Kings goalie Jeff Zatkoff says he’s unsure how long he’ll be sidelined by groin injury suffered in practice

Kings goaltender Jeff Zatkoff walked with a noticeable limp as he exited the dressing room after a 4-3 shootout victory Saturday night over the Vancouver Canucks at Staples Center. He couldn’t say how long he would be sidelined by a groin injury suffered at the team’s morning skate in El Segundo earlier in the day. When asked if he would be OK, Zatkoff said he didn’t know.

“We’ll see,” he said.

The Kings placed him on injured reserve with what they called a lower-body injury. Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Zatkoff’s groin tightened up on him after making a save about midway through the 30-minute workout. Peter Budaj started in goal against the Canucks and Jack Campbell was summoned from Ontario of the AHL.

Jonathan Quick, the Kings’ No. 1 goalie, hurt his groin in the season-opening loss to the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 12 and is expected to be out for about three months.

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Kings goalie Jeff Zatkoff suffers groin injury during the team’s morning skate

The hits keep coming for the Kings. Left wing Marian Gaborik went down and out first, suffering a broken right foot last month while playing for Team Europe in the World Cup. Goalie Jonathan Quick went next, hurting his groin in a season-opening loss to the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 12.

Gaborik is expected to be out until Thanksgiving and Quick could be sidelined until January.

Goalie Jeff Zatkoff was the latest victim, suffering a groin  injury Saturday during the Kings’ morning skate. Zatkoff was termed questionable to play during the Kings’ game later in the evening against the undefeated Vancouver Canucks at Staples Center.

“He stopped a shot and his groin tightened up,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “I’ve seen it in a game. I’ve never seen it in a practice.”

Sutter said the team would know more about Zatkoff’s condition later Saturday.

The pregame workout is usually a time to work up a sweat for 30 minutes or so and prepare for the contest to follow. Zatkoff moved awkwardly after blocking a shot and slumped to the ice, according to teammate Tom Gilbert.

Zatkoff needed assistance from teammates and a member of the athletic training staff in order to get off the ice and into the adjacent locker room at the Kings’ training facility in El Segundo. He was not available for immediate comment.

The Kings were expected to recall Jack Campbell from their American Hockey League team in Ontario to serve as Peter Budaj for Saturday’s game against the Canucks. Budaj made 17 saves in the Kings’ 4-3 OT victory Thursday over the Dallas Stars, ending a three-game skid to start the season.

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Kings recall goalie Peter Budaj from Ontario of the AHL

The Kings on Thursday recalled goaltender Peter Budaj from their American Hockey League team in Ontario to serve as Jeff Zatkoff’s backup, and perhaps to start a game or two, too, while Jonathan Quick is sidelined by an unspecified lower-body injury. Budaj led the AHL last season with 42 victories and nine shutouts.

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Jonathan Quick placed on injured reserve as Kings turn goalie duties over to Jeff Zatkoff on week-to-week basis

 

Goalie Jonathan Quick has started 12 consecutive games for the Kings. (Photo by John McCoy Daily News)

The Kings placed goaltender Jonathan Quick on injured reserve Thursday afternoon, one day after he was forced from their season-opening loss to the San Jose Sharks because of a lower-body injury. Quick’s status was described as week to week by a team spokesman.

Jeff Zatkoff will replace Quick in the Kings’ lineup for Friday’s home-opening game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Staples Center. Zatkoff took over for Quick to start the second period of the Kings’ 2-1 loss Wednesday to the Sharks in San Jose.

Quick stopped 14 of 15 shots.

Zatkoff stopped 15 of 16.

The Kings are expected to recall Peter Budaj from their AHL team in Ontario to serve as Zatkoff’s backup, and perhaps start, too, while Quick is sidelined.

“Jonathan is obviously a special player,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter. “You just don’t replace that. It’s not different than any other star player. You just don’t replace or expect somebody to play the same way and do the same things. We also know we’re quite capable at that position.”

Quick was the NHL’s most durable goalie last season, leading the league with 4,034 minutes played over 68 games. He won 40 games, had a 2.22 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage with five shutouts and was a Vezina Trophy finalist in 2015-16.

In addition, the 30-year-old Quick won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the 2012 playoffs, leading the Kings to the first of their two Stanley Cup championships in a three-season span. He had a 16-4 record, a 1.41 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage in the ’12 playoffs.

Zatkoff will assume the starter’s duties one game into his second stint with the Kings. He rejoined the team that selected him in the third round of the 2006 draft (74th overall), signing a two-year, $1.8-million free-agent contract last July 1.

“Don’t change anything,” Zatkoff said. “The message is the same. We want to win games and we want to play a certain way, and nothing changes. … My job is to come in and the team doesn’t miss a beat. … I’ve had situations to prepare me for this. It’s definitely a good opportunity.”

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LA Kings transactions (part 3)

In case you missed it, the Kings on Sunday assigned Peter Budaj to Ontario of the American Hockey League, ending a training camp battle with Jeff Zatkoff for backup goaltending duties. Zatkoff signed a two-year, $1.8-million free-agent contract last summer to be Jonathan Quick’s fill-in this season.

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Kings place four on waivers, including Reign goalie Peter Budaj

The Kings placed four players on waivers Monday, including goaltender Peter Budaj. Other teams have until 9 a.m. (PT) to claim any or all of the four: Budaj, goalie Jack Campbell, forward Andrew Crescenzi and  defenseman Vincent LoVerde. The Kings retain their rights if they’re not picked.

