On young players skating with NHL regulars and coaches, and trying to make an impression:
Once they get on the ice, they’re no longer thinking about their NHL idols or whatever. They’re trying to make an impression. They know that they’re being evaluated every day, as we all are, whether it’s your profession or our profession, we want to do a good job and we want people to appreciate our work. That’s what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to do well. Sometimes they’re overenthusiastic and they try a little too hard. It’s full go, and sometimes we just need to just help them dial things back a little bit and relax, but again, that comes with getting a few reps in, maybe a couple of days under your belt, and then they can just focus and concentrate on what they’re here to do, and that’s play hockey. They’re here for a reason. They wouldn’t be here otherwise. They’ve been scouted for some reason, and whether it’s their skating or their scoring ability or whatever it is, then they can actually utilize and showcase those assets to whoever’s watching and whoever’s evaluating.
On whether he’s evaluating players that could play in Ontario while running drills:
It’s actually difficult when you’re running practices to watch each and every guy because you’re actually watching the drill and what’s supposed to be happening. I don’t necessarily approach it as to ‘he could be in Ontario,’ ‘he could be with the Kings.’ I think that’ll take care of itself. Those guys, they’ll identify themselves as camp goes on and through exhibition games. There’s a lot of guys who look great in practice. Then they get into a game and they don’t look so great. Then there are certain guys that aren’t real practice players, then you get ‘em in a game, you’ve got something. So, you’ve got to be real careful about anointing someone or writing somebody off too soon. [Reporter: It’s difficult when you don’t know in advance who those guys are.] No, and I don’t like to go in with any preconceived notion. I just like to let their play dictate as we get better and I get to know them. This is the part that I like. Because we’re in rookie camp, we can have some interaction, they get to know a little bit about me, my personality, and I get to know them as individuals. We can hopefully share some laughs, maybe somebody gets dogged on a little bit. That’s how they get to know me. [Reporter: I didn’t hear a ton of the ‘getting dogged on.’ I know the glass might’ve blocked that a little bit today.] Well, you know what? Because in past years I’ve realized far too late that there’s many, many people sitting here – families, kids – and then I come up after a practice, and everybody tells me how many F-bombs I dropped, so I was trying to be very conscious of that today, thinking, ‘OK, it’s a Friday, maybe it’s a family day. [Reporter: I thought I heard one.] Oh yeah, well. Listen, I can’t even get through church without dropping one. [Reporter: Can’t go cold turkey.] No, it’s not going to happen.
On any changes to the philosophies, structure or message with the evolved hockey operations:
I don’t think so. You know what? The philosophy and the Kings mentality is a first class operation, hard-working and attention to detail, and I don;’t think that’s ever going to change. There’ll be some subtle changes with maybe some systems stuff. Obviously there’s going to be a greater focus to score some goals, but I think the personnel is in place in all positions, whether it’s management or coaching staff, to have great success, and I think, you know what? There are some great players already here in the organization, and after one skate this morning, you can see that down t he road, the future, there are some promising prospects here too. I think there’s a lot to be excited here, for all of us.
On the rookie games against Vegas next week:
That’s what it’s all about, games, right? So, again, you can do drills, and guys might look good or whatever when it comes to the hockey sense and sorting things out. When the puck drops and you’ve got an actual opponent, that’s when you can truly evaluate where these players are and where you hope they’re going to be. I don’t want to expect it to be great games because, again, you’re dealing with a bunch of rookies. There’ll be a lot of mistakes, I’m sure, but that’s what it’s all about. We just get a little better every day.