Some stuff from the early afternoon in El Segundo…
– Brent Sopel didn’t practice today but he’s expected to play tomorrow against San Jose. It’s generally our policy not to talk specifically about player injuries unless they’re serious enough to keep players out of the lineup. Sopel missed practice with a minor injury and he’s been playing all season with a more serious one. Anyone who saw Sopel today would know instantly what both injuries are, so it’s no mystery. The Kings’ policy is to have only Marc Crawford talk about injuries, but Sopel spoke openly and honestly about his issues and somehow the earth kept revolving around the sun. Imagine that.
– Derek Armstrong, out with a shoulder injury, didn’t participate in the full-team practice but did go out for some non-contact drills with a smaller group after practice, so he will probably be back when his time on IR is finished.
– It’s been a slow start for Rob Blake this season, but it’s worth noting that Blake had a plus-1 rating against Colorado. He also had the second assist on the two most critical goals of the game, Sean Avery’s second-period shorthanded goal and Avery’s third-period power-play goal. Blake has taken some heat this season, and rightfully so, but he also had a slow start last season and rounded into form. Maybe this is more of the same?
– The question is simple, but according to captain Mattias Norstrom, there’s no simple answer. How do the Kings avoid the highs and lows and turn in a more consistent effort on a nightly basis? Norstrom said. “It’s not a smooth road, and it shouldn’t be. It it was one thing (that needed to be fixed) we would have done that a lot of games ago. I can’t give you one good answer. Like I said before, you have to learn how to win and the only way to do that is to win.”
– Now who’s the answer in goal? Mathieu Garon got pulled against Phoenix and Dan Cloutier beat Colorado but nearly coughed up a 5-2 third-period lead. Look for the goalies to continue to split time, especially since the Kings and Sharks play each other three times over the next 13 days. I’m curious to see who the fans’ choice is at the moment.
– The Kings’ trip to Colorado included a trip to the Denver-area ranch of team owner Philip Anschutz. The trip included some golf — there’s a nine-hole course on the ranch — and some skeet shooting.
– Here’s a Q&A Sean Avery did with ESPN.com