Jarret Stoll’s return to the Kings’ lineup for Thursday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers at Staples Center was a very big deal. He didn’t like sitting out because of a concussion and missing nine consecutive games in the heat of the tightly-contested playoff race.
Stoll detested watching games on television and noticing when and where he could have helped his teammates had he been healthy enough to play. The last two games, lopsided losses to the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks, were especially painful to watch from afar.
“Feel good,” he said. “Excited to be back in the lineup and help this team win any way I can. Obviously, it’s an important time and important games, big games. This is definitely the time you want to be playing as opposed to watching your team. So, yeah, I’m excited to be back in.
“I watched every game and the first three games (on a five-game trip), it was great to watch.”
Stoll referred to victories over the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and New York Islanders to start the five-game trip. He remained behind to skate in El Segundo and continue to recover from a head injury that produced lingering post-concussion syndrome affects.
Stoll even enlisted the help of a young goaltender who plays on a Midget-level team.
“I warmed him up a little bit,” Stoll said, breaking into a laugh when reporters joked that he might have damaged the kid’s confidence beyond repair with a flurry of shots. “No, it was good. I ramped it up every day and I’ve had a couple of good practices here and I’m ready to go.”