December 28 practice notes; feature - LA Kings Insider

Good morning from El Segundo, where the Kings are trickling out of their facility to grab a quick bite before catching the charter flight to Calgary.

16 players skated today: 10 forwards, five defenseman and one Martin Jones. Darryl Sutter didn’t take the ice at practice, which was run by John Stevens, Davis Payne and Bill Ranford. Because of the optional skate, no line rushes were held. Robyn Regehr, on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, didn’t skate.

I had some interesting conversations with Trevor Lewis, Anze Kopitar and Davis Payne earlier today and will post a few stories once we get up in the air. To hold you over until then, here’s my most recent story, called Defense First. It’s about how the Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez extensions appropriately signaled the team’s approach to solidifying its blue line, which is buoyed by a young and accomplished core.

An excerpt:

While the players aren’t consumed with their contract situations and negotiations, they’re certainly cognizant that they exist.

“I’d be lying if I said I never thought about it,” Martinez said. “You obviously think about it. I just tried to take the mentality that if I just kept on working on my game and if I took care of hockey, the rest of it would just take care of itself. I guess you think about it a little bit, but I mean it’s not like it consumed my days by any means.”

The level of improvement in Martinez’s game is evident. It’s based heavily in his experience; none of the other 10 players who have signed extensions this season are able to call on having won multiple Stanley Cups during a period in which their development was the most accelerated. With the injuries and complications to Los Angeles’ back end brought on by the departure of Willie Mitchell and Slava Voynov’s absence, Martinez’s versatility and gained trust has resulted in a significant spike in his usage. His overall time on ice average has leapt by over four and a half minutes from 15:41 a season ago to 20:18 this season, while his power play usage has increased incrementally and his penalty killing time on ice per game has quadrupled.

“Marty’s been pretty solid,” Darryl Sutter said. “…I mean, he shows up for work every day. Not just game day. He shows up every day, works at his game.”

In case you missed the link earlier, it’s right here. Stay tuned – there’s plenty more to come on a Sunday travel day to Calgary. As always, thank you for reading!

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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.