March 29 morning skate quotes: John Stevens - LA Kings Insider

On what it says about the team that the defense has combined for 175 points:
Well, we’ve tracked that, I’ve always tracked that stat as long as I’ve been coaching. I think it’s just an indication that we want our D involved in the rush, and we want our D involved in the offensive zone, and I do think we’re one of the few teams in the league that uses four defensemen on the power play, so it contributes to those stats a little bit. We want all of our defensemen contributing at both ends of the rink. Whether it’s Folin or Doughty, we think there’s a responsibility of getting pucks to the net. Being involved offensively, it’s just too hard of a game anymore to play with three guys offensively. I think the other team, we told our team this yesterday: we think our forwards deserve a lot of credit for being inside, being at the net, using the puck low-to-high, creating shot lanes for the defensemen like being at the net, and controlling the shot lane a little bit by being in the middle of the ice in their zone. We think it’s all tied together, but I certainly think it’s one trend in the game where you want your defense more involved now than ever before.

On aspects of Arizona’s game that have improved over the last month:
It’s pretty much been everywhere, to be honest with you. I think their goaltending has really solidified. Rantanen and Kuemper have played very well. Their defense is extremely mobile, and they’ve got a really deep group of forwards where they have four lines that can all skate. They’ve got size and they’ve got skill on every line. If you look at the Richardson line, they’re slated as the fourth line, but they played them head-to-head with Kopi went we when in there. I watched the Tampa game and the Vegas game, two of the faster teams in the game, and they controlled the game. They skate really well. Because they use all their lines anywhere from 12, 13 minutes to 18 minutes, nobody plays too much, so they have lots of energy, and their forwards do a lot of work in pursuing the puck, and it allows their defense just to gap up and receive the play. They’re not an aggressive pinching team. I think they might’ve been a little more aggressive down walls before. Their D receive the rush and then they counterpunch you in a hurry. They’re a really good transition-attack team where they get the puck up to their forwards quick, and they arrive with speed. They had five breakaways in the Tampa game, which is almost unheard of. I don’t think I can put a finger on it. I think just their commitment to the team game has been outstanding. They’ve been one of the better defensive teams in the league, and I think the results have shown that over the last 20 games.

On whether it’s concerning that Adrian Kempe hasn’t scored since February 7:
We’d like to get some production from everybody, but I’ll be honest with you – I really liked the way he played the other night. I thought he was really hard on pucks. I thought in a physical hockey game he was a really good competitor, and he just gets himself on the right side of pucks and he creates with his speed. He won a big faceoff that led to one of the power play goals there. I’ve always felt when you have guys on your team that can help you win when they don’t score, it’s a really good thing. I think Jeff and Kopi can do that. Even though we want them to score, on the days they don’t score, they help you win, and I think Adrian’s game has really been a help for us, even though he hasn’t scored. I think he’s a guy that we’d like to see a little more consistent and not have that type of drought. We need goal scoring. But, I think more importantly, the way he plays without the puck has really helped our team.

-Two quotes withheld for today’s morning skate report
-Lead photo via Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

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.