Soon after Dean Lombardi arrived as GM of the LA Kings in 2006 he made two then-somewhat-unpopular trades. Eric Belanger and Tim Gleason were traded to Carolina for Jack Johnson. And Patrick O’Sullivan was acquired from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Pavol Demitra.
It’s obvious at this point which ended up being the better of the deals.
O’Sullivan has since played for three different teams – including two this year. Prior to tonight’s game vs. the Kings, I sat down with him for some exclusive comments about the Kings-Wild match-up…
MM: You’ve been with Minnesota now for seven games. How are you fitting in?
POS: I think it’s been pretty good. I feel pretty comfortable here and I’m starting to get used to how the team plays and the guys I’m playing with. It’s been a bit of a struggle for our team lately. But, we had a good game in our last game – got a win against a good team in their rink, so it’s something to build on (they beat the Coyotes 3-2 in Phoenix on Thursday). The Kings will be a tough test.
[note: after starting the year with the Carolina Hurricanes he was waived by them in late November]
MM: Going back to last month, did you see the end coming in Carolina or was it a bit of a surprise to you?
POS: I was happy about it. I was barely playing there. So, I was hoping that was going to happen a month before it did. I think I can play in this league and contribute. So, I was happy to come somewhere where I was going to have a better opportunity.
MM: In a quirk of the schedule and timing of things, you were already here earlier this year with Carolina. There were quite a few O’Sullivan jerseys in the crowd that night. Did you notice you still have some supporters here in LA?
POS: I’ve seen a couple of them when I come back to play here. I think the first organization you start your career with, you always have a special place for them (note: he was referring to the Kings…even though he was drafted by Minnesota in 2003, he made his NHL debut with Los Angeles in 2006-07). A lot of players on the Kings, we came into the league at the same time and kinda grew up together our first two or three years in the league. I have some good friends that still play here and I really enjoyed my time playing here. It’s a great place to live and the fan support is awesome. It’s just a good organization. I enjoy coming back and playing against them too.
MM: Speaking of that – some guys admit to putting pressure on themselves to produce in front of their former team. How do you keep your emotions in check in a situation like that and remain focused?
POS: You’d love to score against your old team and obviously you think about that. But, once the game starts, you have enough to worry about – trying to play the way you need to to be successful in this system. So, you probably think about it more before the game. Once it starts, you just play.
MM: Back to your time with the Kings organization and growing up with some of their players, do you have any good stories from your days in Manchester (AHL)?
POS: Lots of good stories. I’m not sure they’re printable though. Going back there for the playoffs was great though (2006-07). It was one of the most fun experiences I’ve had playing hockey. We had a good team there. We had a lot of fun and we had a good playoff run too. Lots of good times with those guys. That was the last time I played a playoff game too, so it’s been a while.
Game Preview with Jose Theodore – talking Bernier, Staples Center, Ryan Smyth, etc.
Game Preview with Andrew Brunette – talking Smyth, goalies, momentum, etc.