The crew on the ice for an optional skate typically doesn’t change much. Usually, it’s the scratched players from the previous game, often accompanied by the third- and fourth-line forwards, younger defensemen such as Alec Martinez and Slava Voynov, and backup goalie Jonathan Bernier. Veteran defenseman, and noted rink rat, Willie Mitchell will often join in. This morning, though, captain Dustin Brown was on the ice before anyone. Brown, along with consultant Bernie Nicholls, worked on tip-in drills. On a morning when he didn’t need to be on the ice at all, Brown spent time working on his game. It’s the type of small thing that, by itself, might not mean a ton, but signifies leadership and an attitude of always seeking to improve.

BROWN: “This time of year, it’s getting what you need. It was an optional today. I just thought I’d go out early and specifically work on tips, just because I’ve been having a lot of opportunities to tip pucks and I’ve been missing them. You only get one or two opportunities a game to tip a puck. I just wanted to go out there and work on it a little bit.’’

On an unrelated note, Brown also shared a little bit of his leadership style when asked about the development of Drew Doughty. Brown was asked about the role that Mitchell has taken on, in terms of being something of a mentor to Doughty, and Brown was also asked about the ways in which he has tried to help Doughty. Within the locker room, Doughty seems to be considered as something of a little brother.

BROWN: “Drew, he has definitely grown a lot since his first year here. I think he’s had to do what most young players don’t, which is to grow under the spotlight. Most guys spend a few years in the minors and come up. He’s been in the spotlight ever since he’s been here, and he has handled it pretty well. Part of that is just the type of person he is, and part of it is the type of guys we have in the room, collectively, pushing him in the right direction. He’s definitely one of those guys (who), he acts like he’s not going to listen, but he does. That goes a long way.’’

Question: What is a way that he listens without seeming like it?

BROWN: “We’re roommates on the road. … He had the thermostat (wrong in the hotel room), and I think he has only missed it three times since.’’

Question: Is he like your fourth child?

BROWN: “Me and Lewie [Trevor Lewis] talk about it. I’m his chaperone on the road, and Lewie is his chaperone at home.’’

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Alec martinez

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 210 lb | Age: 29

Born: July 26, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester Hills, MI, USA
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Martinez was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 Draft, while playing for Miami University. He has since become a two-time Stanley Cup champion and the 17th man in Stanley Cup playoff history to score the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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