March 6: Bus Texts with Stothers - LA Kings Insider

After every Reign road game I’ll try to catch up with head coach Mike Stothers from the bus (this time, to the team hotel) to get some texts on his assessment of the game. Here’s what he had to say after Sunday’s road rout of San Antonio.

Reign 5, Rampage 1
Ontario used a three-goal first period (Jordan Samuels-Thomas, Sean Backman and Nic Dowd) to rout San Antonio in a road win after going a week without a game. It was Michael Mersch and Kevin Gravel’s first game back with Ontario since being with the Kings and Brett Sutter’s first with the team after being acquired at the NHL trade deadline. Defenseman Kurtis MacDermid had to leave the game in the third after a punch from behind by Daniel Maggio, which Stothers emphatically addresses in this post. MacDermid did return to the bench, but did not take another shift.

ORI: Obviously a great start. Guys looked fresh after not playing for a week. How pleased were you with the start and how much was that talked about going in?
Stothers: We scored ten seconds into the game, a good way to start but I did not think we played very well. We looked like a team that had a long layoff between games. Mishandling pucks, some missed assignments. Perhaps it was timing related, or the ice conditions. In any case we have played better, and lost. So I suppose I should be happy that we were a little off and still found a way to win.
ORI: Mersch scores in his return. Very Mersch-like goal. How were he and Gravel tonight in your opinion?
Stothers: It’s always great to have those two in the lineup. They bring so much to the team on, and off, the ice. Both very reliable and dependable. They help our penalty killing immensely (Note: PK finished 6-for-6). As a coach you just know what you are going to get from these guys every shift. They raise the level of their teammates as well.
ORI: How was Sutter in his debut? Saw he got some PK time already.
Stothers: Brett did very well considering it was his first game with a new team and systems. He may have been nervous but he certainly did not let on. He worked hard, played his position and played the right way.
ORI: Looked like MacDermid came back to the bench late, but did not play. How is he doing?
Stothers: Dermy took a hell of a shot to the face on a sucker punch from Maggio. No excuse, or explanation can ever justify what he did. That’s the type of crap that injures people and has no business in our game. He fights McGrattan toe to toe and knocks him out cold with a well placed punch to the jaw. What the hell does he think is going to happen when he sucker punches Dermy? He could have seriously injured Kurtis or ended his career. I have no time, and zero patience, for an act of such cowardice. The more I watch it the more sickened I become. That’s not a sign of toughness it’s an act of stupidity. There is no room for that crap in our game or anywhere else for that matter. First name gutless, last name stupid.

Here is video of the incident, courtesy of Sheng Peng:

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Kevin Gravel

#4 | 6′ 4″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: DOB: 2/17/1996
Birthplace: KINGSFORD, MI
Position: D


Gravel made his NHL debut with Los Angeles in the 2015-16 season, skating with the Kings for four games before returning to AHL affiliate Ontario.

Rob Scuderi

#0 | 6′ 1″ | 212 lb | Age: 37

Born: DOB: 12/30/1978
Birthplace: SYOSSET, NY
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Scuderi is currently playing for the Reign while under contract with the LA Kings. He has won two Stanley Cups, once with the Pittsburgh Penguins and with the Kings.

Michael Mersch

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 225 lb | Age: 24

Born: DOB: 10/2/1992
Birthplace: PARK RIDGE, IL
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Drafted by the Kings in 2011, Mersch is currently playing forward for the Reign. Last season, he drew into his first NHL game for the Kings, where he registered 2 shots and 3 hits.

Michael Latta

#24 | 6′ 0″ | 207 lb | Age: 25

Born: 5/25/1991
Birthplace: KITCHENER, ON
Position: F
Handedness: Right


Prior to turning professional, Latta played major junior hockey in the OHL with the Ottawa 67’s and Guelph Storm. He was drafted into the NHL in 2009 and joined the King’s affiliate Reign in 2016.

Adrian Kempe

#09 | 6′ 1″ | 187 lb | Age: 20

Born: 9/13/1996
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Growing up in Swedan, Kempe made his hockey debut in 2014 in the Swedish Hockey League. He has since been drafted by the Kings, where he is playing for their AHL affiliate team, the Ontario Reign.

Brett Sutter

#07 | 6′ 0″ | 192 lb | Age: 29

Born: 6/2/1987
Birthplace: CALGARY, AB
Position: C


Drafted in 2005 by the Calgary Flames, Sutter was traded to the Reign in 2016. He is the son of LA Kings head couch Darryl Sutter, and the eighth member of the Sutter family to play in the NHL.