The Los Angeles Kings had a welcome participant at practice on Monday in the form of Matt Greene.
The defenseman, who has missed 41 of LA’s 42 games this year due to a back injury, was cleared for contact and participated in his first full practice today.
Greene also traveled with the Kings to San Jose for tomorrow’s game against the Sharks.
As for when the 29-year-old will get back in the lineup? Here’s what Kings head coach Darryl Sutter said on Friday, prior to Greene getting medical clearance for contact:
“Quite honest, if he’s not ready to play three or four games, and if we made the playoffs, I’d have trouble putting him in for sure.
“He played, what, a few minutes of the year. So it’s not about ‘what you did’. It’s ‘what you’re doing’.
“It’s very simple. I mean, he’s going to have to play three or four games, very simple, otherwise I could not be comfortable with it.”
It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?
OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.
Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.
There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:
Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.