Stevens on leadership, Quick, Doughty, Kempe, more - LA Kings Insider

On watching his son, Nolan, play for Northeastern at Massachusetts-Lowell last night:
Good. They played well. Big win on the road. That was a big win. That was one of their better outings of the year, so they’re happy. It was good. I get a chance to see him play, so it was great. It’s probably the only time this year I’ll see him play live, so it was good.

On the team sharing leadership at any point of the game, and whether that happens frequently:
I don’t know. I think it happens. I think good teams, you need contributions from everywhere, and as far as our staff, I think we’ve hired some real quality people. We didn’t hire them just to fill spots, we wanted to hire them to really have big contributions, and they’ve all got different personalities and good energy, and I think with our team, we’ve got a group of players that have been together for a while that have a really good bond. I think they’re excited about trying to get back on a winning track, and we think we have a lot of our top players that have been on top of their game, so it’s not surprising when different guys step up on different nights because whether it’s Kopi and Brownie we’re talking about, or Muzz-Marty or Drew on the back end, Quickie in net, Trevor Lewis, we’ve had lots of guys, I think, that are veteran guys that have been on top of their games so it’s allowed them to make a difference in games on any given night.

On whether Jonathan Quick has gotten his appropriate due:
He gets it from us. We know him and we appreciate him. Not only is he a great goalie, he’s a great teammate. I mean, he’s one of the best goalie teammates that I’ve ever seen. You’ve never seen Jon Quick raise his glove so the whole world knows, ‘hey, I didn’t see that.’ He never looks at a teammate and stares him down. You can give up a 3-on-0, and he’s going to figure out what he could’ve done to stop the play. He takes responsibility for everything. I think sometimes a team in the west, because the games are on so late, they don’t get enough views from the people in the east, but there’s obviously a huge hockey market in the east. You can say that about Kopitar and Doughty as well, but certainly in Quick’s case, we certainly don’t underrate his abilities.

On how long it took Drew Doughty to develop into the type of multi-faceted player that he is:
I’m not sure. I’d like to sit here and take credit for Drew Doughty’s evolvement as a great player, but he was a Norris Trophy candidate before I got here. He’s been a great player from a young age, but I think the fact that he was such a good player early hasn’t stopped him from getting better. You talk about Quick being maybe not recognized enough, I don’t think Drew’s defensive game is recognized enough. I think he’s one of the elite defenders in the league, and not only is he capable, I think he has a deep desire to be good at that part of the game. I think he wants to put points up because he thinks he can help the team by doing that, but I think that part of your game takes time. At this level, there are great players you’re playing against every night. You’ve got to learn the league. There is a difference between knowing what each guy does and what his tendencies are. Knowing the teams and how they play – I think that takes time. I think physically you have to mature and fitness needs to be at a level where you can play against the top guys with the demands of the schedule. It takes time to be a consistent difference maker every night. For Drew, jeez, he won a gold medal at a young age. He’s won two Cups and another gold medal. I think he’s an exception to the rule, but I think especially for a defenseman, it can take a few years.

On where Boston, compared to other recent opponents, fits within a spectrum of structure:
You could go Toronto or Ottawa, Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto, they’re right in the middle. They’ve got really good structure, but they’ve got a good skill element with the structure that they play with. They can crank it up offensively. They’ve got some dynamic young players in their lineup. They’ve got some real mobile guys on the back end that can get involved in the rush and they’ve got some big, heavy guys on the back end. They’re for sure a little bit of a different element, but I think they’ve got a really good combination of structure and skill and creativity that you have to be ready for.

On how Adrian Kempe has helped to off-set the loss of Jeff Carter:
I think when Jeff went down, we said right away it’s next-man-up. Somebody’s going to have to step up and take advantage of the opportunity, and I think he’s done that. I still think when you have a veteran guy in the middle, especially when it comes to faceoffs and things like that, it makes a difference, but he’s picked up some of the offensive opportunity there with Jeff out. There’s been other guys that have taken the penalty kill minutes. In Adrian’s case, certainly his ability to produce consistently has been big for us, but more than that, I just think it’s his game. Like, his 200-foot game, we had an ability to move him up in our lineup, if you want to call it that. His minutes have increased a little bit. He’s playing with Ty and Tanner, and he’s seeing match-ups on the road that the other teams are controlling for the most part, and he’s done a good job at it. We feel comfortable in those situations, because he’s been a responsible 200-foot player. I think the big challenge for Adrian now is just having that consistency with the type of schedule we’re faced with right now – and we think he’s capable of doing it. You just have to recognize it. [Reporter: Is that part of the maturation of a young guy like that, just to learn on the road, these kind of situations where he’s not going to get the match-ups, that type of a thing? Is that what a young player has to learn?] Yeah, and I think he got a taste of it last year, but we’re deep into this road trip now and we’ve seen it every night. Teams aren’t one-line teams anymore. They’ve got Galchenyuk on the fourth line now, so it’s not as if you’re getting a break at any moment out there. Everyone’s got to be ready to play and be responsible, and we feel good about his game. We think he’s a very responsible player, and when he has the puck, he’s a dangerous player. It’s been good to see his quality of play early in the year.

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-Lead photo via Mark Blinch/NHLI