Practice 11/9 – Winning 1-0, McLellan on Quick & Power Play, Roy’s Growth & Consistency
Happy Hump Day, insiders!
The Kings returned to the ice this morning in El Segundo between home games. The current four-game homestand is off to a great start from a results standpoint, with a pair of wins and a very interesting start from a stylistic standpoint.
LA defeated the Florida Panthers on Saturday evening in a thrilling back-and-forth game, 5-4, before coming off a 1-0, tight control and full of blocked shots against the Minnesota Wild. In many ways, it was important for the Kings to get a 1-0 win. For a team that has struggled to keep pucks out of the net consistently, winning a game like this is a solid step forward.
“The last three weeks we’ve talked about whether we can win a game 2-1 or 1-0,” Todd McLellan said after the game. “We found a way to do it.”
Perhaps the mental side of things was the most important when it comes to last night’s win. The Kings have won games 7-6 and now twice 5-4 this season, but have yet to win a game when they have scored fewer than four goals.
That changed last night as the Kings won 1-0.
“Yes, it is [important]” Todd McLellan said. “Trent Yawney always says don’t criticize a win, a win is a win, it goes to the bank and you need it and however you can make that deposit, make it. In the long run, you have to play the right way to increase the score and part of doing that was being able to check our way to a win. I thought we did that last night and they were rewarded. When you ask a group and they’re able to do that, it’s powerful.”
Viktor Arvidsson was inclined to agree.
“Yeah, obviously it was good to put a team out,” he said. “I think we played a solid game and it was tight checking the whole game and we won. We just want to win games and it’s difficult in this league, so it’s good.”
What was perhaps the most encouraging sign for the Kings was seeing things they worked on in practice show up in the game. The Kings focused on a few areas of their game during Monday’s practice that showed up on the ice Tuesday. This is a good sign. Today’s practice also offered some focal points, including a lengthy session on the power play, although overall it was a bit shorter than Monday’s skate.
With that in mind, here’s how the Kings lined up for practice today, wearing the forum blue and gold jerseys we all love to see:
Kempe – Kopitar – Vilardi
Moore – Danault – Arvidsson
Vial – Copper – Grundstrom
Anderson – Doughty
McLellan talks fast, power play
First, Todd McLellan gave two extensive responses regarding Jonathan Quick’s play and power play performance, both last night and last night. These quotes, in full, are available below:
About Jonathan Quick and his importance to the group
I could keep you here all day saying good things about Quickie because it’s easy to make. You start with everyone around him, we all work with him and I’ve said this before, I think goalkeeper is a difficult position and I personally think the team plays for that individual rather than being an additional position. I think when Quickie is in, our guys want to play for him and I think that’s a big thing. He’s competitive, a leader, I know once or twice a goalkeeper has been given a “C” and we’re not going down that road, but that doesn’t mean you can’t lead. He’s been able to take Clarkie under his wing, just the things he does for his teammates without anyone knowing is pretty remarkable. I could talk about their savings and all these other things, but sometimes you don’t know the person and I think it’s more than you’re asking me, the person.
On the power play and his struggles last night
Our power play last night was anemic and we didn’t create enough momentum to get energy out of it. I thought it took some energy out of our team. We had a chance to regroup after the second period and refocus, which was important, but if the result of that game had been different, say 1-0 to the opposition, we would still have focused on the power play, but I probably should have pointed more fingers at him. The other reason is I think we played well enough to win in Chicago, we did some really good things, but the power play was ineffective there as well. It’s time to get it together and play as hard as we can. We’ve been really good on the power play in some games, it’s been outstanding, but it kind of matches our game, which hopefully we’re going to go 5-on-5 now where the inconsistency is just too much.
An interesting theme in recent days has been the team’s lack of training time early in the season. That’s changed this week, with the Kings scheduled for three practices here at home, but managing the body without practice time has been a big part of the process for the first month or so of the season.
A number of player names have been thrown around as guys who do a good job with it, and many were the usual suspects, your veteran, card-carrying, guys you’d expect. Another name in that mix was a younger veteran, though, Matt Roy. A truly consistent individual with his style of play and approach to the game, Roy’s professionalism also translated off the ice and provided a strong example for younger defensemen to watch and learn from.
“Recovery, taking care of your body, the older guys preach that, taking care of your body physically and mentally and Royzie is a really good guy at that,” Sean Durzi said. “We met down the road right at the hotel, whether we use the amenities there, the sauna, the stretching, the hydration, it’s all part of being a professional player and a successful NHL player.”
Todd McLellan referenced the coach’s phrase of being a “true professional” in today’s media availability when he referenced Roy. He talked about being mindful when it comes to systems and structure, but also taking care of yourself the right way off the ice when it comes to eating right and getting enough sleep.
It’s not easy for all younger players, and now with a couple of years under his belt, Roy seems to have found that balance.
“Some of the younger players are trying to figure it out and struggle early,” McLellan said. “They can be on the plane until two in the morning playing cards when they need to rest, they can be playing at night when they should be sleeping and the hours get mixed up. It’s part of growing up and learning and Matt Roy he’s done. He’s a man, he’s mature, he does it very well and that’s why he’s so consistent.”
For Roy’s part, he doesn’t necessarily feel like he’s doing anything crazy or out of the norm, though he admitted that it might be something that plays into the fact that his game tends to be at the same level most of the time. nights
The same has not happened to him since the first day until now. He has grown as a veteran and been able to see what others have done before him, learning and implementing along the way. With very little ice practice time on the road this season, Roy found things like breathing exercises and a good sauna on the road to be a good substitute on a day without ice practice.
“I’ve been playing around with a few things over the years,” he said. “I do a little bit of breathing before games and before I go to bed, but I think the main part is just trying to eat healthy, staying hydrated and trying to get in the sauna when we can. It feels good, it’s something that I think it helps me do. It can be a good substitute for a good sweat, rather just feeling good and being ready.”
Regardless, the example being set is strong and the on-ice performance of a player who excels at stifling the offense speaks for itself.
Today we had a great conversation with Viktor Arvidsson which we will share in the next few days with some supporting quotes. Great to see 33 looking more like him last night. A few more storylines heading into tomorrow as the Kings look for a bounce-back result against Chicago this evening.
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