SAN JOSE — The Game 1 hit that knocked Los Angeles Kings center Jarret Stoll out of this series with a concussion and resulted in the suspension of Sharks left wing Raffi Torres has obviously had an impact on both teams.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter said immediately that the Kings would suffer the bigger loss and Sunday morning, as Stoll skated for a second day, he elaborated on his thinking.
"He's more of a situational player so there's no question," Sutter said of Stoll. "You take a center out or you take a winger out that plays the same amount of minutes? Guarantee the center has more of an impact in your lineup."
The ability to take faceoffs is a key positional difference, but Sutter also cited Stoll's role on special teams.
"I'm sure they miss Raffi, too, in their own way. But it's a significant difference in position. It's like taking a starting pitcher or a right fielder. Which one do you want?
The easiest place to plug players is on the wings. You can't do in goal, you can't do it in center. We are having to move kids into the middle and quite honestly, Trevor Lewis has done an awesome job for us."
The Sharks, of course, miss Torres's speed, physical play and occasional offensive contributions. But equally significant, they have had to move Joe Pavelski back on a top line rather than use him as a third-line center, breaking up the winning formula that helped San Jose make the playoffs and sweep the Vancouver Canucks in the first round.
Stoll talked with the Los Angeles Times after his skate and said Torres, a former teammate with the Edmonton Oilers, reached out to him after the hit. The two are close enough friends that Stoll was in Torres' wedding party.