The Kings completed their six game homestand by winning every game. Hooray! But Anze Kopitar got injured in the last game.
This is obviously bad. Maybe not super awful, seeing as Kopitar's line wasn't scoring much, but having a top line center miss time doesn't help at all. Nor is it easier when you have a few injuries that you're already dealing with. In fact, the Kings are already tapped out so to speak. Trevor Lewis and Marian Gaborik are injured, and Slava Voynov is still suspended until who knows when. With Kopitar out, the Kings don't really have the cap space to call up anyone else, so hopefully Anze Kopitar doesn't miss a game.
But that's not the point of this.
No, Anze is gone. Forever. The raccoons needed him more than we did. Thank you for your bravery and service, Anze. Now, who will replace him?
It's the logical pick, sure. But Mike Richards as been playing with a hangover since 2011. He's bounced from the third line to the fourth line, and then shifted to wing for a bit on the top line, and then got dumped back to the fourth line. First line minutes are obviously what Richards needs to get back on track so when the Kings trade him they get a little bit of value in return and don't have to retain his salary.
Pros: He plays defense moderately well. Has experience playing big minutes.
Cons: Those big minutes were with a shitty hockey team. He isn't fast. He isn't big. Can't score. Limits Dwight King goal-face opportunities.
Odds: Pretty damn high. Bleh.
Stoll has seen his role with the Kings diminish each season, along with his production. However, those kind of go hand in hand, while his hands are full with Paulina in the accompanying photo. He's been a bottom six type player for a few seasons, and while he sill has a decent skill set he's never been a top line type of player. For fuck's sake, Michal Handzus got that job last time Kopitar got hurt.
Pros: Good at faceoffs. Decent at defense. Has attractive lady friends.
Cons: Not actually good at hockey. May finally get in trouble for trying to kill a defenseman.
Odds: No. Nope. Not happening.
Sorta-almost-Olympian. Two time Cup winner. Game wining goal scorer. Shootout extraordinaire. Unbenchable. Untouchable. Trevor Lewis possibly coming back into the Kings' lineup can provide the sheer talent, athleticism, and intangibles that Anze Kopitar's absence leaves. It's Trevor Time™. There's no other centers the Kings can use. Jeff Carter is forever connected with Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli these days, and Richards and Stoll don't have the offensive firepower and two-way ability T-Dawg possesses. Ol' Trevie Lewis and the News got a few brief looks on the top line in 2011 when Kopitar last missed time (a move I predicted and applauded at the time. Seriously). He's been patient, but now is his time. Provided he gets off injured reserve.
Pros: Indestructible force of nature.
Cons: Currently injured.
Odds: Five minutes into the next game he will be on the top line after Mike Richards gets demoted again.
Reality: Jordan Weal somehow gets called up. Booooooriiiiiiiing.
Mike Richards will probably line up with Justin Williams and Dustin Brown, and the Kings run with a short bench or something for a game. Lewis, while close to returning, is rather implausible to come back on short notice. Meh.
Prediction: Kopitarless Kings turns out to be a tire fire and lose 6-1 to Philadelphia.