Reporting from Nashville — The Kings' defense corps lost much of its size and brawn Friday when Matt Greene returned to Los Angeles for evaluation of an apparent head injury and Willie Mitchell was ruled out on a week-to-week basis because of a lower-body injury he suffered Thursday at St. Louis.
General Manager Dean Lombardi said via e-mail he had not called up replacements because of issues related to the holiday roster freeze and the possibility Marco Sturm soon will be activated. From midnight local time Sunday through midnight local time Dec. 27, teams won't be permitted to waive, trade or loan players. There are some exceptions, such as emergency recalls.
The defense pairs at Friday's practice were Rob Scuderi-Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson-Peter Harrold and Alec Martinez-Davis Drewiske.
Greene was hit hard Monday by Detroit's Niklas Kronwall but practiced Wednesday. He felt ill Thursday and didn't play against the Blues. Mitchell left the St. Louis game in the second period and saw a doctor Friday in Nashville. It's believed he hurt his knee, but the NHL doesn't require teams to disclose information about injuries. He will remain with the team for now.
Bernier gets a rare start
Jonathan Bernier, who recorded his only career shutout at Nashville last March and earned one of his two victories this season over the Predators on Nov. 6, will start against them Saturday. That will give Jonathan Quick a break after eight straight starts and could boost the confidence of Bernier, who has a 3.30 goals-against average and .889 save percentage.