Here’s what Dean Lombardi said today about the move to bring Brayden Schenn to the Kings…
Question: What does this say, when you bring Schenn up instead of another option, like maybe Oscar Moller?
LOMBARDI: “We definitely see Moller as a winger at this stage, even though he has played the middle. He’s been playing wing with Loktionov the whole season down there. His best games with us, last year, I think were on the wing. Certainly too, with the way our centers play, you have to be good in your own end. Kopitar’s game last night, he’s not going to get enough credit. People just look at his numbers, but what you saw last night was how good he was down low and the battles he won, in our own end, that don’t show up on the score sheet. Our centers have to be able to play in their own end. In Oscar’s case, he’s probably OK with doing it on the offensive side, but he needs a lot of work in his own end. That’s one of the reasons we see him as a winger, particularly at this stage.
“Your other skill guy, so to speak, is Azevedo, and he’s out with a laceration. Then your other guys there are energy guys, like Cliche. That’s where you are. We’re fortunate to be able to call up two kids that have the m.o. Loktionov did pretty darn well last night. He missed one assignment defensively but he certainly didn’t look out of place. We’ll see how Brayden does. So I’m not sure what you mean by having other options. I have other players. If we were looking for a third- or fourth-line penalty killer, yeah, I guess you say Cliche.”
Question: The only thing might have been moving up Richardson and calling up someone else, maybe?
LOMBARDI: “Well, that was one of the things we talked about, the possibility of moving (Richardson) up and putting Cliche down on the fourth, but we’ll see. That was probably a potential option, but he’s actually been doing a good job in that `four’ role. That’s the other thing. We’re certainly banged up and making a lot of adjustments. If you can do it without adjusting other people, like letting Richie settle into his role, that’s another thing you try to do in order to keep the ship going. You’ve got to get through it, though.
“Every team has it. Vancouver has had it. They showed up in our building all banged up. Boston’s got it. There aren’t too many teams that don’t have to go through this. It’s part of being a good team. You just have to fight your way through. Part of it is, you might have to use kids that might not be ready, but we don’t intend to expose him too long. It’s not like, `OK, hold the fort here for three months.’ Obviously we expect Stolly back, and it gives us a good read on where they are. Try to turn a negative into a positive.”
Question: What did Schenn show you in camp?
LOMBARDI: “In the way he plays the game, there’s a little bit of Ryan Smyth in him. Even though they’re different, what I mean by that is that he’s a completely honest player. I think you remember the (rookie) games against Phoenix. He showed that he could make some high-end plays. He showed how good he could be in traffic and in critical situations, with puck protection, going to the net. He showed you some toughness. He can play any way you want to play him at this stage. He’s a playoff-type player. His game translates into those battle areas. Like I said, some of those plays he made in the rookie games were like, `Woah.’ That was some pretty high-end play. You know what I think of Ryan Smyth. Old fashioned. Play the game like the good old Western boys. Play right.”
Question: Did he have a little bit of a letdown period after he left camp?
LOMBARDI: “It’s unbelievable. Cliffy (Kyle Clifford) was the same way. I saw Cliff on that last trip and he was playing really well, but there’s those two weeks. As much as you try to guard against it, there always seems to be that letdown. They’re on such an emotional high every day (in training camp). When they go back, obviously they know they’re great players, but there’s that letdown. Neither one of them, in their case it wasn’t the pouting, like, `Oh, I should be there.’ It’s just that they’re so juiced for 30 days, and there’s that (drop) and they have to pick it up again. In their cases, it had nothing to do with pouting about not making the NHL. (Schenn) has bounced back. All the reports on him, in the last couple weeks, say he has been one of the best players in Canada.”