Injured Kings center Mike Richards was ruled out of Game 4 of the Western Conference finals Thursday night. He won’t play for the third consecutive game after suffering a concussion on a hit from the Chicago Blackhawks’ Dave Bolland near the end of Game 1.
“He didn’t skate today so he won’t play tonight,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said after the team’s morning skate at Staples Center. “I think protocol is very clear. He hasn’t recovered enough. Concussion. Surely, you know the protocol.”
Left wing Dustin Penner, center Jeff Carter and rookie right wing Tyler Toffoli skated together on the Kings’ second line during the skate, as they did for Games 2 and 3. Carter shifted from right wing to center to replace Richards and Toffoli joined the lineup after he was scratched for Game 1. That line was the Kings’ best for the last two games.
Toffoli has a goal and two assists in the series.
“He’s 20 years old and that’s a lot of pressure,” Sutter said of inserting Toffoli into the lineup after Richards was injured. “He was good last game. He was good the game before that. Struggled in the San Jose series. We’ll see what he does tonight. I don’t put any pressure on the player, that player, just want him to be good shift to shift. If he doesn’t, I’m not going to say, ‘You’re a bad boy or something.’ I’m not going to play him, that’s all. He’s 20 years old. Maybe he’s 21. I’m not sure.”
Actually, Toffoli turned 21 on April 24.