LAKings.com caught up with Kings Assistant Coach Jamie Kompon to ask about last season, this season’s expectations and the upcoming Kings Hockey Fest ‘09.
LAKings.com: What were your overall impressions of working with head coach Terry Murray last season?
Jamie Kompon: It was a big change for myself personally and the team. Our demand of defense first really went a long way and you can see where we finished the previous couple of years to where we finished last season. We really made a conscious effort to hammer home that point. Obviously our goals for we weren’t happy with, but we definitely wanted to improve our defense. You don’t see many 9-8 games or barn burners anymore and I think Terry did a great job instilling that in our team and moving from there. We’ve got a great foundation coming into this season.
LAKings.com: What are some of the improvements you’re working on going into this season?
Jamie Kompon: You’re always looking to improve. Our goals against is still one area we’d still like to improve. Obviously you want to get into that Top 5 area. And the other area we’re really going to put a big push to is the offensive zone and getting pucks to the net. If you look at teams today everything is getting funneled to the net and we need to a better job getting pucks on net and staying around, battling for those loose pucks. We do have a skilled team, but at the same time even skilled teams get pucks to the net. You look at teams like San Jose and Detroit and they’re one of the league leaders in goals for every year and you look at their shots for and they’re up there as well.
LAKings.com: How important was it to have a lot of the players work out together this summer?
Jamie Kompon: I think it’s a great, great thing what the veterans did calling everyone up and making everyone make the commitment to come in and work out. I think our new Strength and Conditioning Coach Tim Adams did a good job of getting a hold of these guys early and working with them. We’ve already seen great improvement with a lot of the players. Our biggest focus in the off-season was to make sure you prepare yourself for not only 82 games, but beyond 82 games. That’s our goal. But it wasn’t just working out. It was important to also have the guys get together afterward, to maybe go out to dinner or play a little volleyball. It’s that bonding experience.
LAKings.com: What do you think about the new additions of Rob Scuderi and Ryan Smyth?
Jamie Kompon: With Ryan Smyth every year it’s 25 to 30 goals. He brings that attitude where he’s willing to go to the net and pay the price and come out with those loose pucks in the corner. That’s really important because our young players can learn from that. With Rob Scuderi, you look at what he brings every night as he plays a well-rounded, solid game. He can move the puck, make a good first pass, and be a shut down guy. And the biggest thing is he’s just coming off a Stanley Cup. It’s huge for our guys to see a guy prepare for 82-plus games and come away with a Stanley Cup.
LAKings.com: What’s the realistic expectation for this club?
Jamie Kompon: We haven’t talked about anything but making the playoffs. That’s our goal and the biggest thing for us. You can say ‘you want to be close’ but our goal is to make the playoffs and everyone is preparing for that.
LAKings.com: How much is team looking forward to the upcoming Hockey Fest?
Jamie Kompon: I think it’s going to be huge in terms for our players coming out and seeing the fans, seeing the excitement and seeing the buzz that’s being created. But also seeing the alumni that’s coming as well. I think it’s really important to have that interaction with the alumni and seeing how important it is to be a King. We want the players to know what it’s like to be a King and seeing and rubbing elbows with guys like Marcel Dionne, Bernie Nicholls, Dave Taylor, Charlie Simmer and the rest will only help our guys learn what it takes to be winners.
Jamie Kompon is entering his fourth season as an Assistant Coach with the Kings. In 2007-08, he held the title Assistant Coach and Director of Amateur Development. Last year, Kompon, who was named to the club’s coaching staff on July 10, 2006, is an assistant to Head Coach Terry Murray.
Prior to coming to Los Angeles, Kompon worked for nine seasons with the St. Louis Blues organization where he most recently served as the Assistant Coach/Video Coach. He began his stint with the Blues as the Video Coach in 1997. He added Strength and Conditioning Coach to his title during the 2002-03 season, and in the spring of 2006 he was on the coaching staff of Team Canada at the World Championships in Latvia where he served as Video Coach.
Prior to joining the Blues, Kompon was an Assistant Coach with the Baltimore Bandits of the American Hockey League for the 1996-97 season and he also served as Co-Head Coach at McGill University in Montreal in 1994-95 after being employed there as an Assistant Coach for three seasons.
Born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Kompon also played four seasons as a defenseman at McGill (1985-89) and then he played two seasons of professional hockey, including stints in the East Coast Hockey League and in the German Elite League.
Jamie and his wife Tina live in Holly Glen.