EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Tyler Toffoli was deep asleep when Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi tried his cell phone Thursday night several times to give him and teammate Linden Vey the big news: They were being recalled from the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League because of an injury to Jeff Carter.
"I was taking a nap and I turned over and I had like six missed calls," Toffoli said.
"I was confused. I had a 310 [area code] number [on my phone]. I didn't have his number on my phone. I didn't really know what to expect, and then once he picked us up [in the car], we were just trying to go through our heads and see what we did wrong for Dean have this meeting with us. Fortunately, it was a good meeting."
After two of their flights were delayed because of the shooting at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday morning, Toffoli and Vey were gratefully on the ice at the morning skate Saturday before Los Angeles played the Nashville Predators.
Carter went on injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 30 with a lower-body injury sustained late in the game Wednesday. He played through it and was on the ice for the overtime goal that beat the San Jose Sharks, but L.A. will have to make up for his five goals (tied for the team lead with Justin Williams) and special-teams contributions.
Toffoli skated on left wing with Mike Richards and Daniel Carcillo; Vey took turns with Colin Fraser at center on the fourth line with Kyle Clifford and Matt Frattin.
Toffoli made his NHL debut late last season and played 10 regular-season games. His impact was greater in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, when he had two goals and four assists in 12 games. This season Toffoli is a point-per-game producer for the first place Manchester, as is Vey.
Asked if Toffoli and Vey could build off their training camps, Kings coach Darryl Sutter said, "Neither one had specifically good training camps, did they?"
Sutter later admitted that a lot has been asked of Toffoli, 21, and Vey, 22.
"We put too much pressure as an organization on those players to play on the team, when they're just boys," Sutter said. "There's nothing that makes Tyler any different than anybody else other than he's 21 years old. It's not like we're a last-place team. It's not like we have a division title clinched. He's trying to play on a good team. It's not that easy."
Toffoli said it was difficult going back to the AHL but, "You have to perform and deserve to be up here, so luckily it was a pretty good start this season and the whole team is doing well in [Manchester]. It was good. Obviously it's a good feeling being back up here."
Toffoli has given Vey at least one tip on making his NHL debut and playing at this level.
"He's definitely a guy who's been through it a bit, especially getting called up a couple of times last year," Vey said. "The hardest thing is finding your spot. I think you've got to make sure you play your game and don't get away from that."
Here is the expected lineup for the Kings:
Dwight King – Anze Kopitar – Justin Williams
Tyler Toffoli – Mike Richards – Daniel Carcillo
Dustin Brown – Jarret Stoll – Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford – Linden Vey / Colin Fraser – Matt Frattin
Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty
Robyn Regehr – Slava Voynov
Willie Mitchell – Matt Greene
Injured: Jeff Carter (lower body)
Scratched: Jordan Nolan, Alec Martinez
NOTES: Sutter mixed his defense pairs Wednesday and liked it enough to stick with it.
"Mitchell and Greene play together killing penalties exclusively," Sutter said. "Robyn and Slava have played together off and on, depending on how much ice time Drew's getting. Muzzin we're trying [to get him] to assume a little bit more responsibility in his game, so if you play with Drew Doughty a little bit 5-on-5 you should assume a little more responsibility. Whether that's accomplished or not, we find out."