Veteran Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi joined the guys on NHL Live radio earlier this morning.
Among the topics were trade rumors and the play of Jack Johnson. Below are the key highlights…
[as always, these are near quotes - some information has been paraphrased]
Q: Being from the greater New York area, how many tickets did you have to get for friends and family last week on the Kings road trip?
A: The Garden wasn’t too bad, maybe seven or eight tickets. Around 30-35 for the game in Long Island. Fortunately, given the Islanders record, it’s not too hard to get tickets at the Coliseum. Still, it beats the first time I played there when I needed around 75.
It’s been an up and down year in LA. Where do you see things at this point?
I’m hoping, from my experience in Pittsburgh and seeing some of the same things, that we’re over the hump as far as struggling goes. I think sometimes with a young team when you have a little success it’s hard to repeat the next year – especially when everybody expects it. You forget all the hard work you put in the season before. We let it get go to our heads a bit and it showed and it was pretty obvious during some of our six or seven game slides earlier in the season.
Last year people were talking Drew Doughty a lot. This year it seems Jack Johnson is blossoming.
I think that’s just the case. As you see Jack more and more you realized he cant make a play every single time. As a defenseman you have to learn to take your medicine, chip the puck out and make a simple play. The more he plays the more I see it, every single week. If there’s nothing there, he doesn’t force plays any more and that’s something that comes from experience. For Drew, I think playing junior hockey was more of an NHL style. Jack and I played college hockey and there is a big difference in the game. But, like I said, through experience he’s getting better and better.
Coming from the college schedule to the NHL, what’s that grind like that?
It’s just not a lot of games in college, mainly weekends. It’s mainly weekends. My first year pro I felt great for a few games, say Friday and Saturday – but, then when you play Sunday too, like in the AHL, you just feel awful and your focus isn’t there. You’re not mentally connected to the game. You’re just missing a lot of it. As the years go on and you learn to deal with it – you learn to not get too high or too low – you notice yourself breaking though and not noticing the number of games.
What’s the feeling with the trade deadline coming up Monday?
Unfortunately, it’s part of the business – especially when you feel you have a good group and you don’t want to change things. However, I remember the 2007-08 season in Pittsburgh we made the big trade to get Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis, also Hal Gill later. We had some guys leaving town that had been there all year and helped us get to that point too. But, it speaks volumes to you as a player that the management and the coaches think ‘This is the year, we’ve got a great thing going, let’s make a run for the Stanley Cup.’ So, it’s a double edged sword. You get to know your teammates throughout the year and you want to be successful with them. But, you also realize there are other players out there and other combinations that may work.
Lots of people in the media are waiting for Dean Lombardi to make a move. Is that talk seeping into the room? Do you guys talk about it?
For me personally, I don’t read a lot. I love to watch a hockey game. But, I try to stay away from the speculation. Overall, I think hockey players have a realistic sense of how things work. Even if they read everything or see a rumor they might be traded, they have a realistic view of the life we’re in.
The game against Colorado on Saturday will be just as important as last night vs. Minnesota. The Kings still need points…
Colorado has fallen on hard times the last few weeks. People talk about trap games or say this is an easy two points because they’ve been struggling lately, but this is not an easy league to consistently win in. If you’re not going to do the things it takes to win, you’re not not going to win against the worst team or the best. So, we have to be ready tomorrow afternoon.
What was it like growing up in Long Island?
I got into things initially because my dad, who was a police officer in the area, met a few players and they were taking their kids to a rink inside a hanger – Mitchell Field, an old World War II place. He thought it was interesting and he was getting into hockey too. My dad, my brother and I all sort of started playing at the same time. He was 32 years then and we’re all still playing. Getting a scholarship to Boston College was a home rum for my family. Not many kids seem to make it off the island unless you went somewhere else. I was lucky I got to stay home and I went to a great school and play hockey. Everything else has been a bonus.
Is your son playing hockey yet?
He’s going to be five soon. He knows all the teams now and I think he has the bug. But, like any parent, I don’t want to force him into anything. You want them to make their own decisions.
[note: watch/listen to the full interview here via Kings Vision]