Life doesn’t look to be getting any easier for an LA Kings team that was already missing key regulars like Matt Roy, Sean Walker, and Blake Lizotte. On Friday night, they lost Martin Frk for what appears to be something longer than just a day-to-day situation.
Prior to practice this morning, there was one ‘real’ roster move and several paperwork-type transactions. Boko Imama was returned to AHL Ontario (and with the Reign in Las Vegas for a weekend series vs. Henderson, he could play tonight – more on that later this afternoon). Additionally, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Mark Alt, and Austin Strand were moved to the taxi squad.
Officially, this puts the taxi squad at – Anderson-Dolan, Alt, Strand, Tobias Bjornfot, and Jacob Ingham.
And in other news:
Right back where he started.
LA was the only team to put a claim in – which is important, as it allows Kings to assign him right away. Plan is to assign him to Ontario for now. Grosenick will travel to LA and complete quarantine protocol. Then AHL/taxi goalies will be decided. https://t.co/ak1k8ZgIuY
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) February 6, 2021
LA Kings lineup at practice – Saturday, February 6
All players participated in practice, except Frk.
From what we’ve gathered, Kempe was moved to the right side on the previous Kempe-Vilardi-Frk line and Lias Andersson was slotted in as the new addition. We’ll have to see if that holds tomorrow for the team’s next game.
It's not what's happening, but here's what I'd do today:
Put Andersson as 2C. Get Luff in the lineup to replace Frk.
If Amadio has to stay in, put him at 4C.
That's not to say I don't want JAD in the lineup. I'm saying, if JAD has to come out to put Luff in, that's the move.
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) February 6, 2021
NOTE: This article will be updated with additional notes and quotes following McLellan’s media scrum later this morning.
On managing the speed Vegas brings to the game and/or adjusting to it
First of all, puck management – coaches say this all the time, you hear it in every league, ‘We have to get pucks deep, make their D turn.’ They’re old clichés, but they really hold true when you have a team that transitions as quick as this one does. There were numerous amount of times last night where we turned a puck over, for whatever reason, and their eyes were already up ice. They got the jump on us. There were other areas where we pinched and had poor covers. D-men, in particular, need to know their range. They know need to know the speed that’s coming at them and their own set of legs and their range. ‘How far can I push this? How much should I be cheating to keep players to the outside?’ We can do a better job of all of those things.
On the defensemen specifically, is it instinctual or instructional
Well, there’s a few different types of pinches. First of all, there’s a pinch on the forecheck, where you dump it in and you’re going to get it. We didn’t particularly get hurt because of that one last night. We gave up one 2-on-1 where the forward failed to cover and do a good job, but the the other pinches were on 50-50 pucks that were laying at the top of the slot. They’re trying to come down and keep a play alive. There’s nothing wrong with that, but make it happen. If you go, it has to happen. If you go and it doesn’t happen, we’re in a world of trouble because everybody’s anticipating the puck to get deep and go to the net. That hurt us more than anything last night.
On if there are any extra challenges of trying to do video work on the road
That’s a good question. This is our second road trip and things have changed dramatically since the first one, with the the updated protocols and the tighter window of having meetings. Our gameday routine has changed from what it was when we were in St. Paul 10 days ago. We still have a really large room at the hotel, basically a huge banquet hall, and we can socially distance and meet there, if we need to and and be safe. That’s what’s the most important thing. I find it better to meet at the arena, in the locker room, where players are more engaged. Their palms are already a little bit sweaty, they’re in their workout gear, their minds are already entering the game. When you do it at the hotel, it’s not where we do our work. It’s distant and they’re in their street clothes. But it is what it is, we have to deal with it and so do the the other 31 teams.
On the defensive side of things, is it better to give that group another opportunity in the next game or to make changes within the pairs
We’re still discussing that. It’s a lot easier when it’s just one pair or maybe one player, but the group as a whole had a tough night with the pace. The reinforcements aren’t on the way. We have what we have and we have to take the time to work with the defensemen – discuss what went wrong, how we can help them, put them in maybe better situations, timing-wise. We spent some of the morning doing that. I think being a defenseman, you need help as well from the forwards in certain situations and the goalie, as well. He can help out a lot too. To answer your question directly, we’re juggling some things around, we’re talking about using maybe a different player or two. Then, the other consideration is, the players that just played, they felt the pace, they felt the the type of game that was thrown at them. Maybe it’s a good idea to use them again. I don’t know what the answer is at noon on Saturday, but we better know by noon on Sunday.
On the possibility Tobias Bjornfot draws into the next game
There’s always that chance. Again, our backend had some troubles last night, so we’re looking at anything and everything.
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