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Q & A With Justin Williams

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings

Justin Williams, acquired by the Kings March 4, 2009, recently completed his second full season in Los Angeles. The 6-1, 188-pound native of Cobourg, Ontario had his most productive season since 2006-07, recording 57 points (22-35=57) in 73 regular season games. Williams suffered a shoulder injury on March 21 and missed the final nine regular season games, but still finished as the club’s third-leading scorer.

A little more than three weeks after the injury Williams returned to the lineup in time for the Kings’ first round playoff matchup against the San Jose Sharks. The veteran winger inspired his teammates with two points in Game 1 and went on to co-lead the team with three playoff goals overall.

Williams, who signed a four-year contract extension Feb. 28, recently underwent surgery on his ailing shoulder. He spent some time with to talk about his shoulder, his assessment of last season and expectations for next season:

Q: Touch on the shoulder surgery you recently had. How are you feeling and when do you expect to be back at 100 percent?

A: I think the surgery went real well. I’ve never had a surgery above my waist, so it was relatively all new for me. My range of motion has come back real well. It’s been a little more than two weeks out now and I’m feeling good. I’m doing daily exercises and things are going well. I’m maybe missing a little golf right now, but hopefully I’ll be able to do that later in the summer.

Q: Other than wearing a harness, how much did your shoulder bother you in the playoffs?

A: Certainly when you’re not 100 percent and with something as important as a shoulder [injury] you’re not going to be at the level you were at before. So it wasn’t 100 percent, but good enough to play at that point of the year and I’m glad I did.

Q: Other than rehabbing and working out what are you plans during the off-season?

A: I have a 2 ½-month old now and a 2 ½-year old, so I’ve got my hands full with a couple kids here in the summer, so that will be taking up most of my time. But other than that it will be rehabbing, working out and getting my shoulder back to 100 percent so I’ll be ready for the start of training camp and the season.

Q: What was your overall assessment of last season?

A: Well, step one is to make the playoffs and we did that. But anytime you don’t win the ultimate prize I consider it not a success. That being said we didn’t take a step back. We need to take a step forward next year and a big one because we want to make an impact in the West. Not just be playoff bound, but advance to the Conference Finals or Stanley Cup next year.

Q: What are your personal expectations for 2011-12?

A: My expectations are to try and make everyone else I play with around me better. I’m going to be 30 years old next year and once the season gets started I’ll have a few years under me and good leadership skills. I’ll be trying to help take this team to the next level and I expect another productive year from myself and the offensive part of it

Q: The Kings are scheduled to open next season in Europe. Is that something you are looking forward to?

A: Yeah definitely. The whole history and culture of Europe is beautiful. I think every city has its own history and background that you learn about when you go. Certain parts of Europe love their hockey and they’re very intense. It’s fun, the fans are into it and I’m looking forward to starting over there.

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