Three players switched positions in practice today, but only one was relatively dramatic. Andrei Loktionov is a natural center and Dustin Brown has played left wing in the past and, in some ways, feels more comfortable there (more on that later). Then there’s Jarret Stoll, a center for most of his eight-year NHL career who will now move to right wing alongside left winger Simon Gagne and center Mike Richards. After practice today, Stoll talked about the move and about the Kings’ need to get things going offensively…
STOLL: “I played it a couple times last year. I think, with Zeus [Michal Handzus] I played it a couple games. Me and Rick [Mike Richards] talked about it. It doesn’t really change too, too much. I’ll take the faceoffs on the strong side and he will take them on his side. Then we’ll interchange a lot and read off each other. I thought we read off each other last night pretty well. Gags, he likes to go up and down the wing. So we’ll just get more shots, shoot the puck more down the wing. I think that was obviously the emphasis in practice today, was to get more shots from everywhere, and find those loose pucks and go to the net and get rebounds. So hopefully we can get the puck to the net a little bit more from the right side too, off the wing, and go from there.’’
Question: How do you consistently get that mentality in place?
STOLL: “Some games we do it, and it’s pretty obvious, either on the power play or 5-on-5, and we’re just firing from everywhere. Then there’s some games when we just try to pass it into the net and get way too fancy, some between-the-leg passes and too many passes. We’ve had a lot of those games. You’ve just got to get those out of your system and just concentrate on shooting the puck. So many good things can happen from it, obviously. We just have to get that mindset and actually do it.’’
Question: Were you surprised to come in today and see the changes?
STOLL: “Usually when we have a big shuffle like this, it means that things have gone stale, to the point where our offense is struggling pretty bad. Get something going, kick-start the offense somehow. Maybe some guys find chemistry together, that haven’t played together. So, you never know.’’