Matt Greene awaits green light, Anze Kopitar ready to go
Defenseman Matt Greene, who underwent surgery on his left shoulder in late July and is expected to miss the first month of the season, said Saturday he's progressing well and hopes to be cleared to skate by himself next weekend.
"Right now they’re worried about me falling on it and reversing everything they did in surgery. I have some time to go with that, but they’re optimistic that it’s coming along good," he said during the Kings' Hockey Fest event in El Segundo.
He said the damage to his left shoulder was long in developing, including some damage incurred while he was in college.
"Once they got in there, there were some things that were messed up with it. The labrum was torn and bone spurs and arthritis and the shoulder was out of socket, so they cleaned up that stuff and it’s supposed to be better than I had it before," he said.
Although General Manager Dean Lombardi said Saturday that in retrospect he wished Greene had undergone surgery sooner, Greene said he was partly to blame for not telling anyone how bad the injury was.
"Nobody really knew what was going on until they got in there and took a look at it. The training staff did everything that they could," he said. "A lot was on me, too. As a player you always say, ‘Can you push through?’ with just little aches and pains and that’s what I thought it was.
"They got in there and found it and I’m just happy they did, they found it when they did, or else maybe the first hit I took in preseason would have put me out for the year rather than, hopefully, for the first month of the season."
Center Anze Kopitar, who also participated in Saturday's autograph sessions and greeted fans, said the team's aspirations are higher this season than a year ago.
"Last year coming in we set our goal that we were going to make the playoffs. I think this year it’s more expected from us than making the playoffs," said Kopitar, who led the team with 81 points.
"We had a good season last year, but now we’ve got to take what we did last year and improve on some stuff and then get going again."
He also said he paid some attention to the Kings' pursuit of Ilya Kovalchuk -- who might have been his left wing -- but was philosophical about not having Kovalchuk as a teammate this season.
"It is what it is. You can only do so much," Kopitar said. "I’m just happy the core guys are still here and obviously we didn’t have to sign anybody this summer. I think that’s the most important thing for us."
More from Hockey Fest later.
-- Helene Elliott