Good afternoon from El Segundo, Insiders. Today’s practice lines, via color coding:
-Defensive pairs were Forbort-Doughty, Muzzin-Martinez, MacDermid-Folin and Fantenberg-LaDue, with Chris Lee cycling through. Marian Gaborik did not skate with the group.
-There was good competition to facilitate scoring, with two-on-two and two-on-one drills around the net designed to nurture playmaking and burying the puck. Otherwise, there wasn’t a great deal learned from the on-ice events, other than the changes to the forward groupings from what had been shown Thursday. As John Stevens noted in today’s practice quotes, don’t put excess stock in who is playing and who isn’t against Anaheim tomorrow. He wanted to make sure that Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar would get four games, and while Carter has appeared in four, Kopitar only has three games to his preseason credit.
-As for goaltending, is Jonathan Quick where he wants and needs to be to start the season? It’s not always the easiest question to answer, but he’s been encouraged by his preseason work so far and deemed himself to be “confident in all the different scenarios.”
“Like any other year, you’re always trying to find a way to get better and work on the things,” he said. “We obviously do a ton of video, and you’re watching all your shifts and touches and saves and goals against. Every day it’s ‘what did you right? What did you do wrong?’ You’re trying to build on things you did well and address the things you didn’t do so well. It’s constant work.”
He stopped 37 of 38 Arizona shots in the 4-1 win over the Coyotes, which would seem to at the very least be an indication that there’s no real cause for concern in his game. (Not that there would ever be by default.)
But the 31-year-old acknowledges that training and usage is different now than when he broke into the league. While there have been changes and trends in the position and the way it is coached, that he has worked exclusively with Bill Ranford, who was hired in 2006, is a major boon in establishing consistency.
“Working with him the past 10 years now, he knows me and knows my tendencies and the details at times may start to slip,” Quick said. “He’s kind of on top of it before they start to slip, so it’s a good relationship”
Quick, who missed extended time after suffering groin injuries during the 2013-14 and 2017-18 seasons, and who underwent surgeries after both the 2012 (back) and 2014 (wrist) Cup runs, has spoken with John Stevens about an ideal target number of games for him to start this season but declined to offer details. Monitoring goaltenders is probably more of a topic now than it was when he broke into the league, as he articulated.
“It felt like the mindset around the league was [previously] a little different,” he said. “Obviously you play for different coaches who have different philosophies on that, but at the end of the day, when you get your days of practice you try to make the most of it, and you get as much work in as possible and work hard and get your days to rest. You take advantage of that and make sure your body’s healthy for the next day.”
Jonathan Quick, on the challenges of waiting nearly a week between games to start the season:
You welcome the rest and you try to take advantage of the practice days you have, you know? If you’re lucky enough, come playoff time, to finish a series early and you get that week break, you try to take advantage of that the same way. I don’t see any difference now as opposed to playoff time. You see around the league that coaches are kind of leaning towards rest a little bit more than the work side. Obviously when you do work, you work hard, but everyone’s kind of understanding the rest and taking care of your body and everything like that. If you get the opportunity to do that at the beginning of the season, it’s just as important as it is at the end of the season.
-A quick note: I’ll be taking tomorrow morning off due to personal reasons but will still hope to get a morning skate notes post up. Bear with a delay; that might not come until 1:00 p.m. Let’s talk soon, Insiders.
-Lead photo via Juan Ocampo/NHLI