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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards returned to the ice Wednesday for the first time since suffering a suspected concussion late in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Richards took the ice for about 20 minutes during the Kings' optional practice. He was not wearing a no-contact jersey, but there was no contact during the drills and Richards didn't seem limited. Richards did not address the media afterward, and there is still no official timetable for his return.
"He had a light workout," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said before the optional skate. "I don't know if that's progress or not. I talked to him for a minute after the game and he was more interested in the fact that we won than how he was feeling."
Sutter ruled Richards out before Tuesday's Game 3 after Richards did not partake in the morning skate. He did not dress for the game and watched it from the press box. Richards took pregame warm-ups Sunday night before Game 2 but was pulled out of the lineup just prior to the matchup.
The Kings' leading scorer in the playoffs, Richards was rocked by a big hit from Chicago's Dave Bolland near the end of Game 1.
Kings forward Jeff Carter was encouraged by Richards' return to the ice Wednesday but wasn't sure if he'd be available for Game 4 on Thursday, with the Kings trailing in the series 2-1.
"It's obviously great to see him out there," Carter said. "I don't know anything more than that, other than he skated today. If we could get him back at some point in this series, whenever it is, it's a huge lift to this team."
Tyler Toffoli replaced Richards in Games 2 and 3 and would have to do so again if Richards misses Game 4.
"Yeah, I think he's been great the last two games," Carter said of Toffoli. "Obviously the more you play, the more confidence you're going to get. The more success you have, the more confidence you're going to get. He really battles hard on the walls. He makes real strong, smart plays, quick passes off the wall, down low, stuff like that. A lot of times you don't see that in a young guy just coming out of juniors. I've been real impressed."
Carter said he received 20 stitches as well as cracked and chipped teeth after taking Duncan Keith's high stick to his face. Carter was able to return to the ice after the injury, and Keith was suspended by the league for one game for the incident.
"We were battling in front of the net, up the ice and I think I took a swing at his glove there as he was trying to pick it up," Carter said. "I was in front of him. Next thing I knew, I was getting a stick to the face. It is what it is. It's over with. It's done with. We got a pretty big game tomorrow night to worry about. I'm not too worried about the incident."