Of the four, Budaj would seem to have the best chance to be claimed by another NHL team. He was 42-14-4 with a 1.75 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage in 60 games last season with the Ontario Reign of the AHL.

The moves Monday all but assure the Kings’ backup goalie to start the season will be Jeff Zatkoff, who signed a two-year, $1.8-million free-agent contract last summer. Zatkoff will serve as Jonathan Quick’s backup in 2016-17 after appearing in 14 games last season with the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. He was 4-7-0 with a 2.79 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage.

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Kings homecoming (part 2): Jeff Zatkoff says he’s where he wants to be after free-agent signing

Jeff Zatkoff knew what he was getting into when he signed a two-season, $1.8-million contract last summer. He understood the job description called for long, thankless hours of hard work during the day followed by extended periods of inactivity during the evening.

Zatkoff took the plunge anyway.

The opportunity was too good to pass up.

Plus, he had a connection to the Kings, who drafted him in the third round (74th overall) in 2006. Goaltending coach Bill Ranford tutored him, mentored him, but couldn’t offer him a single appearance in an NHL game before losing him to the Pittsburgh Penguins as a free agent in 2012.

Zatkoff returned to the Kings as a free agent July 1, after a four-year absence.

“I had interest from other teams, but at the end of the day, this is where I wanted to be,” said Zatkoff, who was 4-7-0 with a 2.79 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage in 14 games last season with the Stanley Cup champion Penguins.

Zatkoff, 29, isn’t likely to play very many games with the Kings this season. If all goes as planned, Jonathan Quick will play and Zatkoff will sit on the bench. Zatkoff also will work his tail off after practice in case something goes awry with his more accomplished and heralded teammate.

Quick’s backups normally play only a handful of games each season. Jhonas Enroth played 16 games last season and Martin Jones appeared in 15 in 2014-15. Enroth departed as a free agent during the off-season; Jones was traded in the summer of ’15.

“I think you know the situation when you come to L.A.,” Zatkoff said. “You want to play as many games as you can, but at the same time you’re playing behind arguably the best goalie in the league, one of them, anyway. That’s part of the job here.

“You’ve got be able to go in and play when you’re called upon, whether it’s 15 games, 10 games, 20 games, just depending on the circumstance, and be able to provide that leadership in the locker room and be a good teammate and be ready to go when your number is called, and win.

“I know my role here. I just want to do my job.”

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Kings training camp questions (part 4)

4. Who is Jonathan Quick’s backup in goal this season?

Say goodbye to Jhonas Enroth and hello to Jeff Zatkoff. He is a 29-year-old who signed a two-season, $1.8-million contract during the off-season, after going 4-7-0 with a 2.79 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage in 14 games last season with the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. He spent most of the season playing for the Penguins’ American Hockey League team and was in need of a job at season’s end. He will serve as the third backup in as many seasons for Quick, following Enroth last season and Martin Jones in 2014-15. It’s a lonely job, but somebody’s got to do it. Enroth played only 16 games last season, going 7-5-1, and Jones appeared in only 15 in ’14-15, going 4-5-2. Enroth departed as a free agent during the off-season, signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Coyotes 2, Kings 1, SO; Kings 3, Coyotes 2.

The Kings and Coyotes played six times last season. Three of the games were decided by one goal; two were decided by two goals; and the other time the Kings decided not to play defense and lost 6-3.

True to their nature –even in the preseason, with rosters full of players who will spend this season in the AHL, ECHL or Canadian junior leagues –the Kings and Coyotes played a pair of one-goal games Thursday. The Coyotes squad that hosted the Kings in Glendale, Arizona, lost 3-2. The Coyotes squad that played in Anaheim a day earlier visited Staples Center and pulled out a 2-1 shootout win.

In Glendale [game summary | event summary], Dustin Penner scored with 49 seconds left in regulation to break a 2-2 tie. Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist, Trevor Lewis had three assists, and Ethan Moreau scored in the first period –chronologically, the Kings’ first goal of the preseason.

Jonathan Bernier started and saved 18 of 19 shots in two periods. Jeff Zatkoff got the third period and stopped 8 of 9.

At Staples Center, the vantage point of the press box offered a few more insights:
Continue reading

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Lewis, six others re-sign.

Restricted free-agent forward Trevor Lewis re-signed with the Kings on Friday. His two-year deal pays a reported $1.45 million.

The announcement came with little surprise one day after general manager Dean Lombardi said a new contract was “close.” Lewis had only three goals and 13 points in 72 games last season, his first full year in the NHL. But he was hard to take out of the lineup because of his speed — a rare commodity on last year’s squad — and penalty-killing value. Lewis also had a goal and four points in the Kings’ six-game playoff series against San Jose.

Lewis can play either center or the wing, and figures to compete with Andrei Loktionov for the fourth-line center position in training camp.

The Kings also announced the signings of forwards Marc-Andre Cliche, Rich Clune and David Meckler, defensemen Andrew Campbell and Patrick Mullen, and goaltender Jeff Zatkoff. All six players spent the entire season in Manchester and were restricted free agents.

One player who won’t be returning to the Monarchs is Corey Elkins. The agent for the restricted free-agent forward wrote on Twitter that Elkins could be headed to Europe for a year and won’t re-sign with the Kings. Elkins had 18 goals and 44 points in 76 games for Manchester last season, after posting 21 goals and 43 points in 72 games the year before. Signed as a free agent out of Ohio State University, Elkins had one goal in three games with the Kings, all in 2009-10.

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