Kings coach Darryl Sutter didn't bother to waste everybody's time with the whole "game-time decision" thing. Center Mike Richards will not play in Game 3 against the Blackhawks tonight at the Staples Center.
Richards suffered a head injury when he was checked hard by Dave Bolland in the final minutes of the Hawks' 2-1 victory in Game 1. He was suffering concussion symptoms after the hit and was a late scratch from Game 2, which the Hawks won 4-2. Richards still is suffering symptoms and was not even on the ice for the Kings during their morning skate on Tuesday.
''If Mike Richards was making the decision, Mike Richards is playing tonight,'' Sutter said. ''You have guys who don't want to play. You have guys who do want to play. Mike Richards is a guy who wants to play.
Losing Richards, the Kings' top two-way forward, deals a significant blow to the Kings' hopes of recovering from a 2-0 deficit. But they did their best to downplay his absence. The Kings have been dealing with injuries all season. Jarret Stoll just returned from a head injury he suffered at the hands of San Jose's Raffi Torres in Game 1 of the Kings series with the Sharks.
''It's one of those things. It's tough. we definitely miss him,'' Stoll said. ''We got to have guys step up and play better when guys are out. Guys did it when I was out. Guys have to do it when Mike is out. It's no different. You're not a good team unless you can do those kinds of things and we're still playing, so I think we're a pretty good team. We've got to battle through it.''
Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson called the loss of Richards ''one less threat on the ice,'' but also said the Kings have enough depth to withstand the loss of Richards.
''He adds a different dimension for the team. He's a huge part of their game,'' Hajalmarsson said. ''He's not a big guy but he plays big. He has a big heart, you can see that. He plays tough every shift. Great passer, great shooter.
''Obviously as a defenseman, it's one less threat on the ice. They've got good players, another forward stepping in last game had a goal and assist [Tyler Toffoli]. There are always good players when you come to the third round of the playoffs, but it's a big loss for them, for sure."