While the big news coming out of Tuesday's slate of games was Connor McDavid dying due to exposure to radiation, there was a far more significant loss to a team that actually mattered and wasn't a perpetual doormat. Anze Kopitar took what appeared to be a butt-end of a stick from noted shit snacker, human ass-bead Ryan Reaves of the Blues. Kopitar was clearly hurt, though played through to the end of the first period, but didn't return for the remainder of the game after the the first intermission.
Fortunately, Darryl Sutter said he was "fine". Or is that a good thing? A one word response of "fine" is what you say to your girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/dog when you feel like being passive aggressive when things are certainly not "fine". Losing Kopitar is obviously a huge issue not just as the team's top shutdown center, but also as an alternate captain. Matt Greene is already out, resulting in Jeff Carter becoming a regular alternate captain, but who's after that? It's like the line of succession with the President. You got Vice President, Speaker of the House, and then...I don't know. Secretary of Education? That's at least how it should go according to Battlestar Galactica.
This is where it gets tricky for the Kings. Who becomes the new alternate captain? It's about as slim out there as it is with the Republican nominees currently running. Maybe they should campaign for the 'A' from Sutter. They probably haven't been doing anything else productive anyways. They certainly haven't been working on the power play. So, who gets the spot of sorta temporary kinda leadership?
He's talented. He knows the game. He certainly will talk to the refs. He also is the angriest ball of hair you will ever see. Doughty seems like he should be smart. He really isn't, what with given his tendency to argue, take penalties late, and ability to fall over boards. I think giving Doughty more room to scream at the refs could be entertaining, though it may not be in the best interest of the team.
Way back in the day, Gaborik was a captain for the Minnesota Wild. However, they rotated the 'C' around like it was a classroom hamster each kid got to take care of for a weekend. Gaborik is also the oldest player on the Kings, but is still a relative newbie on the roster seeing as there are still plenty of guys from the 2012 Cup run. Does Gaborik even have the ability to talk? I don't recall. Being far too forgetful will be his downfall along with being tagged as enigmatic (because he is European and all European players are enigmas).
With Matt Greene on the shelf, Martinez is the second longest tenured Kings defenseman behind Doughty. Sort of crazy for a guy who was a mostly healthy scratch for the better part of three years. Yet he persevered and is a lineup regular after his heroics of 2014. He's worn an 'A' in preseason split squad games, and finally appears to have the trust of Sutter. Though that may be out of necessity seeing as the other options behind him are Derek Forbort and Jamie McBain.
The new guy is the oldest defender on the roster, so that alone has to earn some consideration. However, his brain has been rattled so many times, he may start arguing with a Gatorade bottle over calls instead of the refs. On the other hand, that may be more productive then engaging with Tim Peel whatsoever. But do we really want a German leader?
For whatever reason, Sutter loves Clifford. He is a decent sort of fourth line type of player where he is going to go a thousand miles per hour each shift, and plays the muck it up type of game that has come to define the Kings. Clifford has also been a regular in the lineup since 2010, which is crazy when you realize he is only 24 years old. I think he wore a 'C' this preseason too, so this is definitely a likely outcome, especially when you realize guys like Jared Boll and Cody McLeod wear letters for their teams.
Shut up nerds. Not happening.
Another favorite of Sutter. Trevor "Trevor Lewis" Lewis has worn the 'A' for the Kings in preseason before, and has for team USA when they compiled their roster of names you only vaguely recognized. Ol' T-Lew has been a team regular since 2010, is an older member of the roster (they grow up so fast, he's 28), and has filled in at pretty much every role available for the Kings each year. Top Line Trevor has jump started Kopitar, carried the weight in his absence before, and has a few clutch plays of his own. He's a good American boy. Works hard. Popular with the fans. *Don Cherry thumbs up*
You can tell the exact point in which I stopped giving a shit about the Blue Jackets' logo.
The Kings are back in the win column, and all reports seem to indicate Kopitar is ok-ish. Which means he is probably concussed but whatever fuck it. We're really not going to have Andy Andreoff or Jordan Weal center a top line. Maybe Lewis, but then the bottom six turns back into Columbus Chocolate Milk with Clifford, Andreoff, and Jordan Nolan all seeing decent minutes. Sorry for the head trauma, Anze. But we need you to sacrifice your brain so the Kings can try and beat the Blue Jackets.
Prediction: Kopitar plays, and the Kings still lose 3-2. Goals by Lucic and Muzzin.