Practice Notes: Playing with Pace, Trusting Current Configurations - LA Kings Insider

After a tough 2-1 loss to the San Antonio Rampage in Texas last Saturday, the Ontario Reign took to the ice at LA Kings Icetown Riverside this week for full skates Monday-Wednesday in preparation for road tilts on Friday and Saturday at Iowa and Chicago.

Notes for today’s skate at Riverside:

– All hands on deck for the Reign. All 24 skaters running through drills with no changes in line combinations…
Sam Herr, Brett Sutter and Spencer Watson skated together in purple
Matt Marcinew, Matt Schmalz and Keegan Iverson twirled around in yellow
T.J. Hensick, Matt Luff and Michael Mersch wore grey
Philippe Maillet, Mike Amadio and Justin Auger skedaddled in white
Boko Imama, Andrew Crescenzi and Jamie Devan in maroon

Defensemen Matt Roy, Zac Leslie, Kevin Gravel, Stepan Falkovsky, Sean Walker and Alex Lintuniemi ran in individual drills with the forwards.
Goalies Jack Campbell, Jeff Zatkoff and Cal Peterson shared net time.

– Head Coach Mike Stothers spent most of the skate working on defensive-zone puck retrieval and ran multiple drills on both wings of the ice.
“We wanted to get back to playing with pace,” Stothers added. “We are not trying to hurry the play, but we need to get back hard for pucks in our end and get back handle them clean and in an efficient manner.”

– From d-zone retrieval, the focus shifted to breakouts of out the defensive zone and moving up the ice. Emphasis on making quick decisions and reading the opposing pressure. Where are the opposing forwards attacking? Does it give an open passing option up the wall of up the middle of the ice?

– Heads up! “Shoulder checks” (looking around over your shoulders) and communication stressed. Physically SEE where the puck, teammates and opposition positions themselves.

– Legs Feed the Wolf: Goal line to goal line skate (five times). Amadio praised for efforts and leads the team in a post-practice stretch.

– Finishing Touches: Assistant Coach David Bell led stick work/body positioning drills on top of the crease to assist in the battle for loose pucks and passes off the wings.

Honoring Chrissy Duarte

– Additional Note: As mentioned on Twitter earlier, a tip o’ the cap to the team requirement and medical staff on their donation of multiple boxes of tape, water bottles, coolers, powdered Gatorade and more to the Junior Reign Youth Hockey Program at Riverside.

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.