It has been a tough month for the Kings' Matt Johnson, who spent part of it skating with his brother Nathaniel's team of 11- and 12-year-olds near Toronto, part of it practicing with no reward in view, and another part of it apologizing.
He last played Nov. 19, when he lowered the boom on the New York Rangers' Jeff Beukeboom and received a 12-game suspension from the NHL, the league's longest penalty in this suspension-laden season.
That ends tonight, when Johnson is eligible to play against Pittsburgh.
Whether he will remains to be seen, because the Kings have shuffled lines and like what they saw in a 4-1 victory over Chicago on Sunday night.
"Any time you're forced to take a month off, it's hard," Johnson said.
Winger Donald Audette reported soreness from playing in his first game Sunday at Chicago.
Audette counted the Blackhawks among the teams he spurned to sign with the Kings, who sent a draft choice to Buffalo for his services.