Good afternoon, Insiders!
After yesterday’s day off to recharge the batteries, Kings held the skates of the entire team this morning before the upcoming trip to Minnesota. The team is expected to arrive in Gopher State later today, with an afternoon of 2:00 in the Pacific and 4:00 p.m.
Due to the day off, today’s skating was a bit intense, with 14 forwards, nine defenders and two goalkeepers on the ice. In preparation for Minnesota, we saw some work in balanced situations, as well as power play.
In terms of ranking, the top six looked the same, although the bottom six was more difficult to read, given the eight players in white jerseys. This is how those on the ice lined up –
Iafallo – Kopitar – Kempe
Moore – Danault – Arvidsson
White: Andersson, Byfield, Brown, Grundstrom, Kaliyev, Copper, Lemieux, Vilardi
Red: Athanasiou, Lizotte
Maatta – Spence
Roy – Stecher
Edler – Moverare – Strand
Fast / Petersen
As we learned on Thursday, defender Alex Edler is “kicked” and missed the evening match against the Oilers. Edler coached today, with Todd McLellan noting that he could be one of the options on this trip, as well as strikers Dustin Brown and Blake Lizotte, even if we wait and see until tomorrow whether it means a match in Minnesota or later. on the. Lizotte did not skate today, although according to McLellan this absence was not related to injury, and as already noted, an energetic center could be one of the options on this path, maybe tomorrow. Andreas Athanasiou also skated today, but he is a little further from his return to the action.
Lizotte’s eventual return, along with returns in due time for Brown and Edler, would give Kings a choice of 15 forwards, nine defenders and two goalkeepers to choose from on an evening basis, or somewhere on this three-match trek.
For the first time since the 2018-19 season, the Kings will play a full 82 matches this season.
While experienced players have done this throughout their careers, remembering and understanding what a longer board looks like, there are still some periods of adjustment to get back into full play. Of the 18 skaters on Thursday, only the top line Kopitar, Iafallo and Kempe were on the Kings 2018-19 team throughout the season, and while the others played as many as 82 before in the league, it’s been a while since we’ve seen it somewhere.
“It’s something you have to go back to, get used to it,” said Anze Kopitar. “The [2019-20] The season was interrupted by 71 games and then 56 games last year, so it’s a small adjustment, but I’ve personally played a few 82-game seasons, so you know a little bit what you can expect, a little refreshing your mind a little bit. “
This brings the importance of balancing the days off with the training days, between the crowded schedule, which has become much stricter due to the Olympic break that was. The Kings had to work with narrower gaps, especially during the last 5-6 weeks, with the postponement finally occurring from early to mid-April. Last week, the Kings had two stretches of two days off between matches, the first time they had been on the schedule since the February break.
Todd McLellan touched on the importance of rest and training time during the section, understanding the need on both fronts. In an interview with Kopitar this morning, he noted that leaders in a team like him are involved in the planning dialogue, although the decision is ultimately up to the coaches, who “usually know quite well what we need to know.”
Yesterday was a day off, although it was not so at the beginning of the season. Specifically for Copitar, yesterday gave him the mental refreshment he needed most than anything else.
“It’s different, sometimes you go to study a little bit, sometimes you go away, to the beach and you turn off your mind, you refresh yourself this way,” he said. “It simply came to our notice then. For me, my kids are on spring break, so I had my father’s service this week, but it’s also refreshing. It doesn’t sit, but it will take you somewhere else where you can turn it off for a while. “
Last season, mental refreshment was challenging due to restrictions throughout the league, even for players and staff outside the rink. With these restrictions removed and the nine important games remaining, a balance could be important, as we have seen in the last two days, depending on the response. We’ll see what the response is in Minnesota tomorrow.
Steps, skating and speed
It’s fast and it’s fast.
Todd McLellan believes that Adrian Kempe and Trevor Moore have the ability to be both. Their skating steps are what catch your eye, which suggests maybe huge differences.
The camp has long, strong strides that are extremely visible as it passes from zone to zone, increasing speed through the neutral zone and using it to attack defenders on larger areas of ice. Moore has shorter, more penetrating steps that will catch you more in the first three steps, while using an impressive dose to separate in smaller spaces. McLellan warned quickly, although he did not sell either for their ability to do the other, describing both players as “fast and fast,” which is not the case in everyone.
“There’s a contrast between them, but I wouldn’t cut Mooresy on long things or Juice on narrower things, he could turn a cent and run right away,” McLellan said. “There are differences, there are similarities, the visual is what I think will attract most people’s attention, but thanks to speed and speed, both are good for us right now, trusting players.”
Edmonton’s game visually pointed out the differences in how the two players skate. Take Moore’s shortened goal – Follow the short, strong steps to create a separation between him and Leon Draisaitl, creating the piece of space needed to transform the goal. Although this game is not necessarily a scrum, McLellan called Moore’s ability to escape from these “scrums and piles” the best on the team, while Kempe did not lag behind.
Kempe’s skating is certainly more pronounced when he is on open ice, but he can also use his feet in narrower and shorter situations. He has that escape ability to his game, as well as the first step needed to create space for himself in the offensive zone, as we saw on several of his goals last month from inside the blue line.
“They both use their feet to give them time and escape,” McLellan said. “We’re talking escape capabilities, Trevor Moore is probably the best we have on our team in escapes from scrums, piles of pucks or even just a free body, and Kemp would be there with him. These are valuable skills in today’s game. “
Both players also have skating skills to play at high speed. Kempe is prevalent in the eye when he gets a head as he uses his feet across the neutral zone to defeat the defender outwards and turn this situation into a chance to score. As the number of players on each side decreases in overtime, Kempe’s long strides become very visible in the end-to-end action. Moore’s is not as visible from game to game, but he has the ability to use his skating on the long side. Several leakage goals this season would point to this side of his game.
Both players, in McLellan’s eyes, were great contributors to skating on both ends of the ice.
“When people talk about skating, we talk about how fast Connor McDavid can go, how fast Kempe or Mooresy is, but there’s so much more to it,” McLellan added. “They know how and when to use their speed, and that’s a really good feature, they have well-rounded legs.”
Given tomorrow’s afternoon puck drop, I’m splitting today’s talks into two stories. Today’s remarks have a wider impact and tomorrow will contain some specific remarks on the match against Wild. The Kings are not scheduled for skating in Minnesota tomorrow as the puck will fall at 4 p.m.
In the morning, we’ll look at McLellan’s rating of Wild and the importance of not being “cool” in this match, as some players thought were on Thursday. Kopitar gave us his view of special teams with provided support trends and process / challenges for different players when returning to the event during a challenging time of year.
Good Saturday, Insiders! Talk soon.