Mike Richards skips optional skate
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings had an optional skate Monday but most of the players, including center Mike Richards, took the time to rest and recover in the midst of playing three games in four nights in two cities to open the Western Conference finals.
Richards missed his first game of the year when he was a late scratch before Game 2 with what the team termed an upper-body injury. His status for Tuesday's Game 3 in Los Angeles is uncertain.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Richards was "fine" before Game 2, and Richards took part in pregame warm-ups, taking line rushes between wingers Jeff Carter and Dustin Penner. Richards, however, was ruled out after warm-ups.
Sutter did not have an update on Richards on Monday afternoon but said he would be just as cautious with him as he was with center Jarret Stoll, who missed the last six games of the Western Conference semifinals against the San Jose Sharks after being knocked out by San Jose's Raffi Torres in Game 1.
"It's like when you asked about Jarret last series, the same questions you have, are the same ones I have," Sutter said. "It's not [about] today, it's [about] tomorrow. It's after activity and how they react to that. There's no secret to it. It's how they react to it, and that's how we do it."
Sutter said he thought Richards was fine to play Sunday but that Richards suffered from "symptoms" after warm-ups and told him that he wasn't playing if he wasn't 100 percent.
"That's a player you know and trust and you know how he plays," Sutter said. "He was fine all day, but once he got to the United Center last night and he starts thinking about being a warrior and the blood starts pumping and he starts going through his routine ... he knows himself."
Tyler Toffoli replaced Richards in the Kings' lineup in Game 2.
Richards has two goals and eight assists for a team-high 10 playoff points, and Sutter said it will be hard to replace Richards if he is out for an extended period of time.
"It's not like Mike Richards is just a spot in your lineup; he's a significant part of everything," Sutter said. "He's a significant part if you're into matchups, if you're into faceoffs, if you're into power play, if you're into penalty killing, if you're in the first minute and the last minute. It moves everyone around a little bit ... but you're not replacing that player."