Waking up with the Kings: March 19 - LA Kings Insider

-Last night’s shutout was a strong step towards regaining consistency and building momentum for Jonathan Quick, and a very important start will be his next one – whether that’s tonight versus Phoenix or Thursday night against Dallas. For those who have questioned Sutter’s heavy usage of Quick, here is my interpretation of his reasoning: for this team to find postseason and long-term success, it is paramount for Jonathan Quick to work himself back towards the high level of play he demonstrated throughout last season and the playoffs. The more time he shares with Jonathan Bernier, the less time he’ll have in a shortened season to find that rhythm. Having two quality goalies on the roster is a “problem” any team would love to have. There is no better example of the complete 180 degree turnaround in this franchise’s goaltending fortunes than by reading responses to my Twitter reports when Quick leaves the ice first at the morning skate. “UGGH, THE REIGNING CONN SMYTHE TROPHY WINNER, AGAIN? BLECCH” is how I translate those replies. In the final night that the purple-and-black jerseys will be worn, let us all pour out a sip in remembrance of the Roman Cechmanek/Dan Cloutier/Yutaka Fukufuji era.

-One of the more telling statistics of the Kings’ resurgence has been Drew Doughty’s improved plus-minus rating over the last month despite maintaining his stratospheric time-on-ice. He’s a plus-nine since the team returned from its Alberta swing and ranks fifth in the league in TOI. Other than Erik Karlsson, who appeared in 14 games before suffering a season-ending injury, Doughty has the best plus-minus out of any player who averages at least 26 minutes of ice time. It’s fairly impressive, considering (as blog reader Shiny noted in the comments last night) Doughty ranks second in the league in even strength time-on-ice. As Darryl Sutter mentioned in discussing Anze Kopitar’s attributes yesterday, plus-minus is a telling statistic when plus-players log heavy ice time and regularly see shifts against the opposition’s top players. Kings fans can live with his lack of goals if Jake Muzzin continues to blast away and Doughty every once in a while utilizes his “one-man breakout” in which he receives pressure behind the net, skates his way out of harm, turns on the jets while gaining the neutral zone and enters the attacking zone with the puck. I’m not sure if he wants to make a habit of consistently relying on that one-man breakout, but boy, was that fun to watch live and in Technicolor (to borrow from Sutter) in the first period last night.

-So, Tyler Toffoli’s first goal: kind of impressive for a rebound goal, eh? After Jeff Carter poked a contested puck into some open space, a well-positioned Toffoli appeared to get every last ounce of a bouncing puck to beat Mike Smith up high on his short side. He made a nice adjustment to wait for it as it rolled towards him, and when he made contact it appeared his head was almost straight down before coming up to finish off a textbook release. Also: good on the officials to understand the situation and allow for the Staples Center crowd to shower the rookie with some love in just his second NHL game.

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

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.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

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


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.

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.