Greetings from rainy Glendale, Ariz.
Left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky, who missed Monday’s 4-0 victory at San Jose because of a lower-body injury that is believed to be an ankle problem, was the first player on the ice for the Kings’ morning skate Wednesday but didn’t participate in many drills. Afterward, Coach Terry Murray said Ponikarovsky won’t play Wednesday against the Coyotes.
“He’s still a little lame. Feeling a lot better,” Murray said. “He’s gone through two days of pretty intense treatment. Still some swelling, a little bit of tenderness. Not able to cross over, pivot, open up -- all those things that hockey players have to do. So we’ll just keep pushing the rehab work. When his body’s ready to go he’ll get back in.”
Murray also said defenseman Willie Mitchell, who suffered an apparent knee injury Dec. 16 at St. Louis, skated on Wednesday at the team’s El Segundo training base. Murray said he had no update beyond the originally stated week-to-week projection.
Otherwise, Murray said the lineup will be the same Wednesday at Jobing.com Arena, with Jonathan Quick starting in goal. He also confirmed that Jonathan Bernier will start at home Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Murray and the rest of the coaching staff watched the Coyotes lose to the Ducks Tuesday night to start a rare set of back-to-back home games, and they took lots of mental notes. Murray said the Coyotes were uncharacteristically loose at the start off the game and later played a more urgent, press-up game that he expects to see them play Wednesday.
“More three on the puck, defense are going to be aggressive down the boards, defense are going to be jumping up on the play on the attack on a pretty consistent basis and probably play more pucks off the net than what they did," he said. "I thought they overpassed and looked for some cute plays in the offensive zone [Tuesday] night. So I’m sure there will be a change of attitude tonight.”
More in a little bit, including Kyle Clifford’s thoughts on not being at the world junior championships and Anze Kopitar welcoming a fellow Slovenian to the NHL.
-- Helene Elliott in Glendale, Ariz.
Photo: Alexi Ponikarovsky. Credit: Jerry S. Mendoza /Associated Press.