Every Monday this season Ontario Reign Insider will post the Reign Rewind, a series of tidbits that analyze parts of the previous weekend’s action along with other more off-the-wall notes for your morning reading enjoyment.
Z-A-C AND HIS FIRST GOAL
First things first, let’s set the story straight on the spelling of Zac Leslie’s first name. It’s, “Zed, A, C,” he said Saturday. “Zed,” for those American readers, is the way some Canadians pronounce the letter Z. While Zachary is his full first name, the Ottawa native says he goes by Zac instead of Zach because as a kid he thought Zach when said out loud was more like “Zatch.”
Leslie returned to the lineup on Friday and scored his first pro goal after missing nearly a month with a lower-body injury. Just 3:44 into the Reign’s eventual 6-5 OT win over Texas, the blue-liner ripped a rising shot from the top of the left circle off the crossbar and down and celebrated by banging the nearby glass afterwards.
“The guys are giving me a hard time. I guess they hadn’t realized that I didn’t score last year,” said Leslie, who was a healthy scratch much of last season, appearing in 30 games. “It was nice. That’s part of my game is scoring goals. Last year was a bit frustrating not getting to contribute the way I want to but it was nice to get that first goal and it was nice to come back with a win.”
PROUD OF DOWD
Reign head coach Mike Stothers had this to say when asked to comment on former center Nic Dowd’s first NHL goal with the Kings, which occurred in a 4-3 OT win over the Stars last week:
“I think Jagr’s record’s safe for now, the 750 that he has. Nic’s got a ways to go, but it was awesome. There was so much composure shown by Dowder on that goal. He’s played so hard, played so well for us. There’s a real trust factor between the coaches and Nic as a player. I just think it’s great. He’s going to win a lot of people over.”
Andrew Crescenzi and goalie Jack Campbell are living together this season and the two were pleasantly surprised when they found out they have one big thing in common – they love to cook.
“We both didn’t really know that we were good cooks until we saw each other in the kitchen but he’s actually made some of the better meals so far for us,” Crescenzi said. “I’ve got to step up my game I guess and try to make some meals for him now.”
For Campbell, who apparently cooks some mean fish and sweet potato dishes according to Crescenzi, settling in to life in the Inland Empire after an offseason trade has been seamless. He did admit though that Crescenzi is his first roommate he’s ever had, this before he was recalled on an emergency basis to the Kings.
For a goaltender like Campbell, time away from the rink is crucial to reset his thoughts.
“I like cooking,” he said when asked what he likes to do in his free time. “I love cooking, hanging out with my roommate Cres. We get along great and it’s really fun. We have an awesome group here. We get together for dinners and grill out by the pool.”
Defenseman Rob Scuderi is a rostered player for the Reign but has not appeared in the first three games and did not suit up for warmups in their opening weekend on home ice.
For now it’s unclear how much he’ll actually appear in games with Ontario this season.
“He’s here as a player and he’s available to us should we need him,” Stothers said. “It’s a tough time for a guy like Scuds because he’s had a great career and now it’s beginning to wind down. By no means is it over but the life here in the American Hockey League is for these young guys to be ready to be the next guys. He’s going to be available to us. If we run into an injury situation, even if he’s not here in Ontario he’s a short phone call away. He’s going to keep himself in great shape whether he’s here practicing with us or he’s back in L.A. He has full access to their facility.
“I think it’s still part of a process for him. It’s a tough thing to deal with. You’ve got a lot of things you’ve got to go through with your family. He’s got four kids. It’s not as cut and dry as you would think. It’s a little unique.”
Stothers said “no” when asked if Scuderi’s schedule would be dictated solely by the 37-year-old blue-liner. Scuderi resides in the South Bay and has chosen for now to commute to Ontario when necessary.
“We talked every day last week when he was here and we set up a schedule for the remainder of October — and we didn’t even look into November — of what works for him, what works for us. It is a mutual thing,” Stothers said.
“I also know and feel quite comfortable and confident should things dictate as they did today (with the goalies), that’s a great guy to have around who can go in and play for you. And even if he’s not playing, his value to the young guys to help them out, add to their growth, that’s valuable too. Sometimes you don’t always have to be on the ice on a regular basis to make an impact on our team. Just having him around.”