Ben Scrivens was acquired over the summer from the Toronto Maple Leafs along with Matt Frattin and a second round draft pick in exchange for Jonathan Bernier.
Competition often breeds success, and Scrivens arrived at training camp in September having to battle against former King goaltender and camp tryout Mathieu Garon in order to serve as the backup to entrenched starter Jonathan Quick, whose 10-year, 58-million dollar contract kicks in this season.
Scrivens finished the season with a standout performance through just over 32 minutes of action in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche, stopping 17-of-18 shots. On Sunday, it was announced that Garon was released from his training camp tryout.
“He got better every game,” Darryl Sutter said of Scrivens. “Obviously with the goaltenders, it was basically a three-man deal with seven games to play, and you get your big guy ready, and we wanted to give Jonathan Quick eight periods, which we did, and we wanted to make sure the goaltenders got equal opportunity to fight for the second spot, and Scrivens got better as the camp went and outplayed Garon. Simple.”
Ben Scrivens, on having to compete for a spot on the Kings:
Well, to get to this point in anyone’s career, you have to earn spots at every level. Little kids go through it when they’re trying to make rep teams and top teams in their club organizations and stuff. It doesn’t change when you get older. You’re always fighting for a spot. There are only 60 spots in the league, and they’re highly coveted. Everybody wants one. I’m extremely fortunate and grateful that I’m here, that I’m an L.A. King now. Now that the real work begins, you’ve got to come to work each and every day and try and get better, and try and help the team. I don’t want to say the easy part’s done – it’s going to be a lot of hard work this season – but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Scrivens, on his reaction to learning Garon would be invited to camp:
All that stuff’s out of my control. I try not to worry about too much of that stuff. I’ve been fortunate through the early part of my career that I’ve been put in a lot of situations where it’s kind of tested my mettle in that regard, where maybe things haven’t gone exactly the way you wanted them to – or thought they should have gone. But in the end, all you can do is focus on your job on the ice, and that’s stopping pucks. The more you let stuff creep into your subconscious and let it get into your own head a little bit, it’s detrimental to your performance on the ice. For me, I don’t remember exactly when I had heard, but it’s not like I didn’t expect there to be competition. Not even if it wasn’t Matty – who’s a good veteran guy – it’s from Martin Jones and J.F. Berube and the young guys who are pushing for spots, too. There is always competition. There’s always someone trying to take your spot, and you’ve got to battle for it. That’s the life of playing professional hockey.
Scrivens, on there being “more at stake” in battling in for an NHL job:
Yeah, I mean, obviously. You always want to play at the highest level that you think you’re capable of. Again, a lot of times those decisions are out of your control, who the coaches decide they want on their team. But all you can do is try and stop the puck out there. If you take care of your end of the bargain, then a lot of times good things will come for you. That’s kind of my approach – to try and stop as many pucks as I can in practice and in games. Before, when I was trying to make teams, it was ‘make the coaching staff make a difficult decision to have to send you down.’ Hopefully I made them make an easy decision to keep me around.
Scrivens, on whether he took the ice on Saturday thinking he had to “prove something”:
I don’t know. I try not to get into story lines. ‘I really knew I had to…,’ all that stuff. It sounds great in newspapers and magazines, but the reality of it is every single game you try and play the best you can. So if you start ‘really trying’ for this game because it means something, then that means that you weren’t really trying for the other games. I kind of like to try and play to the best of my ability each and every game. Sometimes you have it, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you get bounces, and stuff. But the effort should be there every day. So Saturday, for me, was no different. Granted, I felt more comfortable. I felt more comfortable as camp went along. So Saturday was kind of a cap on that, where it probably was the most comfortable I felt in a game situation in the preseason. It was good for myself to have a strong outing there, and I’m obviously happy to be here now.
Jonathan Quick on whether it is important for both goalies to have a solid relationship:
Yeah, obviously, yeah, not with just the two goalies, but with any two players on the team. You want your team to be as tight knit as possible. It always helps a better product on the ice when guys are playing for each other and really care about each other. Obviously it is important with the goaltenders, but it’s no different with any two players on the team.
Quick, on whether he has gotten to know Scrivens well:
We had the opportunity as a group – we had a trip out to Colorado. You spend a few nights, and obviously for the guys that have been together for a few years together for a few years, it’s good to kind of catch up, and for the guys that were new to the team, it was good to really get a good opportunity to know them, have a good time with them. All the new guys on the team here, they’re great additions – not only Scrivs, but you’ve got Carc in here, and you’ve Frats in here. It’s good to get to know ‘em. I know at the end of the day, we’re all just looking forward to the season here. Everybody has the same goal, and that’s what we’re looking to do.
Quick, on opening the season with back-to-back games in hockey environments:
You know what, though? Those are the games you play for, those exciting great atmosphere games. Obviously Minnesota and Winnipeg are great hockey cities, so there will be a lot of energy. Those games are real fun. You almost get the sense of like the first couple games of playoffs where you get that excitement because you’re not really feeling out. You’re trying to impose your will right off the start – and so is the other team – so it turns into such a quick game, and everything is happening so fast. You’ve got to be as prepared as possible, and just enjoy it. Those are fun games in the year to play.