Kings Report – Jan. 15 - LA Kings Insider

Outside the Toyota Training Center, an unseasonable cold spell continued to grip Los Angeles. Inside, Coach Darryl Sutter turned up the heat on the Kings as he put his team through a spirited practice, full of tempo and contact, in preparation for Saturday’s season opener vs. Chicago.

“It was our fourth practice today and we built in a little game situation with some contact,” Sutter said. “In a normal camp situation, this would be our fourth day but it’s our third day and fourth practice after skating last night. Generally, you would be playing a preseason game today.”

As goaltender Jonathan Quick noted, “Darryl’s practices are a little more up-tempo than a lot of guys have practiced in the past. But you need that jump and you got to get that speed because that’s what it’s going to be when the games start. I think it’s going well, everybody is excited to be out there.”

So the Kings practiced like they were playing game. They competed hard along the boards for pucks and did not shy away from contact.

As Saturday’s opener drew a day closer, Quick said his preparation has been ramped up, too. He has worked with the team’s coaching staff to create more game-like scenarios.

“Billy (Ranford) and I and Darryl (Sutter) have talked about getting some more end zone, five-on-five, five-on-four situations. Just more situational type stuff you see in games. Just so you get those reads. For a goalie, you are getting five guys that you have to keep an eye on as opposed to a drill where it is one or two shooters, and they come down and go in the corner. It’s more situational. You have to follow the puck after you make a save and you have to be aware of everyone else on the ice.”

Defenseman Rob Scuderi, who was a member of the Pittsburgh teams that played in back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals in 2008 and ’09 (winning in ’09), talked about the difficulty of repeating in today’s NHL.

“I think it’s just the parity of the league,” Scuderi said. “It’s been pretty evident since the ’04-05 lockout that there is a lot of parity in the league and there are a lot more teams that have a chance to win each year. As compared to before, when you said there were eight-to-ten teams that had a realistic chance. Now, I think that number is much higher.”

Scuderi believes the Kings would have been ready to begin their defense had the season started on time, but said the added rest afforded by the lockout could be beneficial. Still, the work stoppage dragged on for far too long.

“I think we would have been fine (had the season started on time),” Scuderi said. “We would have been ready to go. At the same time, it’s always good to get a little bit of extra rest. But this stretched longer than any of us wanted it to go. As much as you would have liked a little more rest to let your body recoup, nobody wanted to miss any hockey.”

Under normal circumstances, Scuderi said, a Stanley Cup winning season and the ensuing season of defending the title can run together. The Kings won’t face that problem.

“I know the two times I went to the Finals with Pittsburgh,” Scuderi said, “(when you start the next season) you kind of feel like you never left. For us, with the extra rest and the fact that we bring back the same team, the same coaching staff and the same philosophies, hopefully that will be an advantage for us.”

Winger Dwight King began last season with Manchester before recalled, along with Jordan Nolan, on Feb. 10. Unlike 2011-12, King will begin this season as a King, which – coupled with the shortened training camp – brings a different vibe.

“I think the whole camp situation is different,” King said. “Obviously, coming into this year, with only 24 guys here, it’s a little more of an in-house competition as opposed to when you are going to camp with 60 guys. It’s just kind of getting back to the fundamentals of what made us successful last year.

King and Nolan were credited with jumpstarting the Kings last year. But at the time of the recall, King’s only ambition was to help in any way possible.

“By calling me and Jordan up, the wanted to bring a little more size,” King said. “When it happened, you just think about bringing what you can to the team. You aren’t thinking about changing everything around.”

Because King arrived at the same time as Nolan and the two players had an undeniable impact on the Kings’ season, the two share an odd kinship. But even before uniting to help create a pivot point in the Kings’ Stanley Cup-winning season, King and Nolan shared a bond.

“I have lived Jordan for two-and-a-half years before coming up here, so I have had a really good friendship with him,” King said. “That made the transition easier for both of us. Coming up, we were able to rely on each other.”

King said he was able to be effective in last year’s postseason tourney by keeping things simple and playing to his strength.

“I started out with a little too much going on in my brain,” King said. “Then I got a little more comfortable and found my role and how I could be effective. Playing with Jarret (Stoll) and Trevor (Lewis) really focused in on getting hard on the fore-check and getting pucks on the net.”

When the Kings finally won the Stanley Cup after a 45-year quest last spring, radio play-by-play man Nick Nickson was not at a loss for words. Nickson punctuated the long-awaited title with this memorable radio call in the waning moments of Game 6: “The long wait is over. After 45 years, the Kings can wear their crowns. The Los Angeles Kings have won the Stanley Cup!”

Nickson’s call managed to pack nearly a half-century of frustration, hopes and dreams into a few choice words.

Nickson said when the Kings reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993, he never gave any thought to what he would have said had the Kings won it all. Last spring, however, other people started to wonder what his signature call might sound like if the Kings were able to close the deal.

“In the third round of the playoffs,” Nickson said, “a couple broadcasters asked me what I would say when the Kings won the Stanley Cup. I said, ‘Wait a minute – we have to win it first.’”

Still, the query got Nickson to thinking. He wanted to do the moment justice without overpowering it.

“I wanted to keep it short and not ramble on,” Nickson said at practice today.

When Nickson got the Stanley Cup for four hours in Sept., he had two things he wanted to accomplish.

“I wanted to invite longtime season ticket holders from my neighborhood in Santa Clarita,” Nickson said. “And, I wanted to raise money from people taking pictures – and everybody wanted to take a picture – for the Ace Bailey Children’s Foundation ( and Mark Bavis Leadership Foundation (”

Coach Darryl Sutter said Anze Kopitar skated for about an hour before the Kings’ practice this morning as he continues to rehab his sprained right knee. Sutter said Kopitar is taking his return “one step at a time.”

“The advantage he is going to have when he is ready,” Sutter said, “is that he has played 30 games already (for Mora IK in Sweden).”

Defenseman Willie Mitchell was at the facility but did not skate. Mitchell is still recovering from knee surgery in which cartilage was removed.

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

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


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.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

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


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.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

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


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.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

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


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.