As noted during last night’s MayorsManor post-game show, you have to hand it to Jarret Stoll. He went from playing top-six minutes and being a big part of the Kings power play over the last few years to essentially a role player. Sure, he spent some time at wing this season – not his natural position – in an effort to jump start the team’s offense, but his primary assignment was to center the third line. Shortly after the acquisition of Mike Richards he said he didn’t care where the coaching staff put him, he was a team-first guy. It was a mantra he maintained throughout the regular season, never complaining.
A little more than 24 hours after jokingly asking, “When is ‘Jarret Stoll Gets a Goal’ day?” he scored a huge one for himself, his teammates and the entire LA Kings franchise. It’s been 11 years ago today since the Kings moved past the first round of the playoffs and just like back then, it was a #28 who did it (Adam Deadmarsh in 2001, Stoll in 2012).
Last hour we published a few early comments from today’s conference call with Stoll. Here are some additional quotes…
- On Darryl Sutter being concerned the team might not have much left for the playoffs after fighting so hard just to make the post-season: “I didn’t think that. I knew the last couple months of the season definitely took a lot out of us and took a toll on us a little bit. But, knowing the group of guys we have, knowing the the character we have and the type of players, I definitely didn’t think that. I knew we would regroup and find a way to play good hockey. The whole ‘eight vs. one,’ we never talked about that once – the seeding and how that worked out. That was the regular season. We know that we underachieved a little bit in the regular season and we know we’re a good team. We knew we could have beat Vancouver. We had played them well. They were a one-seed and, obviously, the President’s Trophy winners and all that kind of stuff. But, that doens’t mean anything starting game one of the playoffs. You still have to play the game and win four games to win a series. That was just our focus. Darryl’s been great with that, preparing us that way. Going into Vancouver for game one, that’s all the focus was – just game one, then we’ll figure out game two and focus for that. The preparation that Darryl wants out of us is pretty defined and pretty specific and it’s black and white. That’s been huge since he came here and took over the team, the preparation and focus – whether it’s starting the game first period or just making sure we’re ready and focused and prepared for a battle.”
- On how long they enjoyed the win: “We enjoyed it after the game, in the dressing room, and had some laughs and had a good time with it. But, we were already talking in the back of the plane last night about St. Louis and what challenges they bring and how they’re going to be different than Vancouver. Some of the things that Vancouver showed us can help us in this next series against St. Louis. That’s just how we are. You always have to look forward and look ahead and focus. We had a nice day off today and enjoyed it a little bit, maybe. But we’ll come to the rink tomorrow and get right back on the horse and focus and prepare for St. Louis.”
- On the challenges St. Louis will bring: “They’re a heavy team. They play a heavy game, a physical game. Definitely, their top three centermen are all big, strong guys who can skate. They have some speed on the wings for sure. And their defense and goaltending, they don’t give up much. The (two of us) were the top two defensive teams in the league, I believe. So, it’s going to be a war. It’s not going to be easy. There’s going to be some tight games out there. But, we’ve played them well again. They have a great home record and we play well on the road. Hopefully we can come out and have a good start to the series. They’re a good team. They block a lot of shots, we’re going to have to figure that out…and find a way to get to Elliot. He’s had a great year, both of their goaltenders have had great years. So, it’s definitely a challenge.”
- On the team’s ability to go four rounds – “I believe (we do), yeah. I think if you ask any of the guys in our room, we believe that the group we have is good enough and experienced enough and has all the right pieces. Anybody can say that about their team. You have to go out there and play the game and show that. Hopefully we can do that and push forward here. There’s a lot of good things about our team, for sure.”
- On his pre-game comments on MayorsManor – “I actually did think about that last night. It’s been a while for sure, sometimes there’ve been some long stretches there. But, it was great to get a goal. Any goal to help your team – or in any way you can, whether it’s killing a penalty or winning a faceoff, scoring a goal – but, to do it that way and finish off a team, it’s a pretty cool feeling.”
- On strong faceoff numbers in the second and third period, after poor numbers throughout the series: “The percentages were pretty good last night. We had some troubles with (Manny) Malhotra and (Ryan) Kesler in some of the games. They’re good, give them credit. They’re definitely good on the faceoffs. It’s one of those things where you just have to battle through it and find a way to get your wingers involved – whether you’re tying up or trying to win clean, there are so many different things that go into it. Some games you have to battle the linesmen too. It was (rewarding) to see us come through last night with some big wins.”
If you’d like to see video of the game-winning goal and Stoll’s locker room interviews from last night, click here.
MayorsManor LIVE post-game show with Jim Fox – and other guests
Post-game videos – Richardson, Quick and Mitchell talk about the Kings winning the series
Post-game videos – Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar talk about the Kings winning the series