Quotes from newly acquired LA Kings defenseman Olli Maata following day two of training camp:
Maatta on Drew Doughty’s comments from yesterday:
Yeah, we skated together a lot, actually last summer (2019). I didn’t go to London this past summer, which I used to do every year, that’s where we trained together. He’s a guy that I always loved to watch play and it was awesome to skate together in the summer. I was able to actually see closely what he does on the ice. So, it’s awesome to be playing with him now and I’m just excited. I think it’s a great opportunity, for me and our whole team. Look at the guys we have, we have a lot of established older guys who know how to win. I think young guys are looking really good too, they’re hungry. I think they’re pushing everybody to get better. Everybody is fighting for their spots right now and I think when the season starts we’re gonna be ready.
On fitting into the team, which is filled with older vets and younger guys breaking into the league
The thing is, we all have the same goal here – we want to win. We don’t go into games thinking anything else, we want to win. That’s where we’re working towards. And I think when you have something you’re working towards together, that obviously brings everybody closer. Over the last three weeks that I’ve been here in LA, I think guys are very awesome. They welcome you really well. They’re all awesome guys and it’s easy to come into a team like this. They welcome you, and the young guys and older guys are mixing together pretty well.
His initial thoughts on being traded to the LA Kings
I was excited. I knew the Kings had been going through a rebuild the last couple years, and they had obviously been tough years. Nobody’s happy, it’s not not easy to do that. But I think they’re we’re definitely on the other side of it. Looking at the guys we have, we have a lot of good good players here. The older guys are still great players and we have young guys who are really, really good. Especially these last two scrimmages, you can see how hungry everybody is just to get back at it.
On how he thinks the Kings stack up in the newly created West Division
I think good, honestly. I do. I think we have a great chance here, with four teams making the playoffs. I think that definitely has to be our goal and I think we can for sure do it. Obviously, there are a lot of good teams and it’s not gonna be easy, but I think we’re a good team. I really do.
On what it’s like moving cities in the middle of a pandemic
I think the house hunting was a was a little different. Last summer, I went to Chicago pretty early and and I was able to go look around places nice and early, able to get settled. This year, I was staying home for the COVID reasons; making sure to monitor what was happening in the different countries. Other than that, I think things went pretty well. I don’t think it really affected things too much. I’m settled in nicely here.
On how he can strengthen his bond with Doughty, outside of practice on the ice
I think we do think the game same way and that’s a big thing. Especially the last two days – well, he talks a lot too, so that that’s one of the key things on how to build things. You just have to talk all the time, like talk about ‘What do you like to do in different situations?’ So when we are in the game, it’s automatic, you don’t even really think or hesitate out there, it has to come naturally. I think all the things over the last two days felt pretty good, especially breaking out on the blue line. I think I almost already know where he’s he’s gonna be. It seems the same for him. It feels like there isn’t a big gap on how we approach a game.
On if he can compare Doughty to any of his past D partners
I think he’s one of the best D-men in the league. I do. He’s definitely shown that. I think he’s a little different. I can’t really think of anybody who kind of plays like that. He understands the game so well, and he sees the ice. I feel like he’s making the right plays all the time. I guess he’s just Drew Doughty.
On what he’s learned from Crosby and Toews
Just the work they put in every day, both on and off the ice; that’s huge. They’re awesome guys, they’re really good to everybody. In Pittsburgh and Chicago, everybody who came in was welcomed right away. It didn’t take guys long to get settled. That’s what it takes. When you have new guys coming in, you have to become a team right away. You don’t have a couple months to get acclimated. It always started from those guys. I think they were awesome with that. Then the other thing, I think about how professionally they were on the ice, how much work they put in and all the time they spent working on it. Also the way they take care of their bodies, staying healthy.
Olli Maatta on the strengths of his game – I have to be reliable and solid. Breakouts are important, have to get out of the zone quickly. Defending, having good gaps and shutting down plays early. Playing with Drew, that's the way he thinks the game too.
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) January 1, 2021
Olli Maatta on how he was used during Pens Cup years – My power play time went down a bit, but 5×5 and penalty kill was always there. I would like to produce more offensively, without giving up anything. Been working on that.
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) January 1, 2021
Bonus quotes from coach Todd McLellan, Adrian Kempe, and Matt Roy can be found here.
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