Andrej Sekera’s Los Angeles debut could be viewed as a Baptism by Fire, to quote Darryl Sutter when he spoke about Jake Muzzin’s acclimation to regular playing time on a strong team. With little more than some systems review, an optional morning skate and a few handshakes with his new teammates to prepare him for an important divisional game, the Kings inserted their brand new trade acquisition into the lineup in Friday’s game at Anaheim, and away they went.
This stretch of play with the Kings will be Sekera’s first extended look on the right side since his final season with the Buffalo Sabres in 2012-13, when he found himself in several different roles. “That year, we were rotating everybody everywhere,” he said on Friday.
It’s a challenge to acclimate a player who has never played for a team outside of the Eastern Time Zone, as Darryl Sutter also noted.
“It’s a big adjustment coming into this conference,” said Sutter, who noted that Sekera’s debut was “OK.”
“A player who’s never played in this conference, it’s not just step in and ‘away you go,’ and it doesn’t matter what position you are. It’s not easy.”
Sekera logged 21:32 of ice time in the Kings’ 4-2 loss to the Ducks, 20:24 of which was spent at even strength on a game that featured only four combined minutes of special teams time. He attempted five shots – four of which were blocked – and recorded a block of his own.
With his first game behind him, Sekera was asked about his debut and his approach to the final 21 regular season games.
Andrej Sekera, on his debut:
If we would’ve won that would’ve been even better, but I tried to jump in and keep my game simple. Tried to get used to the new system and stuff like that with the guys, what are their habits and stuff like that. It’s still a learning experience for me.
Sekera, on what he found himself reinforcing during the first period on Friday:
Just keep it simple and pass the puck to the first open guy. It makes his life easier and also mine, so that’s my approach, and try to support the guys and try to be a good teammate.
Sekera, on joining a Kings team in the midst of a playoff push:
Every game is important. There is not easy game in this league. You take the same approach to every game, and you try to do your best to win a hockey game, so that’s basically my approach.
Sekera, on his first full-team practice on Saturday:
It was different. It was kind of a strange feeling, but I got that one out of the way and got the first game out of the way, and I’ll do my best and will only better and better.
Sekera, on simplifying his approach:
Hockey is an easy game if you make it easy on yourself, so I’ve tried to do it that way and make it easy on myself and the guys who I play with, and I make sure we do right thing right away.