Checking in with Loktionov – new skates, new attitude

It’s only been a few weeks since the Kings coaching change, but some of Darryl Sutter‘s answers have been real gems. They’re often short and seem to write their own headlines.

For example, I recently asked Sutter if he had any comment about the hoopla surrounding rookie Andrei Loktionov playing at center or wing earlier this seasons. And what pearls of wisdom did the coach lay on me?  ‘I don’t care where he plays.’

Of course, Sutter went on to explain that he thinks most of the Kings forwards are talented enough to play multiple positions, yada, yada, yada. All good stuff, sure.  Yet, the simplified version is much more fun.

Loktionov was out of the line-up for Sutter’s first three games. However, he’s played in five straight games now and like most of the Kings, he seems to be taking to his new coach rather well.

“Oh I like him, he’s a good coach,” said the 21-year old Russian, with an ear-to-ear smile. “I like his system we play in the offensive zone, the defensive zone. At center, you have to always play down low. You have to always play in the middle. He says in the offensive zone we can send three guys behind the net and keep it a live puck. I like it.”

Loktionov also made a slight change in practice yesterday, skating over to the bench midway through the workout to swap out his skates.

“I was just trying out some new skates,” he explained. “The others were old, sort of so-so (pointing to the worn out pair resting on the floor next to his locker).”

The Kings have sent three of Sutter’s first seven games to a shootout.  But, we haven’t seen Loktionov take a turn. Is that something he’d like to do?

“Maybe it’s coming,” he said while laughing. “I want to try it.”

If that’s the case, he might need to find a way to embellish his answer if asked this next one again…

Were you used in the shootout in Manchester? If so, how did you do?

“Always…and ah, not so good.”

Kids. They’re always honest.