The report out of San Jose that Kings center Jarret Stoll has been suspended for Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinal against the Sharks is a tough blow.
Stoll was fifth on the team in goals (20) and points (43) during the regular season, and his offensive production became even more needed after top-line center Anze Kopitar went down with an season-ending ankle injury with seven games remaining.
Stoll is just as valuable to the Kings in the face-off circle, where he was fifth in the league in percentage of face offs won at 57.5% (753-1,310). In the opening game of the series Thursday night, Stoll won 13 of 20 face offs in the 3-2 overtime loss.
And if the Kings need a player to take a penalty shot, they’ll be without the league’s best, as Stoll made nine of 10 shootout attempts during the regular season.
Stoll’s suspension does reignite debate on whether Brayden Schenn should be called up. Schenn’s junior season ended earlier than expected Wednesday night when the Saskatoon Blades were eliminated in the second round of the Western Hockey League playoffs.
The Kings opted to send Schenn to their AHL team in Manchester, rather than drop the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft into the opening round of a physical playoff series. They would also have to burn a full year off Schenn’s entry-level contract if he played two or more playoff games.
In the end, the Kings decided to recall John Zeiler and not Schenn. It was fun to think about, anyway.