Dallas' Jamie Benn, upper left, scores between goalie Jonathan Bernier… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)
For Mike Richards, there are many questions and few answers at this stage of his recovery from a head injury suffered Dec. 1.
Such is the nature of a concussion.
The Kings aren't using that word — just as they did not do so last season with Drew Doughty. But they, and Richards, are showing the proper measure of caution, meaning a return to the lineup could take some time.
"It's frustrating watching and not being out there and obviously you want to go there, but you don't want to come back when you're not healthy and reinjure yourself," the center said Saturday morning. "As much as you want to be out there, you have to be smart about things."
These were his first comments since the injury, speaking a few hours before Dallas defeated the Kings, 2-1, the fourth consecutive loss for the home team.
The Stars got goals from Jamie Benn and Trevor Daley, with Daley's score, at 16:44 of the second period, making the difference.
Brad Richardson had the lone goal for the Kings, scoring on a short-handed effort in the first period. It was his first goal in 20 games this season.
The Kings honored former star Bernie Nicholls before the game and broke out their vintage "Forum blue and gold" uniforms, giving the night a nostalgic vibe.
Nicholls, who scored 70 goals in the 1988-89 season, had the best line of night, referring to himself and Wayne Gretzky: "That year he filled the Forum and I entertained it."
Nostalgia gave way to more frustration for Kings fans. The Kings took a seemingly endless stream of mindless penalties and they continued to struggle scoring. They have not scored more than two goals in a game in their last 8 contests.
Naturally, the absence of Richards continues to loom large. This was the fourth game he has missed since taking a hit in the head from the Florida Panthers' Sean Bergenheim.
Richards skated for a few minutes Friday but stayed off the ice Saturday morning. The Kings open a four-game trip Tuesday in Boston. Richards said he won't make the start but is hoping to join his teammates along the way, conceivably only to work out.
Kings Coach Terry Murray talked about the pros and cons of making the trip.
"That's such an area of unknown," Murray said. "Traveling, being around a lot of noise, or a lot of people asking every day how you are doing. It's hard. That's probably the cons against it.
"On the other side of it, you probably just continue to work out with the team. And you're around the team. And that's pretty comforting. I think that's up to the doctors and the medical staff to make that call."
In any event, Richards has some idea of what he is dealing with. "I've been injured like this before," he said, referring to a concussion when he was with the Flyers. "Like I said, it's just time. It's nothing you can rush."
Richards said it has been difficult dealing with a change in his routine. "It's just not the same," he said. "You're not with the guys in the dressing room. You always feel like you could be doing more.
"Like I said, you don't want to push things."
As expected, Kings forward Ethan Moreau cleared waivers, and the team immediately assigned him to Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League.