Coach Sigi Schmid said James Riley took part in some work today, and the hope is that he will be ready to play Saturday at San Jose, however that will depend on his passing the league-mandated tests for concussions.
Last night, Zach Scott got the start in Riley's absence, and he said he didn't get much more notice than anyone else. He was put on alert on Thursday night that he might be needed, then told Friday afternoon that he would certainly be on the 18-man roster, and then told about 15 minutes before warmups that he would get the start.
"I think I’ve got enough years under my belt where I know how to prepare," Scott said. "That’s one of the things that the coaches kind of hammer into us: You don’t know what’s going to happen … when the actual game comes, so everybody has to be prepared."
The other lineup changes were pure coach's decision: Patrick Ianni in place of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, and Brad Evans and Erik Friberg and eventually even Mauro Rosales ahead of designated player Alvaro Fernandez.
"There’s always competition," Schmid said. "It’s there, and guys who are going to perform well are going to play. Kennedy’s situation I think is more of just coming off the injury. It takes a little bit of time when you come in and out a little bit. In (Fernandez’s) situation it’s not where he’s played that poorly, but it’s also a situation where we think Friberg has played better. It’s a case of trying to play the guy you think’s been better."
The start was satisfying for Ianni, who played well last season when pressed into service when Hurtado went down, and then sliding back to a reserve role for the first two games this season.
"It was tough," he said. "I know with Jhon coming back I know Sigi wanted to give us equal opportunity. ... Unfortunately I had a couple of injuries in preseason – my groin and my ribs – that kind of made it difficult. The groin toward the middle of preseason and my ribs right toward the end there – the Vancouver game – and I think that set me back a little bit for sure. I was able to put in a lot of work in preseason – I say depositing a lot of work into my fitness back in like pre-preseason, before we really came together as a team, and that really paid off for me."