If you’re not a Los Angeles Kings fan, you’re probably not too familiar with left wing Scott Parse. Parse headed into this season poised to be a breakout candidate and with the Kings being a bit lacking a left wing, the opportunity was there for Parse to seize the day and become a force at forward in L.A.
Instead, Parse was felled by a hip injury that knocked him out of play for the first month of the year and he hasn’t played since November 15. Now he’s ready to play once again and has been activated from injured reserve declaring himself ready to go for Game 5 against San Jose that sees the Kings trailing 3-1 in the series.
If Parse wants to seize the day and make a big impression, doing so now would be the best way to do it. As Rich Hammond of L.A. Kings Insider shares, coach Terry Murray realizes there’s a huge risk playing a guy for the first time in five months in the middle of a playoff series.
“Yeah, probably. You could probably say a little bit of a risk, but you just have to take all the factors into consideration, and put him in a situation where you do take on a little bit of risk, but I look at the risk-reward part of it too. He’s a player who has been working very hard to get back at it. We tested him yesterday. His conditioning level is really good. I know the skill side of the game, with the puck on his stick, is good. He can give us some looks in the offensive zone. He can be a threat. He’s got some speed, quickness that can match up with their speed and quickness. So, again, a change is good sometimes, and I’m hoping that this one is.”
The Kings definitely need a change after hanging tough while still slumping against the Sharks. On the upside for L.A., the last time Parse played was against San Jose and he had a goal. The Kings would love to see him replicate that production and being on a line with Michal Handzus and Justin Williams will give him that opportunity.
It’s a desperate call but for a team that needs something to go right for them, it can’t hurt. The only question then comes for who would come out of the lineup in favor of Parse. Youngster Oscar Moller and tough guy Kevin Westgarth would be the leading candidates.
Kings center Jarret Stoll felt the wrath of the NHL today as the league suspended him for one game for his hit from behind on Sharks defenseman Ian White. The hit was ugly and it caused White to leave the game with an apparent head inury. White’s status for Game 2 is in doubt.
Of course the question with suspendable offenses in the playoffs is whether or not the punishment was harsh enough for the action. When it comes to the playoffs, punishment is always judged a bit differently since the games are that much more important. Sitting a player down for a play that might cost him two to three games in the regular season gets knocked down to one in the playoffs because that one game could swing the series. That’s not proper justification, that’s just how things seem to get handled.
In Stoll’s case, his absence is a crushing blow for the Kings at center. With Anze Kopitar already out, they’ll be down their top two pivots and now need to find a way to make it work for Game 2. Expect to see Michal Handzus and Trevor Lewis along with Brad Richardson to see more time on the ice with Stoll out and Hanzus to become the de facto face off man.
Taking Stoll’s spot on the roster for day is forward John Zeiler. With Zeiler and Oscar Moller the Kings have some options with what they want to do. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun tweets that Zeiler is likely going to see time on the fourth line at center. If the Kings can weather this storm without Stoll and steal Game 2 that gives them a huge swing of momentum heading back to L.A. for Game 3. If the Kings get blown out, Stoll’s dangerous and selfish play will haunt the Kings as they need to be as close to perfect as possible to take out San Jose.
If you’re curious as to where prospect Brayden Schenn might figure into all of this, it turns out that he’s going to Manchester and the AHL to try and help the Monarchs out in the playoffs. An opportunity like this coupled with their injuries up the middle made it seem like an ample opportunity to get Schenn involved, but GM Dean Lombardi is hesitant to break him out in this kind of situation with so little NHL experience.
The Los Angeles Kings are already playing in the playoffs shorthanded thanks to an ankle injury to Anze Kopitar and losing another centerman would do nothing to help them try to beat the Sharks in the first round of the playoffs. During last night’s 3-2 overtime loss to San Jose, Kings center Jarret Stoll delivered a hit from behind to Sharks defenseman Ian White that might see him getting a call from the NHL.
Stoll boarded White while he was looking to fish out the puck along the boards behind the San Jose net and ended up smashing Stoll’s head into the top of the boards where the dasher meets the glass. The ugly hit put White down and he was removed from the game and did not return. There was no penalty called on the play. (Video here)
CSN Bay Area’s Brodie Brazil reported on Twitter after the game saying that the league is looking into the hit and that White is not feeling well. Sharks players are not too happy with the lack of call on the play and the fact that White is hurt. Sharks coach Todd McLellan was able to keep it all in perspective.
“We did have a chance to look at it,” Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan said. “After the game we got a really good angle from right behind the glass. There was a camera right there and the good news for us is the league is looking at these types of things. They take them very serious. The bad news is we lost a very good defenseman that we count on.”
Ian White was playing in his first career playoff game and going out like this is unpleasant. For the Kings, should they lose Stoll to a suspension of some kind, youngster Oscar Moller would likely slot into his position in the lineup. Moller was a healthy scratch in Game 1 in favor of tough guy Kevin Westgarth.
Suspensions in the playoffs in the past have always been seemingly softer compared to regular season plays because the games have a much greater immediate impact on the season. Plays like this in the past would either net no suspension or a one game ban. With a hit like this and an apparent head injury to White, it seems likely that Stoll would see some sort of action taken against him. Losing Stoll for even a game really amps up the pressure on the Kings to find ways to score and with Kopitar out, that’s already hard enough.