August 29, 2013 10:36 am

Carcillo familiar with Kings players, style

Daniel Carcillo held sway in the music that played throughout the Chicago Blackhawks’ dressing room, and during the 2011-12 season hosted an hour-long showThe Bomb Shelter – on WGN Radio.

A longtime Led Zeppelin fan, Carcillo was a guest of Led Zeppelin 2 when the tribute band played the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip earlier this month and was asked to choose some of the songs to fill out the setlist.

His favorite Zeppelin tune?

“Jeez, there are so many. I’d say When the Levee Breaks, I guess. There’s a lot,” he said, noting that he enjoys many of the band’s “off-wall” tunes and deep cuts.

Now that he is Over The Hills And Far Away from the Blackhawks, with whom he spent two seasons, it still remains to be seen if he’ll be afforded similar clout with the Kings when it comes to setting the team’s musical course within the locker room.

Dustin Penner, whose electronic-laced musical inclination influenced the team’s playlists, is no longer on the team. Jeff Carter has stepped in to fill the musical void – and that’s fine by Carcillo, who doesn’t expect to hold much Pandora-uthority before appearing in a game with his new teammates.

“You’ve kind of got to feel it out, you know, you can’t jump right in there. That’s what I’m going to do,” he said. “But it would be nice to have a little input.”

As someone who spent three seasons in the Pacific Division with Phoenix before heading to Philadelphia for a three-year stint that brought him close with Carter and Mike Richards, Carcillo battled injuries during his two seasons spent with the Chicago Blackhawks and appeared in only 26 minutes and 44 seconds of Chicago’s postseason action, spread across four games. He was traded to Los Angeles on July 16 for a conditional 2015 draft pick and has one year and $825,000 remaining on his current contract.

Like Matt Greene, he also suffered a season-altering injury in the January 19 season opener at Staples Center. Starting the season on a line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, he left the game in the third period after a collision with Drew Doughty left him with an injured knee that did not require surgery. By the time he returned just over a month later, Brandon Saad was in the early stages of developing the credentials for his Calder Trophy candidacy while skating alongside Toews and Hossa.

Carcillo suffered an injury to the opposite knee that required season-ending surgery in January, 2012.

“The way I’ve played, other than the last two years, have kind of been fortunate in the way that I’ve kind of avoided injury,” Carcillo said. “The way I play, I think it caught up to me the last couple of years. Me and Dean [Lombardi] have had this talk, and I appreciate the opportunity, and it’s my final year in my contract, and obviously you think about those things. But for me, the biggest thing is just I feel like myself again on the ice. I’m at a good weight and I feel strong. Mentally I feel that I could do anything again, where that might not have been the case last year or the year before. Going through something that I went through, it’s definitely tough, but I don’t foresee myself having any problems this year. Honestly, I don’t even think about it. I feel really good on the ice skating with the guys, and I’m happy and in a good situation, and I’m just excited to start the year on a team that really has a chance to win a Stanley Cup – another one, anyway.”

That campaign will be waged alongside players whom he has grown to develop relationships with, despite playing for Western Conference rivals in Phoenix and Chicago for the slight majority of his 333-game NHL Career.

“I mean, the hockey world’s kind of small. I’ve known Dustin [Brown]. I played against Dustin in the OHL, and obviously I know Mike and Jeff from Philly, and we’ve stayed really good friends. So it’s a lot easier to come to a team and when you know two guys and you’re comfortable with them. It makes it a whole lot easier. I’ve known Matt Greene for a little bit in passing. Everyone on the team seems great. I’ve met Quickie and Frattin, and everyone seems really nice, and that’s usually the way it goes. All hockey guys are down to earth guys, and the style that this team plays is right up my alley, so I’m really excited to be here.”

It’s not only Los Angeles’ on-ice style that vibes well with Carcillo’s puck-hounding, agitating characteristics. There’s also the identity and expectations set up by a largely intact group of players that has found recent success.

“It’s kind of just an attitude and the culture there. It’s all about just hard-nosed, kind of blue collar attitude, where that’s kind of been my whole career where every game, every shift, I try and give everything I have. I think it fits well with the system and reading off guys and it’s fast, and it’s go-go-go, and everybody’s finishing hits, and you know it’s going to be a tough game when you come up against L.A. There are big bodies, and obviously we have great goaltending, and I think one of the bigger things now is that all the guys are proven winners, kind of like last year in Chicago. You know that there’s that core group of guys that have won, and they know what it takes, and they lead the way. I think that’s a big thing to have on a team.”

There’s also the opportunity for Carcillo to play in his second NHL outdoor game. After taking on Shawn Thornton at Fenway Park in 2010 in the first fight in Winter Classic History, he’s excited for the opportunity to play in front of family and friends in the Kings-Ducks Stadium Series game at Dodger Stadium on January 25.

Until then, he’s planning on attending his first Dodger game as a fan alongside his new teammates.

“Hopefully I’ll go watch a game before we get started here. It’s an exciting day for everyone, and I’m just glad that California has a chance to host one of these. I think Jeff is throwing out the first pitch at one of them.”

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