Photos and Notes from Kings Camp – Day 1

Today was the first time I’ve  ever attended a day of Kings’ training camp, and though it wasn’t terribly exciting (not too much different than watching a mid-season practice), it was still fun to see a couple of the young guys out there, and was GREAT to see Kopitar skating around on the ice again.

I was mostly watching the action on the ice, so I didn’t really get many good pictures, but here are a few decent ones for those who wish to see them.

Brown, Gagne, Richards (Photo by Philip Loos - Rights Reserved)

Brad Richardson (Photo by Philip Loos - Rights Reserved)

Dustin Brown (Photo by Philip Loos - Rights Reserved)

Terry Murray (Photo by Philip Loos - Rights Reserved)

Kevin Westgarth (Photo by Philip Loos - Rights Reserved)

Trevor Lewis (Photo by Philip Loos - Rights Reserved)

JMFJ (Photo by Philip Loos - Rights Reserved)

Mike Richards, Trevor Lewis (Photo by Philip Loos - Rights Reserved)

Bernier sprawls out (Photo by Philip Loos - Rights Reserved)

Jonathan Bernier (Photo by Philip Loos - Rights Reserved)

I wasn’t able to stay long enough to see all the Kings groups skate, but I saw most of them. Here were my takeaways:

1) Kopitar looked great. His skating looked smooth and confident, and even after months of layoff, he was still clearly one of the best players on the ice – even if he did show some rust. If I hadn’t known he was returning from injury, I never could have guessed that was the case.

2) Brandon Kozun is super legit. Wow. This kid just has a nose for the puck and for the net. I don’t care about his size. He could be 3 foot 6. He flat out scores goals and nobody impressed me more than he did. We have a RW3 spot open. I hope he wins it.

3) Voynov should make the team this year. If he doesn’t, I don’t know what his future holds with the Kings. Personally, I would love to see the Kings trade Jack Johnson and go with Doughty-Mitchell, Martinez-Scuderi, Voynov-Greene, with Muzzin as the extra D-man, but Jack’s not going anywhere. #sadface Instead, it will most likely be Doughty-Mitchell, Johnson-Scuderi, Martinez-Greene, with Muzzin and Voynov fighting for the final spot. I’ve heard so many great things about Muzzin and some of my die-hard Kings fans love the guy, but I personally don’t really see it. To me, his upside is a 3rd pairing defender and he’s never really impressed me much when he’s been with the big club. Voynov, on the other hand, has the skills to be a 1st D pairing guy.  He is more a finesse, smooth skating, great vision, good decision-making kind of player than he is a hard-hitting, mean, stay at home defenseman like Muzzin. The Kings seem to value both, so it’s tough to predict which will get the call, but if it were up to me, Voynov would get the call – ESPECIALLY if Drew’s contract status remains unresolved through the beginning of the season.

4) Loktionov is just plain fun to watch. There was one play in particular where he dangled the puck and held on to it for just the PERFECT amount of time to lull the defense to sleep and set up a wide open Ethan Moreau for a goal. If you can get Ethan Moreau to score the puck, you must be special! (Just kidding Ethan! Ok, I’m not really kidding.) Though it’s hard to see a spot for him on this team unless Terry Murray decides to abandon his entire lifelong philosophy and replace “heavy” style players – ahem, Westgarth, ahem – with skill players, I hold out hope that Lokti will make it. Unfortunately, what with Kopitar, Richards, and Stoll cemented as the top 3 centers, he’d have to be used on the 4th line. I doubt they feel that’s the best course of action for his development. Most likely, he replaces Stoll next year as the C3. In any case, I’d love to see him with the big club sooner than later. I would hate to see his wonderful talent and clear love for the game come to fruition on another team.

5) I kept looking down at my sheet saying, “Who the blazes is this #47 guy?” Oh, right, Trent Hunter again. Hmm. He’s an interesting long shot to make the club, but he has a reputation as a hard-hitting, defensive type, and he also impressed me with his poise and decision making. He had an injury plagued season with the Islanders last year, but he’s still only 31, and is my dark-horse candidate to take the RW3 spot.

6) Dustin Penner is GINORMOUS. I keep forgetting how freaking huge this guy is. I think he’s poised for a big season (contract year!) and he really does have a terrific touch around the net. There was a moment between drills where he had the puck in front of the net and was just toying with Chris Gibson (poor fella), getting him to look like a flailing fish out of water with several shot fakes, before casually flipping it over Gibson’s shoulder into the net. It  was impressive. And hilarious. Seriously, poor Gibson.

7) I didn’t see anything from Gagne that made me any more optimistic about him. I think he’ll be ok, but I think the expectations for him are too high. He’s probably my #1 candidate to be a disappointment to most Kings fans this upcoming season. I hope I’m wrong.

8) There’s no chance in hell that Richards is 6’1″ as it showed on the roster guide. He was standing directly next to a player listed as 6’0″ and was a good 2 inches shorter. But there’s no doubt he plays bigger. Can’t wait to see him and Brown wreck the living crap out of people this season.

9) Trevor Lewis looked poised and mature. I expect big strides from him this year.

10) Can we please sign Drew and start the season already?

One Response to “Photos and Notes from Kings Camp – Day 1”
  1. Nancy Loos says:

    Excellent commentary and pics!

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