December 31 practice notes: Power play Trevor Lewis, Ranford in gear, prospects - LA Kings Insider

Good afternoon and a happy December 31st to you, Insiders. Also, thank you, SCHEDULOR, for putting us in Vancouver for the second New Year’s Eve in four seasons even as EDMONTONIA cast her icy lure west.

-Some 13 hours after leaving Rogers Arena, the Kings were right back there again for a special teams-heavy practice. The power play units appeared to show Martinez-Doughty-Iafallo-Kopitar-Brown and Muzzin-Fantenberg-Gaborik-Lewis-Toffoli, placing a pair of higher-skill forwards with another forward capable of digging pucks free and doing the plumbing. John Stevens was asked specifically about Trevor Lewis’ presence on the man advantage, and replied that he put Lewis there several games ago “because he gets pucks backs.”

“If you want to have a power play that has success, you need to recover hockey pucks. You can’t do anything if you don’t have the puck, and Lewie recovers hockey pucks. He’s got eight goals, so I think he deserves a little opportunity there,” he said. Lewis’ precision-guided feed that was redirected high past Jacob Markstrom by a net-crashing Marian Gaborik was the fourth power play point of his career; all four have come in the last three seasons.

-Jonathan Quick played 60 hard minutes last night, so he got his work in off the ice today. That meant Sunday was Designated Billy Ranford Goalie Day, a day that comes once or twice a season.

“I enjoy it because it brings a little energy to the group,” he said. “They haven’t seen a stand-up guy.”

Several players looking to beat Ranford glove-side were denied by quick extensions of his hand. One of them was Anze Kopitar, who had a good look but found only glove from the interior of the right circle.

“I knew he was shooting there,” Ranford said. “We talked about it beforehand. That was for the crowd. The three people.”

Ranford, the 1990 Conn Smythe Trophy winner with Edmonton, appeared in last season’s Oilers-Jets outdoor alumni game in Winnipeg and plays in the odd charity game and some slightly more competitive games that he’s played for fun in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

“The one thing I’ll tell you about Billy, you can see why he was a great goalie. He’s a great competitor,” John Stevens said. “Even at his age, he gets in the net and he just can’t not try, so he just about kills himself just because he just tries on everything, so I thought he was great.”

When he gets on the ice, there’s an interesting clash of goaltending styles at opposite ends of the rink. There’s no real butterfly technique, but the competitive will still burns.

“Shot releasing, reading plays, it’s still in there, just maybe not as quick as what I used to be,” he said. “But it’s still there, that aspect of the game. It’s the physical — not being able to when your mind’s telling you to do it and your body isn’t doing it. Then I get mad at myself because I can’t do what I want to do even though I know I have the capability to do it, but it just doesn’t physically allow me to do it anymore. That’s the only thing I get pissed off about. Just watch me on the compete level. Everything else, just throw out the door.”

-Christian Folin skated in a purple jersey as part of a penalty killing group and was not in a red, non-contact jersey for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury December 18 at Philadelphia. As John Stevens noted two days ago, he’s now day-to-day.

-Kale Clague, Jacob Moverare and Mikey Anderson have been getting their World Juniors due, and Gabriel Vilardi has also been in the news as of late, but several other prospects are putting together strong seasons: Drake Rymsha (5th/17) is tied for ninth in OHL scoring with 45 points (17-28=45) and 114 shots on goal in 37 games, while Matthew Villalta (3rd/17) leads the OHL with 23 wins and a 2.45 goals-against average, and ranks fifth with a .912 save percentage for the 32-3-2 Soo Greyhounds, winners of 23 straight games. Out west, Cole Kehler (FA/17) ranks second in the WHL with a 2.51 save percentage and a .919 save percentage, and fifth with 18 wins for the Portland Winterhawks.

-Because I forgot to post it earlier, here’s Pass it to Bulis’ I Watched This Game. John Stevens quotes will follow shortly, Insiders.

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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.