Robyn Regehr played his 1,089th and last NHL game Saturday at Staples Center, one final battle for a hockey warrior whose hard-nosed style of play earned few headlines but whose teams couldn’t have won without his workhorse approach that served him so well.
The 34-year-old defenseman logged 21 minutes, 54 seconds of ice time in the Kings’ 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on the final day of the regular season. He did not score a goal or record an assist, but played his customary hard-nosed game.
“I think it’s time to move on to the next chapter in life,” Regehr said in typical no-frills fashion, every bit as direct and to the point in the dressing room as he was while batting opposing forwards in the corners and in front of the net for two-plus seasons with the Kings and 15 overall.
“There’s a lot that goes into a decision like that. I’ve been thinking about it for a little while. You’ve got to think about your body and how it’s holding up, or not holding up. There’s family decisions and all that kind of stuff that’s involved with a decision like that. It’s a big decision and I think we have decided.”
The Los Angeles chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association has nominated defenseman Robyn Regehr of the Kings for the Masterton Trophy. Quoting from the PHWA press release Tuesday:
“Regehr is an old-school, stay-at-home defenseman who has been the glue of the Kings’ defense corps in many ways this season while Slava Voynov has served a league-imposed suspension and Alec Martinez missed time because of a concussion. The oldest player on the team at 35, Regehr has been poised under pressure and remains a physical force, averaging more than three hits per game and more than 20 minutes’ ice time per game. Whether paired with the adventurous Drew Doughty or another offense-minded defenseman, Regehr has persevered through his own injuries to lead by example.”
Andrej Sekera, the newest member of the Kings’ defense corps, made his debut Friday against the Ducks at the Honda Center. It was all but lost in the Kings’ 4-2 defeat to the Ducks, but Sekera was scoreless in 21 minutes, 32 seconds. He did not record a shot on goal and was on the ice for Ryan Kesler’s goal for the Ducks. He also was on the ice for a second-period shift that lasted an astounding 3:41 as the Ducks pressured the Kings and kept them hemmed in their own zone.
Sekera played alongside Robyn Regehr, reuniting with his frequent defense partner when both were with the Buffalo Sabres. The Kings acquired Sekera on Wednesday from the Carolina Hurricanes, giving up a conditional draft pick and a prospect in order to gain speed, skill and depth on defense with Alec Martinez sidelined by a concussion and Slava Voynov suspended indefinitely by the NHL because of a domestic violence incident in his Redondo Beach home Oct. 20.
Defenseman Derek Forbort was supposed to join the Kings in time for Monday’s game against the Blue Jackets, and perhaps make his NHL debut in place of an ill Robyn Regehr. Instead, Forbort spent part of his day sitting on an airplane on the tarmac at Logan Airport in Boston.
Forbort watched the snow fall and fall and fall some more. The plane returned to the gate after 90 minutes and his flight was canceled. Instead of skating with the Kings, Forbort returned reluctantly by taxi to Manchester, N.H., home of their American Hockey League team.
“I was about to drive (to Columbus),” he joked.
Forbort finally joined the Kings on Wednesday, recalled from Manchester. There was no snow in El Segundo as the temperature soared past 80 degrees. Forbort said he wore jeans and a long-sleeved T-Shirt and felt “overdressed” because of the warm weather.
The Kings summoned Forbort because their defense corps is depleted. Alec Martinez has a concussion, Robyn Regehr has a lingering illness and Slava Voynov continues to serve an indefinite NHL suspension stemming from a domestic violence charge. Voynov’s trial is set for March 2.
The Kings gave up two power-play goals to the San Jose Sharks in three shorthanded situations during a 4-2 loss Wednesday at the SAP Center, continuing a troubling trend going into the All-Star break. The Kings’ penalty-killing unit is 25th in the 30-team NHL at the break with a lackluster 77.8 percent success rate. For a team that prides itself on hard work and a blue-collar attitude, that’s truly hard to believe. Penalty-killing is often about goaltending, as Kings coach Darryl Sutter will tell you, but it’s also about hustle and desire and also staying out of the penalty box. The Kings average 10.4 penalty minutes per game, ranking as the 12th-most penalized team in the league, and that’s a problem if their PK is not good enough.
“We have to do a better job in certain areas,” Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr told reporters Wednesday. “Tonight, the penalty kill, you can’t afford to give up two power-play goals against and really expect to win too many games, especially on he road. It’s a tough hole to dig yourselves out of when that happens.”
With defenseman Robyn Regehr back in the lineup after a 12-game absence because of a broken finger, the Kings decided Wednesday to loan Jeff Schultz to their American Hockey League team in Manchester, N.H. Schultz suddenly was the odd-man out in the Kings’ defense corps after Regher returned Monday. He played nine games for the Kings and had one assist. He also played in 26 games earlier this season with Manchester and recorded three goals and six assists.
Defenseman Robyn Regehr sat out for 12 games after breaking a finger during the Kings’ victory Dec. 18 over the St. Louis Blues. His return to the lineup Monday was welcomed by the Kings, but it wasn’t exactly a winning reunion. The Kings suffered a 2-1 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames. Regehr couldn’t make it through the opening shift of the game without getting hurt. He deflected a puck into his lip and was forced to the dressing room for immediate repairs.
“It felt really good to get back out on the ice again,” Regehr said after he played 18:26, recorded a team-leading seven hits and was on the ice for both of the Flames’ goals. “It’s never fun when you’re injured and have to watch the games from the stands or underneath (in the dressing room). As players, we want to be out there playing and trying to help the team win and also be involved with the teammates. So, it felt really nice to be doing that again.
“There was a little bit of a transition there for me. I had a rough start in the first shift, with deflecting the puck into my lip, but I managed to get back into the game a little after that.”
The Kings on Monday activated defenseman Robyn Regehr (broken hand) from injured reserve and placed goaltender Martin Jones (back spasms) on IR. Regehr is expected to play in Monday’s game against the Calgary Flames. Regehr skated with Alec Martinez during the Kings’ morning skate in El Segundo. Jones’ place as backup to Jonathan Quick will be filled by J.F. Berube.
The Kings on Saturday recalled defenseman Jeff Schultz from Manchester of the American Hockey League after re-assigning him there earlier in the week. The Kings are shorthanded in their defense corps because of the NHL’s indefinite suspension of Slava Voynov because of a domestic violence charge and also because of a hand injury to Robyn Regehr that’s expected to sideline him for up to three weeks.
The Kings’ defense corps took another hit Friday morning, when general manager Dean Lombardi said veteran Robyn Regehr would be sidelined for between two and three weeks because of a hand injury suffered during a 6-4 victory Thursday over the St. Louis Blues.
The Kings placed Regehr on injured reserve and recalled defenseman Jeff Schultz from their American Hockey League team in Manchester, N.H. The 34-year-old Regehr was injured while blocking a shot midway through the game against the Blues.
“That’s the way she goes sometimes,” defenseman Jake Muzzin said of the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings’ lack of good fortune to start their title defense. “When one guy goes down, other guys need to step up. That’s what we’re going to have to do to keep winning.”