After shellacking the Pittsburg Penguins 6-0 on Saturday, the Los Angeles Kings took practice Sunday ahead of the Super Bowl.
There was a few big stories to come out of practice, mainly surrounding Gabe Vilardi and Todd McLellan addressing trade rumors.
Vilardi Back in Grey
After spending last week in a red non-contact jersey, Vilardi returned today in a regular grey jersey, indicating he'll be ready to return soon.
McLellan did confirm, "he won't go tomorrow (Monday)." Sill, Vilardi is very close and should be back in for Friday's Freeway Faceoff against the Anaheim Ducks.
But where does he play? Vilardi took some reps with Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe on wing, but McLellan said that isn't where he'll slot in when he returns.
"No, we haven't thought that far ahead. As injured guys come back into the lineup we shuffle the lines a little bit. But there's no intent there, at all, of playing Gabe in that situation. It's just, when you have an extra body you try and think of who might spell in practice. Not that today's practice was taxing, but who played a lot of minutes? Who maybe tired? Who's maybe going to play again? And sometimes you throw that extra player on that line so, the other individual gets a rest."
I also caught up with Vilardi to discuss the injury and how the injuries early in his career have impacted how he approaches them now.
"Yes and no, I mean, yeah it makes it a little easier because I kind of know how to deal with it. But, at the same time you never want to be injured, it's a shitty feeling. Yeah, it helps a little in that sense but also it's still shitty.
He then touched on if he has concerns about injury issues returning.
"No, it was a long time ago. I dealt with what I dealt with and that's kind of in the past and I think that injuries happen. I don't expect to play every game for my entire career. That's how it works, that's how this league is, it's so hard to play every night so yeah, they happen."
McLellan on trade rumors:
McLellan then addressed if players are aware of trade rumors surrounding the team and if it bleeds its way into the room.
"I think that, players hear these things. They might say 'I don't read the newspapers and I don't listen to TV' but they hear things. They're on social media and everybody wants to get better. But as I said last night, we like the group of players we have. We like the team we've built, we like the chemistry that we have. If we can make it better and it works out then great. And if not, then we'll be just fine with the group that we have."