Kopitar, Penner and Hunter on the LA Kings new top-line

Somebody should send Justin Williams a thank you card.

His ‘flu-like symptoms’ have been a blessing in disguise today.

During the Kings first on-ice sessions today, the focus instantly changed from ‘Where’s Drew Doughty?’ to ‘Hey, who is that #47 playing on the top line with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Penner?’

It was right wing Trent Hunter, a camp invitee – meaning he’s here on a tryout basis.

Following the two-plus hour workout, coach Terry Murray said part of the reason for putting Hunter in Williams spot today was a reward for yesterday. It also had to do with the fact that Murray plans on ‘giving Hunter every opportunity to make the team this year.’ Although, Murray also acknowledged it will be tough for that to happen – given the roster depth already.

That decision is more than a week away though. For now, the three linemates had some thoughts about their temporary union…

Kopitar on playing with Hunter for the first time – “It was good. Obviously, he’s been int he league for a long time and he knows what he’s doing. It’s too bad that Willy is a little sick right now, but hopefully we’ll get him back soon as we can.”

Hunter on playing on the top line – “It’s fun playing with players of that calibre…If I had any questions, I’d ask them. They were both good about talking to me. Regardless of who you’re playing with, you have to communicate with them on the ice.”

Hunter on conversations with the Kings about his chances of making the team this season – “They were upfront and honest, right from the start. Nothing changed from one conversation to the next. It was always the same thing. So, I knew what I was coming to. They were very honest me. I realize I have to come in and play hard to win a spot here.”

Hunter on how his tryout came to be – “My agent had talked with them a few times late in the summer. It was definitely in the last few weeks. We were going back and forth trying to figure things out. There were a few options. But, we kept in touch with them and the decision was just made last week.”

Hunter also says he’s using this time in camp to get to know as many players as possible. About the only guy he knew previously was Colin Fraser – they trained together in Alberta a few summers ago.

Penner on the fact that it looks like there is something trying to keep him, Williams and Kopitar apart – “I think the hockey gods are just trying to make us earn it. We’re getting a couple of teasers right now, but it’s nothing serious with Willy and he’ll be back tomorrow.”

Was he surprised that Hunter was selected to replace Williams today? “No. He’s been around this league for a long time and he’s been a really good player. He’s smart, he’s big and he skates well. He thinks the game and he has a good shot. I don’t know him very well though. I’ve only played against him a handful of times because he’s always been out on the East Coast.”

Penner on their communication today – “If he was a rookie, we’d probably have to talk more. But, with a guy like that, a seasoned veteran, it’s pretty seamless.”

Kopitar on the drills they were working on in practice – “It’s back to basics. We’ve proven that we can we play a lot of good hockey the last couple of years. It’s just a matter of doing it on a consistent basis. That’s what they’ve been emphasising right now, just to get it going right off the bat and to get ready.”

OK, Williams did his part. Who wants to take some of the heat off Doughty next and create a one-day story?

The Mayor
www.twitter.com/MayorNHL
www.facebook.com/MayorsManor

Recent Articles

SPORTSNET RADIO REPLAY: Hoven on What the NHL Should and Should Not Do Next

Follow @mayorNHL
Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on Sportsnet Radio in Toronto, where he joined host Roger Lajoie for a look at some of the ideas surrounding what the NHL should and should not do next – from starting the season back up, to the Draft Lottery, to neutral site games, free agency, trades […]

NHL Radio Replay: Hoven on Kings Season Status, Prospects, and Draft Lottery

Follow @mayorNHL
Enjoy a free replay of this week’s Hot Stove, where John Hoven joined hosts David Pagnotta, Dennis Bernstein, and Ryan Paton to evaluate what’s next for the LA Kings, including: a possible return to the ice, 2020 Draft Lottery, top prospects coming to AHL Ontario, Todd McLellan, roster changes over the summer, compliance buyouts, […]

NHL RADIO REPLAY: Mayor’s Minutes, Report Card on Kings GM Rob Blake

Follow @mayorNHL
Enjoy a free replay of this week’s Mayor’s Minutes on NHL Network Radio, where John Hoven joined host Jim ‘Boomer’ Gordon to look at Rob Blake’s past year as LA Kings GM – including how he did with the roster, draft, trades, and prospects, plus a look ahead to what’s next for the organization. […]

Major News Items

LA Kings Prospect Tracker – Week Ending February 17, 2020

As the NHL deadline approaches, the Kings are looking to trade away some veterans. They look to beef up their already strong prospect pool, as these up-and-comers had another good week. EUROPE Samuel Fagemo: … [Read More...]

More Prospect News