January 2 morning skate quotes: John Stevens - LA Kings Insider

On how the team transitioned from being a “slower” and “grinding” team:
We have changed our personnel a little bit. I think with the addition of Kempe and Iafallo in our lineup, just that alone has increased our speed in the forward group. I think especially in Adrian’s case in the middle of the ice, I think it makes the line faster, and then when Dave and Don and Pierre came on board, the one thing we sat down and talked about was just playing faster. We just felt if we were a little bit more predictable to ourselves, still worked back and were available but did things quicker, made plays quicker, got our feet going up-ice quicker – I don’t know if I’d agree we were slow before. We still tried to play fast. But, clearly, with the way the game’s going and mobility of teams on the back end, we wanted to get faster by adding some speed to our lineup, but we wanted to get faster by doing things faster as a group. [Reporter: But you also had that defensive foundation already in place, right? For all those years.] Well, for sure. I don’t think you can ignore it. Teams that want to check win. I think a huge part of the success of this franchise in the last 10 years has been guys like Kopitar and Doughty and Brown – you can go down the line. Toffoli. Our best offensive players have been our most committed defensive players, and that leads to a lot of winning. And you’ve got a great goalie in Jon Quick. Guys want to play for him. He’s a great teammate. He has a lot of leadership on the back end. I think he just exudes the fact that keeping the puck out of your net’s important, but we have our guys extremely committed to that. Always want to get better in other areas, but that’s always going to be a foundation of success.

On whether he’ll reference Edmonton’s 5-0 loss to Winnipeg Sunday with his players:
It’s a hockey team that’s going to be really ready for us. We think Edmonton’s a really good team. They’ve got some world class offensive players. They’ve got size. They’ve got grit. They’re well-coached. We think they’re a really good team, so if anything else, that just stirred the beehive there, and we know they’re going to be ready, and we have to be ready. We try and make our team aware of the tendencies in people we’re play against, but really focus on our own game. That’s no different tonight, but knowing that the start of the hockey game’s important.

On whether it’s difficult to get Drew Doughty on the ice against key players on the road:
Not that hard. Just play him 30 minutes. [laughs] Yeah, Drew’s a guy, I think you’re trying to manage your minutes, to be honest with you, because you want him fresh. I think he’s more involved up-ice when he’s like that. He kills plays quicker when he’s like that. But he plays in all situations. It’s a little easier to get your D on and off the ice sometimes, especially if you’re managing the puck well, getting it deep. He does a good job at understanding what the match-ups are. Managing his shift length, Dave does a good job of it, and I think we have other guys that we’ve learned to trust in situations like that. Marty’s done a great job in those situations against top guys on other teams, as well. But, Drew’s going to play a lot of minutes, we know that. He gets out there in a lot of key situations, a lot of D-zone draws. That usually leads to being on the ice with good offensive players.

On whether there’s a competition for minutes among players on the fourth line:
I think there’s a competition all over our lineup for ice time, whether it’s special teams, even strength, who’s playing where. I think on that line, what we’ve really tried to do is make sure we communicate with guys coming in and out. Sometimes it’s just a lineup decision. Sometimes a guy comes out where we like his game, and in Andreoff’s case last time, Cliffy got healthy. We liked Andy’s game. We didn’t take him out because we didn’t like the way he was playing. It was just a numbers thing. Or, if a guy comes out and there’s a reason for it and there’s areas we need him to get better at, we’ll him that as well. But sometimes it’s just a lineup decision, and sometimes it’s a performance decision, but at the end of the day it’s good to have depth, and I think we have depth at the forward position.

-Two omitted quotes were used in today’s morning skate report
-Lead photo via Jeff Vinnick

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.