. That was a brutal stretch, with five games in seven days and a time-zone change before each of the four road games. Crawford stayed silent about it at the time, but when reminded on Thursday, he called that stretch of scheduling “ridiculous” and “inexcusable.”
– Anze Kopitar lost a roommate and gained a locker when Patrick O’Sullivan left for Manchester. Kopitar and O’Sullivan had been sharing a place near the beach in the South Bay and on Thursday, Kopitar had his stuff moved to O’Sullivan’s old locker stall, the one next to Craig Conroy. That’s no coincidence, since Conroy is a respected veteran leader.