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by Jeremy Zager / Los Angeles Kings
Things continued to pick up here at Day Four of Development Camp. There has been a definite progression from day one. That’s by design of course.

Kings assistant coach Dave Lewis said yesterday they wanted the players to take it step-by-step. Start out slow and get the fundamentals down, then get quicker and quicker as the days went on. Today was the last set of individual morning sessions for the Purple Group, so the drills were amped up.

The Purple Group is in town through Monday, but starting tomorrow they will be joined by the Gold Group, who is here until July 18. During the overlap however, (Saturday through Monday), groups will be split into Team A and Team B. Then Tuesday the Gold Group will take over. The Kings Daily Notebooks will also go on hiatus until Tuesday, but keep tuned to for exclusive video, features and of course, the LIVE Streaming of the Scrimmage game on Monday. Got all that?

Back to today…

The forwards practiced first this morning, working on deflections and blocking shots – maybe not the most fun drills in the world. Both are an essential part of the game though and a lot of times the difference maker. How many times do you see a shot from the point re-directed into net? There’s probably at least one per game. And blocked shots have always been an underrated part of the game.

There was a Bryan Cameron sighting today, however not on the ice. Cameron, who’s been out sick, made his first appearance at camp today. He did some off ice workouts and will hopefully strap on the skates tomorrow.

Next came the defensemen, minus Martin Nolet. The 6-3, 209-pound blue-liner had a sore back this morning, but it’s nothing serious. He was back on the ice for the afternoon skate. Defensive drills this morning focused on two-on-one, two-on-two and three-on-one situations down low in front of the net.

The goaltenders had their busiest morning workout of the week. It was a shooting gallery out there. Most of their sessions this week had to do with technique, but today the pucks were flying. Dustin Brown suited up and did his best to pepper the goalies too. Not a bad test for the guys between the pipes.

One word to describe the afternoon session: “intense.” That word has been thrown around for the afternoon practice this week and it was certainly evident today. The guys were being pushed hard and that was obvious. Pretty much the same drills so nothing new to report there, but all were amped up for sure. A little more hitting too. Again, nothing remotely dirty. Just guys battling hard.

With about 10 minutes left in practice, we had our first glimpse of Viatcheslav Voynov (that’s the official spelling by the way). Voynov, the Kings’ second round pick (32nd overall) in this year’s draft, obviously couldn’t get much work in today, but look for him to show off his skills tomorrow.

Here were the comments from Day 4:

Bill Ranford – Kings Goaltending Coach:
(on today’s goaltending drills)
“We picked it up today with more compete drills than the previous days when we worked more with their structure and technique. We wanted to find out of if these guys could come out of that technical box a little bit. We still wanted them to be technically sound, but tested them a bit more today.”

(on who is standing out)
“Obviously Jonathan Bernier has a little bit of an edge. He had a little bit of a taste the first month of the season last y ear. And he’s very technically sound and very poised in net. That gives and opportunity for Jeff Zatkoff and Linden Rowat to watch him and see how patient he is.”

(on the three goaltenders rooting for each other)
“We’re making sure they’re having fun. They’re spending a lot of time together and getting to know each other. And you need that goalie camaraderie.”

Josh Meyers – Kings seventh round pick (206th overall) in 2005 NHL Entry Draft 700K :
(on his evaluation of the week so far)
“It’s been really good. I’m learning a lot and gaining great experience out there. I’m trying to work on the little things. I’m slowing everything down and getting down to the basics. They’re teaching us to start slow and then get faster…It’s great meeting all the guys and being out on the West Coast. I love it.”

Niclas Anderson – Kings fourth round pick (114th overall) in 2006 NHL Entry Draft 700K :
(on how his body is feeling/experiences of his second camp)
“You’re body is a little stiff in the morning, but you warm up and then feel fine in the afternoon. This is my second camp and it’s a lot easier this time because I know the coaches and more of the guys. It’s more of a loose feeling and much more comfortable.”

Martin Nolet – Kings fifth round pick (144th overall) in 2006 NHL Entry Draft 700K :
(on the defenseman drills)
“I missed camp last year with an injury, so this year I’m just trying to learn as much as possible. These drills are definitely helping my game and give me confidence going into to next season. The Kings are doing a great job strengthening the defensive core and I’m excited to be a part of it.

(on making the transition from forward to defense)
“I’ve been playing defense for two years now, making the switch my second year of juniors. My coaches saw something in my game and decided to move me back. I use my speed and vision more affectively as a defenseman. I was going nowhere as a forward, so I’m certainly glad I made the switch.”

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