EL SEGUNDO, CA — After their “Debacle In Dallas” on April 9, the Los Angeles Kings held meetings and had off-ice workouts on April 10 at their practice facility, the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
But one player was in his practice gear, skating with assistant coach John Stevens, and that was none other than defenseman Matt Greene, who is recovering from back surgery to repair a herniated disc after playing in the season opener on January 19.
“It felt good,” said Greene. “It’s good to get back out there. It’s good to get off the bike, or whatever else they’re giving you, to get your cardio in. It’s been a welcome relief skating for the last couple weeks. It’s been fun.”
“[Riding the stationery bike] gets old,” added Greene. “It gets old. All that stuff does. But it’s good, too, just being around the guys a little bit more, getting a chance to kind of interact and be a part of the team again.”
Greene indicated that he has noticed improvement since he began skating about two weeks ago.
“Everything loosens up a little bit more,” he noted. “It’s just like coming off any injury. There’s always stiffness. The more stuff you do, the more you get ramped up. It gets a little stiffer, it gets a little heavier, but it’s feeling good right now.”
“Hopefully [Thursday] for pre-game skate, maybe get out there with the guys a little bit,” said Greene. “It’s just tough right now because there’s not a lot of spots in between games to get some good practices in, but I’m sure the coaches will figure out something.”
“[I want] to get out here with some practices with these guys and see how it feels to get bumped around and maybe to give a hit,” added Greene. “I think that’s when your real conditioning comes into play, you know, if you can get physical in the corners, and still not be gassed. That’s probably my next step, is just getting in some real practices.”
Greene’s comments appear to indicate that light contact could be part of his first skate, but Sutter indicated otherwise.
“We hope he can skate [on Thursday],” said head coach Darryl Sutter. “It won’t be contact, but at least it’ll be with the group.”
During his rehabilitation work, Greene has been around the Kings practice facility. But even with all the young defensemen now with the team, Greene is not playing the role of a volunteer assistant coach.
“I don’t tell them anything,” said Greene. “These guys get enough coaching, and they’re all good enough, too. There’s a reason they’re all here playing. Guys don’t need it from anybody else who’s not around the team, so I just be there for a pat on the ass more than anything else.”
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