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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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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Marian Gaborik is back with the Kings and other notes from Saturday’s practice

Notes from the Kings’ split-squad practice Saturday …

–Injured winger Marian Gaborik was back in El Segundo. He didn’t speak to reporters about the broken foot he suffered while playing with Team Europe in the World Cup of Hockey. He was wearing a protective walking-boot style cast on his right foot and needed the aid of crutches to get around the training facility.

–Jonathan Quick practiced with the B Group of players, but it remained to be determined when he would make his exhibition debut in goal, according to assistant coach David Payne. Quick could play in Sunday’s exhibition against the Ducks at Honda Center. Or it could come in exhibitions Friday or Saturday in Las Vegas.

–There’s no exact timetable for the return of Drew Dougty, Anze Kopitar and Jake Muzzin from the World Cup, Payne said. The three are due some rest and recovery time after Doughty and Muzzin’s Team Canada defeated Kopitar’s Team Europe in the two-game World Cup final. They mighty not play in any exhibitions.

–The Kings’ A Group, which includes Jeff Carter, will face the Edmonton Oilers in an exhibition Sunday in Vernon, British Columbia. Darryl Sutter will coach the team. The Kings’ B team faces the Ducks with Payne and Mike Stothers, coach of the Ontario Reign of the AHL, behind the bench at Honda Center.

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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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Kings open training camp Friday in El Segundo

Here’s the Kings’ schedule for the first three days of training camp:

Friday: Group A practice begins at 10 a.m. at the Kings’ practice facility in El Segundo (555 North Nash Street). Group B practice beings at 2 p.m.

Saturday: Group B practice begins at 10 a.m.; Group A starts at 2 p.m.

Sunday: Kings vs. Kings, Citizens Business Bank Arena, 3 p.m.

There are 64 players expected to attend camp, although some will be delayed because of their participation in the World Cup in Toronto (Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin for Canada, Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik for Team Europe and Jonathan Quick for Team USA). The breakdown of the groups wasn’t announced.

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Pregame reading: Los Angeles Kings at Edmonton Oilers


Faceoff: 6:30 p.m. TV/Radio: Prime, 790-AM

The Kings fell out of the second wild-card spot when they lost in a shootout Monday to the Vancouver Canucks and the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Minnesota Wild. The Kings’ single point moved them into a tie for third place with the Calgary Flames in the Pacific Division, but the Flames hold the tiebreaker with more wins in regulation or overtime 39-37. The Kings also dropped to 2-8 in shootouts and when coupled with a 1-7 mark in overtime it helps to explain why they face another must-win game when they face the long-since eliminated Oilers. The Kings complete the regular season with games Thursday against the Flames in Calgary and Saturday against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center. Anze Kopitar leads the Kings with 63 points, including 47 assists. Backup goaltender Martin Jones might be called upon to play tonight after Jonathan Quick started Monday. Jones hasn’t started since a Feb. 27 loss to the Ducks and has appeared in only two games in relief since then. The Kings are 39-25-15. Jordan Eberle leads the Oilers (23-43-13) with 62 points (23 goals, 39 assists).

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Drew Doughty’s numbers take a beating in the L.A. Kings’ last two games

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty had a second consecutive rough game during Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. He took a key penalty in the third period that led to the go-ahead power-play goal for the Canucks’ Radim Vrbata. He also had a defensive rating of minus-3 in a team-leading 24:54. He also assisted on the Kings’ only goal, a power-play strike by Marian Gaborik in the second period.

Doughty also was a minus-2 in the Kings’ 3-2 overtime loss Wednesday to the Ducks, which was far from his best game of the season. He and Gaborik collided in a defensive breakdown that led to Ryan Kesler’s winning goal in OT. Doughty and Gaborik both went to cover defenseman Hampus Lindholm, leaving Kesler with plenty of open ice to set and fire a shot from low in the right faceoff circle past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.

Overall, Doughty’s plus-minus rating has dipped to plus-1.

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