Below are the line combos and defensive pairings used by coach Todd McLellan at Sunday’s LA Kings practice, which was the team’s first on-ice activity since returning to town late Thursday night following their game vs. the Minnesota Wild.
LA Kings Lineup at Practice
Iafallo – Kopitar – Frk (still on IR)
Wagner – Amadio – Carter
Grundstrom – Vilardi – Brown
Moore – Andersson – Kaliyev
Anderson-Dolan – Luff (IR, non contact jersey)
Anderson – Doughty
MacDermid – Clague
Maatta – Alt
NOTE: several roster moves took place earlier in the day
Arthur Kaliyev and Austin Strand were recalled from AHL Ontario, while Sammy Fagemo and Boko Imama were returned to the Reign. Thus, the Taxi Squad is officially listed as – Andersson, Anderson-Dolan, Kaliyev, Strand, Mark Alt, and Matt Villalta
All my work is done here. @Arthur_Kaliyev has officially been assigned No. 34 by the LA Kings.
Also been recalled from AHL and placed on the taxi squad.
Practice begins at 11am. pic.twitter.com/kn5QPIRxwe
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) January 31, 2021
Following practice, McLellan shared the following comments:
McLellan on the status of Matt Roy, Sean Walker, and Adrian Kempe
Walker and Roy are both out for an extended period, we’ll probably give you more of an update on their condition later in the week. Kempe wasn’t feeling good today. He’s not in COVID protocol at all, he just didn’t feel good and that’s our update.
On how Martin Frk looked in his first practice back
He skated well for a guy that had a groin injury and hasn’t been able to skate a lot. It’s been two to two and a half weeks since he was last on the ice in a practice situation, so I thought he looked really good considering. We’ll need to get his legs underneath him a little bit over the next day or two, and then anticipate by the weekend he’ll be able to be back in our lineup full time.
On the balance between keeping a line together vs. giving guys a bump in the lineup when their play has earned more minutes
If we have four lines going, it’s quite simple; we just keep rolling them out. When you look at our fourth line, I thought it was quite productive on the road. I thought it was effective, but we lost a couple key players in some important positions, so now we have to start to shuffle things around. I think circumstances dictate the shuffling and the level of play dictates the shuffling. In this case, it’s more circumstance than anything.
On what he’ll be looking for from Olli Maatta if he returns to the lineup sometime this week
He had a chance to reset. Coming to a new organization is not easy. He got off to a bit of a rough start and [we gave him] a chance to settle in, watch some games, be in some more meetings, understand his positional role. He’s a veteran player. He knows how to do it. At times, I think he’s trying too hard to impress his new teammates and coaches. As a result, he can be over or under aggressive depending on the situation, but it’s there, it will come. He’s an outstanding human being. We believe in him, so there’s so many positives for him. If he wasn’t that type of person or didn’t have that track record, we’d be concerned, But I think he’s gonna come back in and give us good minutes.
On what he saw on video over the past few days when re-watching the previous games
Each game was a little bit different. If I could sum up our our games to this point, the special teams have been much better than they were last year at this point. We’re way further along, they’re more productive. Power play seems to get us important goals at good times. The penalty kill has been pretty solid, and that’s the four players and the goaltender all getting together. Five-on-five we’re a little bit loose in some areas, some of it’s puck management. I thought in the past, there was a lot more structural mistakes, systematic mistakes. Right now, we’re getting just some brain cramps that put teammates in bad spots. We give up a simple or an easy goal, maybe something that’s defendable, but it’s an individual error rather than a group error. Five-on-five, we’ve got to prevent a little bit more and score a little bit more in those areas. If we can clean that up, we’ll be fine. It’s probably going to be game 45 and I’m still going to be telling you we have a lot of work to do. We just do, that’s where we are as an organization. Take each day as it is and and try to move the the train forward a little bit.
On if he had an opportunity to watch the Reign games on Friday or Saturday
I wasn’t at the at the games. With the the protocol situation that we’re dealing with, we stayed away from the arena. But, obviously, video-wise, and maybe more importantly, talked with Wrobo about what he has liked about his team and individuals, maybe the work that needs to be done with some of them. That type of interaction is as important as watching the games. They’re obviously getting some good performances by some individuals. Structurally, they’re picking things up. That’s all a real positive sign down there. There real season will start here real quick and we hope that they can perform at a high level so they’re ready to play when they’re called up.
On what he wanted to accomplish with the two days of practice before facing Anaheim on Tuesday
It was an adjustment for us. We had a practice scheduled for yesterday, which was Saturday. That was gonna be a bit of a clean out day, get our our legs cleaned out our minds cleaned out, address some things video-wise and maybe be a little lighter, then take it up a notch today. We lost that day, so today we got our engine going again. We had a pretty competitive day, nothing special team-wise. Everything was 5-on-5, a lot of full ice stuff. Then, a lot of net play stuff, loose pucks, both offensively and defensively, what we can do in certain situations. Tomorrow, we’ll get back out there. We want to be fast tomorrow, we want to be clean. We’ll spend some time on special teams and then we’ll be ready to play our our rival.
On if he’s ever had this level of roster complexity just eight games into a season
No. The answer is just no. And it’s so unpredictable because we don’t know what’s coming. I almost feel guilty answering that question because I know there are 30 other coaches right now that are answering it the same way. You wake up in the morning and we had a zoom call over the weekend, where we went through our roster and lineup, who would we have, who wouldn’t we have, Yet when we got here this morning, it took some time to sort everything out – ‘OK, who’s officially cleared? Who isn’t?’ Then the injuries. When you look at two COVID protocol people being out, I consider those like injured guys, they’re unavailable. Two defenseman, two forwards going down. We’re six players short eight games in. I don’t like our numbers when we’re averaging almost one a night. We’ll work our way through. That’s why we have depth and there’s guys that are practicing hard, waiting for their opportunity to come in. I think that’s a real healthy thing, that if they get a chance, they have to take advantage of it. Odds are they’re going to get that chance.
On the difference between protocol and injury, where one is almost day-to-day uncertainty
It can be. There’s so many different variables when you hear ‘COVID protocol’ – from a COVID case, to the contact tracing scenario, different timelines for different types of situations. In our case, we’re dealing with what we can do and take a lot of guidance from the training staff, who have done an outstanding job.
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