…consider today’s odd sequence with Darius Kasparaitis, the injured defenseman who has been out of the lineup for the first three games of the year.
At almost every juncture over the past two weeks, the subject of Kasparaitis’ availability has been discussed either with Tom Renney or with Kasparaitis himself. The recurring theme has been that the veteran is indeed showing progress in his conditioning work; and considering that he was practicing alongside Karel Rachunek today in practice, one got the sense that his return to the lineup was imminent.
And yet, when Kasparaitis walked off the ice after some more conditioning tests this afternoon, he was visibly frustrated. Although he wouldn’t tell a group of us around his locker how exactly he fared, it was apparent he wasn’t happy. A few questions ensued—does he feel better, is he getting frustrated—and then mid-sentence, Kasparaitis just up and walked away.
It was so abrupt, we all looked at one another as if we weren’t sure what happened. And just when we thought Kasparaitis was gone for the day, he walked back into the room and proceeded to answer the rest of our questions.
Like I said, strange stuff. Now, even if he wouldn’t allow as much, the natural deduction from all of this is that Kasparaitis isn’t back to where he wants to be, and either the coaching staff or the tests revealed as much to him today. I’m not sure where that leaves him in terms of being ready for tomorrow against the Penguins.
Either way, though, it’s obviously not something he’s taking lightly.