Sunday, September 19, 2010

Training Camp Observations

Is it just me, or was it a REALLY LONG SUMMER without hockey?  After a too-early exit from the play-offs, Kings fans had a long wait, made even longer by the free agency mess spawned by "The Battle of Kovalchuk."  Thankfully, the wait ended this weekend with the full club starting Training Camp at Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo bright and early Saturday morning.

I attended camp both Saturday and Sunday and took a ton of photos and video.  Those are all posted on the Kings Court Facebook Fan Page for your viewing pleasure.   After watching 14 hours of drills and conditioning skates, I'm more excited that ever to get this season started! 

Here are a few highlights:
  • Everyone is in great shape, from a conditioning standpoint.  Even the "old" guys (Smyth) have a jump in their step that was awesome to see.
  • Drew Doughty is still a huge fan favorite.  Cheers of "DREEEWWWW!" started the minute he took the ice Saturday.  Although apparently he's forgotten about the pain of cracking 7 teeth last season, because he's skating without a mouth guard again.  Nice smile, but BAD BOY!
  • No one is going to knock Dustin Brown off his skates...NO ONE.  I wouldn't try to take his puck, either.  (I'm looking at you, John Zeiler....)
  • If you were worried about Ponikarovsky being Frolov 2.0, worry no longer.  Poni is a definite upgrade -- bigger, faster, more engaged.  He's like The Bionic Fro.
  • Having two athletic, well conditioned, young, talented goaltenders is a FANTASTIC problem.
  • A line including Zeus, Simmer, and Poni would be downright scary...and I mean crash-the-crease and bang in some ugly goals scary.  I think I love it.  And I also think Poni and Simmer have a little bromance going judging from all the chest bumping out there.
  • Drew Doughty and Willie Mitchell are going to make a nice pairing, and I think Jack Johnson and Rob Scuderi are gonna work out well too.
  • Davis Drewiski is DETERMINED.  Everything about his work in camp screamed, "I want my spot back."  I think he gets it.
  • Kopitar needs to officially change his name to Kopi-Star.  I smell some big points totals coming.
  • Justin Williams is still a huge question mark.  But he looks good out there, ladies.  Do we keep him around just to up the hotness quotient?  Probably not, so I hope he brings some game.  I'm reserving further judgment until the season starts and I see play for real.
  • Kevin Westgarth has improved his skating, but on a few drills his head didn't seem to be telling his feet to do the right thing.  Maybe the hair is finally starting to drag him down?
  • Thomas Hickey is as good as he can possibly be at this point.  Is it good enough?  I still don't know. 
  • Dylan King won't make the team, but he earned the love of everyone in the crowd with that epic black eye.  Remember Dylan, chicks dig scars....
The bottom line?  It's a great time to be a Kings fan.  So don't go anywhere...you're in for an exciting season!

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