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

Kings Of the Podcast: Ep. Q for Quarantine – With Mike Stothers

There have simply been too many news stories of late. We only had one choice. It’s time for the return, so here you go – Kings of the Podcast, Quarantine Edition.
And we even have a special guest… Mike Stothers.
Listen to the show for free using the audio player below or check us out on all […]

LA Kings 2020 Prospect Rankings: The Top Three Players

Finally, we’re ready to reveal the No. 1 player on our annual LA Kings Prospect Rankings.
As noted in the previous article from this series, our original intention was to publish the entire Top 15 before the NHL Trade Deadline in February. Things happen. However, the final rankings were completed in January and have been […]

LA Kings 2020 Prospect Rankings: Players No.4-6

The wait is over, it’s time to pick up where we left off with our annual LA Kings Prospect Rankings.
As you’ll see below, this is an abbreviated version of what you’d normally get in our scouting reports. However, this is a weird time we’re living in and it seems everything is different these days. […]

Major News Items

LA Kings 2020 Prospect Rankings – Goalie Depth Chart

Before we get started here, some context… While normally our Midseason Prospect Rankings come out shortly after the World Junior Championships, we held off in anticipation of any deals the Kings may make prior to the … [Read More...]

More Prospect News

About John Hoven

John Hoven is a member of the of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and co-hosts Kings of the Podcast. He is also the founder and editor of MayorsManor.com, which has been named Best Sports Blog in Los Angeles by LA Weekly and Hockey Blog of the Year by Yahoo Sports. Click "ABOUT OUR TEAM" above for a full bio.