Stevens on Hitchcock, Dallas' sturdy checking, separating Kopitar and Brown - LA Kings Insider

On keys for the first game after the All-Star break:
Well, I think the key for every team, and our team included, is just your preparation. I think you’ve really got to – which we’ve done – remind everybody the details of how we need to play, but there’s a lot of mental preparation that goes into digging in and knowing that the execution might be a little off, but don’t get frustrated by that. Trust the team game, let the puck do the work for you and allow the team game to create opportunities. I don’t think you enter this game with a real fancy game plan. I think you really want to get pucks in deep, establish your forecheck and limit the number of quality chances you give up.

On what he liked about his six-man defensive group in the Calgary game:
I thought we had good balance in that group. I think we had some experience with some young guys there. I think the group did a good job of moving pucks. I thought they defended pretty well, so overall, I think the performance of the group as a whole was pretty good. We had a stretch there in the second period where we got into penalty trouble. It doesn’t help, I think, especially with the long change, but I thought by and large and overall we were happy with the way the group played.

On Dallas’ team game and defensive improvements:
They’ve scored 155 goals, but I think what’s happened here is a lot of their offensive opportunity comes from real defensive responsibility. Their D don’t pinch reckless, they pinch really responsible, and I think they really convince their top guys to be committed without the puck. Their top guys are big plus players. They play in a lot of key situations, and they show up in the top one, two or three in every defensive category you can come up with. That’s something I think they’ve really tried to instill here, and I think it’s starting to show in the way they play. They play a real hard, accountable game. They get really quality opportunities from checking the other team off the puck. [Reporter: Is it similar to the Kings and the way that the Kings hope to generate?] Yeah, we talked about it today. It’s very similar. I think you could find a lot of similarities in both teams, and our top offensive guys are committed defensively, and I think they’ve really convinced the guys here to play that way. I think you can make that comparison.

On whether he has similar philosophies as Ken Hitchcock:
You guys probably don’t know this, but Hitch was a long mentor of mine. He coached the Flyers when I coached the minor league team. He was around a lot during the lockout when the season shut down for a full year, and that’s the year we won the (Calder) Cup, in 04-05. I met with him throughout the year. He watched our team a lot, watched our team practice, discussed our team, and he was really, really kind to me in terms of the time and direction, so I learned a lot from Hitch and then worked with him for a short period of time. I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for how prepared he is and what he believes is the right thing to play the game. Although I think he’s evolved as a coach in today’s player, I think his foundation of what he believes to be successful is the same. [Reporter: Is it more X’s and O’s that you took from him, or mental preparation, or is it a little bit of everything, maybe?] I think a little bit of all of it. Certainly X and O’s. He has the ability to be point-on, right sharp to the point of the things that are important to whatever situation you’re talking about. He can cut through the crap and get right to the point, but I think he does a very good job of holding everybody accountable, whether you’re a veteran guy or a young guy.

On separating Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown:
It had nothing to do with the line, to be honest with you. Just especially on the road, I think you’re getting teams that are matching up against Kopi, and then they’re bringing their top guys against other people, and I just think with Brownie and Kopi, they’re really sound, two-way guys. We need their influence on other guys, and I think it balances out a little bit in terms of veteran leadership on different lines there. So, they end up playing together a lot in some key situations, and they end up playing apart in a lot of five-on-five situations. But we didn’t mind the way it worked out.

-One quote on Marian Gaborik was withheld for today’s morning skate report.

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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.