The shortened NHL season might force coaches to change their ways, but not the delightfully consistent Kings head coach Darryl Sutter, especially when it comes to his No. 1 goalie.
Sutter has done his lockout research and his inner baseball fan surfaced as he said there will be no “pitching rotation” during this 48-game season.
“If you look at the last team that won the Stanley Cup when they played 48 games, the goalie played 60 games,” Sutter said of Martin Brodeur. “It [a rotation] might work if you’re in 15th place.”
Brodeur, in fact, played in 40 of 48 games in the regular season and in all 20 in New Jersey’s run to the Stanley Cup in 1995.
In other words, Kings goalie Jonathan Quick’s surgically repaired back better be ready for a heavy workload. Backup goalie Jonathan Bernier had asked for a trade months ago, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said. However, it was not an issue later in the summer, Lombardi said Thursday at the kickoff event at Staples Center.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Kings were never going to move Bernier, not when it became clear Quick needed surgery. Quick has been medically cleared and said he feels great.
That is not quite the case with all of the Kings. The recovery timetable of two to three weeks from the time of his injury still remains for center Anze Kopitar, who sprained his right knee Saturday in Sweden.
Defenseman Willie Mitchell also is dealing with an injured knee and is not skating. Should Mitchell not be ready for the start of the season, Alec Martinez would move into his slot, Lombardi said. But the Kings’ general manager said he was not sure of the next domino.
The Kings are scrambling to get ready for the season, on and off the ice. They have put a new public address announcer, Dave Joseph, in place for the shortened season. David Courtney, the longtime PA announcer for the Kings, Clippers and Angels, died in November.
The Kings said they will have an open event with an on-ice component at Staples Center on Monday night. Camp is scheduled to begin Sunday with physicals, and the first official on-ice sessions are scheduled for Monday.