Thursday was a travel day for the LA Kings. Things began with a morning skate at TSPC in El Segundo and then it was off to Denver for a weekend series vs. the Colorado Avalanche.
There are least a few news items to pass along…
Lost in everything that went down yesterday (& there was a lot):
Kings have been taking extra bodies on the road with them this season – different than the daily 'paper transactions' happening when they're home. Appears that Lias Andersson & Daniel Brickley will be on this trip.
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) March 11, 2021
Jonathan Quick is not on the LA Kings plane to Colorado. Should be Grosenick/Villalta vs the Avs.
JAD is traveling with the team.
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) March 11, 2021
Although Jaret Anderson-Dolan did travel with the team, he was still in a red non-contact jersey at practice. NHL coaches usually like to see a player have at least one full skate in a regular jersey, which at least suggests JAD probably won’t be ready for Friday’s game.
Two players who made an impact in the Kings win on Wednesday night over the Ducks were goaltender Troy Grosenick and defenseman Mikey Anderson. Below are some thoughts from both…
Grosenick on finding out he’d be playing vs. Anaheim and who he told ahead of time that he’d be getting his first NHL start in over five years
I actually don’t know if I ever was told for sure. When [Matt Villalta] was in the locker room across from me when I came to the rink on Wednesday for the game, that was a pretty good sign that it was on me. [Bill Ranford, goalie coach] said in morning skate, ‘This is what we planned for, this is what we talked about’, that’s all that needed to be said. As far as preparation and finding out late, I don’t think it really matters too much. Same old thing, just take the next shot as it comes, take the next day as it comes. If you’re prepared for anything, things don’t take you by surprise as much. I texted a few people. I told my wife, my parents, my brother, a couple close friends that had always said ‘Hey, if you’re gonna play, let me know.’ I kept it pretty quiet. though. I didn’t really know everything going on with Cal [Petersen]’s situation and it being the rapid test. We were still unsure in the morning. Hopefully everything’s alright with Cal.
On what he has done to stay sharp in the past year without consistent game action
Visualization, battle in practice, try to treat it as much as like a game as you can. Just get better every day. Games are important, it was important that I played a couple games with the Reign just to get that feel back. There are things that are a little different with traffic, it’s just a little bit more intense with guys going to the net. I just work hard every day and try to stay prepared for anything. At the end of the day, that’s all you can do when your games are limited.
On if he has had time to reflect at all on his long journey back to the NHL
A little bit. I gave myself a couple minutes in my visualization quiet time to reflect on that. Said to myself, ‘This is an opportunity that I’m working for, now go out, have fun, and it’s another game.’ That’s the mantra I had going into the game. I’m sure when I sit down with my wife, we’ll really look back on things. That’s when a lot of stuff will really set in.
Anderson on his perceptions of Drew Doughty before he started playing with him compared to now
Watching him growing up, he was a fun guy to watch through TV. You can see the energy he brings, how into the game he is – getting on other guys, you can see it in the camera. You see the passion he has for the game, just from watching him in practice and growing up seeing him in the games. Then you’re around him now, and you see him off the ice, you see behind the scenes of what he does. Being able to play with him now, his hockey sense is something I didn’t really think a ton about until I got to be with him day-in, day-out. He might be the smartest player I’ve ever played with. He knows where to be and he knows what plays to make. He sees a play that’s not necessarily there, sometimes he’s two steps ahead of where a normal guy is thinking. He’s able to get a puck on his stick, get it off his stick, and make a really good play pretty much every time.
On balancing a results-based environment like professional sports with knowing that he is going to make mistakes
The business side of it is we have to win hockey games. At the same time, throughout a game, nothing is gonna be 100% perfect. There are gonna be mistakes. It’s about having a short memory. You make a mistake, whether they talk about it on the bench with you or they bring you in after the game or whatever it may be, it’s having a short memory. Try to shake it off and worry about the next shift. You can’t change what happens. It’s about flipping the switch, being able to get back out there. The hard part too is trying to make plays. You might make a play and it doesn’t work, but you have to try and keep the confidence up to try and make the play again. It’s a results-based league and the way the job works.
On if there is a different strategy to defending younger players versus older, more experienced players
It can vary from player to player. Just from watching other games and being a part of them, some of the older players might be a little bit better down low, protecting pucks, making heavier plays along the walls, going to the net. Whereas a younger player might try and walk through you, more 1-on-1 dance moves, if you want to call them that. The way the game has been changing over the last couple years, it’s becoming more of a skilled league. A lot of the younger guys are more willing to try and make those ‘SportsCenter Top 10’ moves. Not that the older guys won’t do it, but the older guys have had tons of experience. They’re pretty good at protecting pucks and making those harder and heavier plays.
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Lead image via Getty Images / LA Kings
Some quotes may have been slightly edited for brevity and/or clarity.