As experienced as Enz Kopitar is, he still admits that he gets butterflies on the first day of training camp.
“I always panic on the first day, or at least the days of testing yesterday and today,” Kopitar admitted. “It’s definitely nice to be familiar with Todd’s first day and all that stuff, but still getting a little nervous at day 17. It’s always exciting.”
From between the pipes, goaltender Jonathan Quick shared similar thoughts.
“Looking back, there’s still excitement coming into the year, first day of camp for everyone,” shared Quick. “You can ask the elders, on the day of the exam you feel a little nervous and all. I don’t think much has changed.”
The same can be said for young Quinton Byfield, who is entering his third NHL training camp and coming in first with 40 games experience with the Kings last season.
“Yeah, definitely, a little nervous,” he said. “You look at the schedule, there is a lot on the plate. Your body has definitely moved through a grind, so you’ve been thinking about it a little bit and you always want to make a good first impression. You never know where you’re sitting there, so you’re going to want to give it your all day, so have some butterflies for me too. ,
Seasoned or rookie, Butterflies or not, the LA Kings hit the ice on day one today with a fresh look and a fresh set of expectations. Armed with last season’s playoff appearance, as well as a new offensive threat and growth opportunities for young players, the excitement and expectations are certainly higher for the Kings than in past seasons. More on that in a bit.
The Kings skated today with three groups – Group A and B provided a good mix of players competing for professional jobs at both the NHL and AHL levels, Group C composed more players on tryouts at the end of the day , whether it’s PTO or a camp invitation, mixed with some veterans. Group A started the day with a structured exercise, followed by a scrimmage that consisted of running time in two halves, before Group B did their practice. Group C concluded the day with their own practice session led by members of the Ontario Reign’s coaching staff.
The scrimmage saw Group A and B square off, with the teams tied 2–2 on the opening day of camp. The first half saw experienced Adrian Kempe and Philippe Danault trade goals, which came in an old fashioned way for both players. In the opening few minutes, Kempe forced a trade in neutral territory, walked away from the crowd and scored the first goal of the game at home. Danault then replied later, as he had cashed in from a familiar spot just outside the crease. Kempe away from the crowd, Danault in the dirty areas, it seemed that we were already back.
The second half was Anders on show, as we saw Lias Anderson and Jarrett Anderson-Dolan trade goals. Anderson fired a wrist shot from inside the right-hand circle with an assist from TJ Tynan home before Anderson-Dolan tied the game for two with a scramble in the front of the net. Kempe then cooled the game with a shootout game-winner.
Although it was a scuffle, on the first day of training camp, the line of Alex Iafalo, Quinton Byfield and Arthur Kaliyev was a solid unit, often expanding possessions in the offensive zone with a strong effort on the forecheck, providing several offensive opportunities. Were. , A good sign for the three players, who want to define what their roles are this season, with the first day those roles can be lumped together.
see here For a full look at the lineup on day one, posted here this morning on LAKI. Forward Viktor Arvidsson, coming out of off-season back surgery, skated on his own before hitting Group A’s ice, while defenseman Sean Durji, working to come back from off-season shoulder surgery, took Group C. Participated in a non-contact red color to skate with. jersey.
Todd McClellan shared that neither player’s Day 1 status was surprising. Arvidsson is still on his original timeline, and while he wasn’t with the whole group on day one, that’s not ruled out even three weeks out for Opening Night.
“From the day he hurt himself, all the way to surgery, he hasn’t fallen down his recovery path or anything like that, so we expected him to be delayed in training camp,” McClellan said.
With regards to Durji, the newly-signed defenseman skated in the third group in a non-contact jersey. There is a shorter timeline for Durji than Arvidson, with McClellan noting that Durji may be involved in one or two exhibition contests before the season. Surely Durji could soon be seen integrated into the whole group, at least compared to Arvidsson, which is certainly a good sign for the Kings.
“He developed with the group on a non-contact level for a short period of time and then he should come back,” McLean said. “I expect Sean to play an exhibition game or two. Possibly, he’s so close. He just needs a little more work.”
Many Kings players were impressed with his ideas from day one! Ange Kopitar’s outlook for the first day, Jonathan Quick on the transition from summer skates to formal training camp and Adrian Kempe’s hopes on Day 1, all filtered down as we work through the interview material gathered here on Day 1.
Ange Kopitar on what he personally sees from the first day of camp
As you get back into the fold, you’re shaking off the rust and getting used to the speed and the speed and the timing of it. It’s really good to get the body moving and back in the swing of things.
Jonathan Quick on moving from summer skates to formal practice
It’s a bit more organized, so it helps you with your reading, a little more structured practices, scrimmages and things like that. It’s definitely up a notch, guys [are playing] Tough and the speed is a bit high. So that kind of adjustment, it reads a little bit faster.
Drew Doughty if this year’s camp is exciting for him to recover from injury
Yes to be sure. I missed playing with guys, especially the first year in the first playoffs – and I honestly enjoyed watching them play – but it was eating at me all summer that I wasn’t really able to play. Very excited for this year. I really like the direction the team has gone and really I think we are going to be a really good team this year and I am very excited.
Trevor Moore on getting a summer workout on the first day of training camp
Just getting your feet back, that physicality, pretending to be with all of you guys. You can try to turn it on all summer long, but it’s different when people are up to you. You can hit the treadmill as much as you want, but it’s a whole different level of endurance and then once you’ve got your feet down, pretend and all that sort of thing comes next.
Philippe Danault on his second, first day with the LA Kings outfit
Brilliant. We see good momentum there, the boys are already burning, and pushing, so it was good. It was a mild day, but it’s nice to get a scrimmage, half a second faster than in the summer, to get you on the right track.
Adrian Kempe on first day’s hopes, coming off a career year
Yeah, definitely different because I really didn’t know last year where I was going to end up on that line and things like that. I ended up playing with Kopi for the most part so my hopes are the same as they were pretty much the whole year [last year], I’m probably going to end up playing with him and you know, the expectations are rising now, because from that year on we were as a team and for the year as well.
Kempe emphasized expectations at the end of that quote, and expectations were the topic of the day. Coming later this evening, we’ll have a more in-depth look at expectations and what that term means for the LA Kings, both internally and externally. Expectations have certainly changed, with players and coaches inside the room, as well as those of us involved from other angles, and everyone had their own view on what to expect here for the Kings.
Todd McClellan explained the process quite eloquently, while veteran players spoke about their perspectives and thoughts on what the season would expect. No matter who was talking, the enthusiasm was palpable and it came out in several interviews. More to follow in a few hours, Insider!