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KINGS NOTEBOOK (JULY 9)

by Jeremy Zager / Los Angeles Kings
Day two of development camp is in the books, while we still have nine days left, you can already tell everyone is starting to settle in: players, coaches and staff. Everyone seems to be falling into a nice groove.

The Purple Group is still center stage right now, as the second group doesn’t start workouts here until Saturday (Click here for complete schedule.)

Drills were still pretty basic today, which is exactly what the coaches want right now. They’re all stressing this camp isn’t a competition and jobs aren’t on the line right now. I keep hearing, “it’s only July, it’s only July.” That being said, you can be sure the players are still giving it their all. Jobs may not be on the line, but hey… you only get one chance to make a first impression.

The defenseman took the ice first today, with Kings assistant coach Jamie Kompon leading the drills. The entire hour was spent working on breaking out of the zone. If you were sitting in the stands, you’d hear Kompon stressing two things: “look up” and “support.” He was drumming into the kids’ heads to always make sure they can see what’s in front of them and to use their defensive partner.

The goaltenders were next. Goaltending coach Bill Ranford is leading this squad – makes sense to me! The focus was again controlling rebounds and cutting down the angles. It wasn’t so much on stopping the puck, but being in the right position and using fundamental goaltending techniques.

The forwards rounded out the morning sessions. The hour was spent primarily on driving to the net. Kings assistant coach Nelson Emerson is heading up this group and said he wants the forwards to practice getting to net more freely and being able to make a play.

Fans may have noticed that No. 55 wasn’t out there. Well, that’s Bryan Cameron. No injury here (breathe a sigh of relief). Cameron has been under the weather the last few days. Emerson hopes to have him back on the ice in the next day or two.

The afternoon session was again more intense than the morning practices – no surprise there. A lot of skating, a lot of passing and the goaltenders got in a nice workout too. The bulk of the practice was focused on 2-on-1 and 2-on-2 drills. Things definitely looked a lot smoother out there. Again, it’s probably a case of everyone settling in and feeling more comfortable. Look for more of the same tomorrow.

Here were the comments from Day 2:

Kings Assistant Coach Nelson Emerson: 700K
(On the defensive session drill being more teamwork related)
“Obviously defense plays with two guys and we want our guys to use their partners. They should be helping each other, which will make the five-man unit as a whole more effective.”

(On the goalie drills being more technique based)

“The goalie position has become so specific and you’ve seen it become more technical in the last six or seven years. Our goalies are working hard and working hard on their technique. But at the end of the day, every sport boils down to having good athletes. So at the end of the day, they’ll need to make the saves.”

(On some players coming into camp already knowing each other)
“If I was a player, I’d feel way more comfortable if I came in here and knew someone or had one of my teammates with me. There are a few guys here that have that advantage and that’s definitely helping them.”

(On Bryan Cameron)
“I feel sorry for the poor kid. He flew all this way from Toronto and gets sick. Hopefully we’ll have him back tomorrow.”

(On some of the notable players at camp)

“We’re really not singling anyone out. Like I said, this isn’t a competition this week. It’s just trying to develop their skills and get them to improve. Right now the kids are very excited. That’s the biggest thing, I love that.”

Justin Azevedo – Kings sixth round pick (153rd overall) in 2008 NHL Entry Draft:
(On his experiences so far)
“We got a great group of guys here, we all feel welcome and the staff has helped a lot…This is a great learning experience and L.A. is an unbelievable place to be. I’m very happy to be here.” 700K 

Garrett Roe – Kings seventh round pick (183rd overall) in 2008 NHL Entry Draft:
(On being drafted and his experiences in camp so far)
“It’s a great feeling to be drafted, especially to a team like the Kings. It’s a great organization and a team on the rise. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be… Everyone out here is a great player and this camp is about coming together as a group and improving our skills. The pace picks up during the afternoon practice because we’re doing more hockey-like drills. You have to be ready and prepared once you step onto the ice.”

Oscar Moller – Kings second round pick (52nd overall) in 2007 NHL Entry Draft:
(On returning for his second development camp/what he’s working on)
“I know more of the staff and what to expect so I’m definitely more comfortable being here this year. I was a little more nervous last year at this time…This year I’m trying to focus more on my skating, speed, balance and overall body strength.” 700K

Dwight King – Kings fourth round pick (109th overall) in 2007 NHL Entry Draft:
(On returning for his second development camp)
“I’m definitely not as nervous this year and more relaxed. It’s good to come back and see familiar faces. And I know people here like Colten [Teubert] and Drew [Doughty] and it’s exciting to see them as well. Anytime you’re familiar with a situation and other people it makes things easier.”

Geordie Wudrick – Kings third round pick (88th overall) in 2008 NHL Entry Draft:
(on participating in his first development camp)
“It’s my first time in California and it’s awesome to be here. I’m super excited and just trying to soak everything in the last couple of days. Camp has been incredible so far. The facility here is top notch and everyone has been great.”

Make sure to log onto LAKings.com/devcamp08 throughout the Development Camp to check out the daily notebook.

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