Even for elite players, most of the game is spent on the bench.
It’s a sanctuary for rest, communication, and most importantly, in-game adjustments.
“There’s so many changing parts during a game, during a shift where a play happens in our favor, not in our favor, you come off and you talk about it,” Jeff Carter says on bench conversation.
Hockey is a game that hinges largely on correspondence with teammates, and the bench is the hub of the team’s crucial in-game line of communication.
“Every shift something happens that obviously you can work on,” Jamie McBain stresses. “So it’s very important that you’re able to talk and communicate every shift.”
Along with the players talking are the coaches, who along with Darryl Sutter is Davis Payne, who looks over the team’s forwards, and John Stevens, keeping an eye on the defense, while Sutter chaperones the bench as a whole.
Davis is very vocal,” Jordan Nolan says of the Kings’ assistant coach. “If he sees something he’s going to tell you, if he thinks you need to correct something he’ll let you know.”
The team’s communication doesn’t stem from just the bench, but high atop the arena’s press box, where goaltending coach Bill Ranford translates what he sees from a bird’s eye view down to the coaching staff at ice level.
“There will be communication as far as what just happened [on any given play],” Payne says, what was going on on that play that caused us difficulty, or how we can max more out of that play.”
See how the Kings players and coaching staff communicate during a game with an up-close, exclusive look at their bench during November 28’s 3-2 OT win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
WATCH: Black & White – Episode 6