LAKings.com caught up with former Kings center Alyn McCauley, to ask him six questions about his career and how he is contributing to the Kings this season.
McCauley, 32, played ten games with the Kings after signing with the team as a free agent on July 2, 2006. He was forced to retire due to a career after the 06-07 season ending knee injury after nine seasons in the NHL, including parts of six seasons with Toronto and three with the San Jose Sharks. A 5-11, 200-pound native of Brockville, Ontario, McCauley enjoyed a breakout 2003-04 campaign with the Sharks when he set new career highs for goals (20), assists (27), points (47), power play goals (five), game-winning goals (four), plus/minus rating (plus-23) and games played (82) during his first full season with San Jose. At the end of that season, McCauley was named a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy that is annually awarded to the NHL's top defensive forward. McCauley was hired as a professional scout by the Kings this past offseason, rejoining the organization with which he ended his playing career.
LAKings.com: Can you talk about your new job as a pro scout for the Kings?
McCauley: I will be covering all of the Canadian professional teams between the AHL and NHL. I have eight NHL teams [six Canadian teams plus Pittsburgh and Buffalo] and ten AHL teams that I am responsible for. This is a new thing for me but I have always enjoyed watching and being around hockey. It is great to be back at the NHL level.
LAKings.com: Last year you were a coach. Can you talk about that experience?
McCauley: I was at Queen’s University last year as the assistant coach. I really like the close relationship that you have with the kids at that level. One thing that was a little difficult though, is that when the kids are done playing there it really is the end of their playing days, the end of their meaningful hockey games. It is kind of difficult when you have your senior players that are completely finished with hockey once they have played that last game. For my first experience behind the bench, it was a very good one. Now with the pro-scouting we will see how that goes. It is more of a managerial side of hockey than coaching, which is similar to being a player. Well, as similar as it can be when you are not actually playing. It took up about six months of the year, so it wasn’t too time-consuming or too stressful and I had a good time with the kids. By kids I mean 20 years old, but they are a little bit younger than I am.
LAKings.com: Considering you had to retire early from hockey due to injury, how has that transition been?
McCauley: Well, it wasn’t an all of a sudden type of thing, it happened over two or maybe three seasons. I think that helped to transition myself and my family into me being around more often. I think that for a lot of guys it is just “boom” and they are not playing and they weren’t expecting it. I mean, I didn’t want to have it happen, but at the same time I could kind of foresee the future a little bit with me not being on the ice as a player. At times you miss being in the dressing room and hanging around the guys, but it was going to come to an end at some point. It just happened a little bit earlier than I originally expected. I played for nine seasons and got to live out my dream from growing up.
LAKings.com: Do you skate often and how do you feel physically now?
McCauley: Some days are great, some days aren’t. It seems like once you hit 30, at least this is what happened to me, things started to fall apart. I have my good days and my bad days. I do skate but not that often because my knee is still a little bit troubled. That was the main reason that I retired. Right now I take my son and daughter out skating when I can and on Saturday mornings we are out at a parent-taught hockey session. It is fun to get out there with them and at least my body is still capable of doing that.
LAKings.com: You were limited to just 10 games with the Kings. What was the most frustrating part of that?
McCauley: Not being able to contribute to the team and organization. I was signed as a free agent and had the hopes of, well certainly playing more than ten games, but of being a bigger factor in the development of the young team. I just wasn’t able to really feel like a contributor to the team and the organization so I am really excited about this opportunity with the team. I am not a player and being a pro scout is a new thing for me, but I plan on working hard and trying to help the team and organization get better.
LAKings.com: Being that you are from Canada, how did you and your family enjoy living in California, both in LA and in San Jose when you played for the Sharks?
McCauley: We miss it a lot. In both San Jose and L.A. we were able to make a number of friends, either through school for my daughter, work or neighbors on the street. We miss, especially come summer, the California weather and the mildness of the winter. I say “winter” with an asterisk, because it is a California winter. We really enjoyed the California pace – it always seemed like people were going at a stress-free pace. Well, as long as they were not on the 405. To be honest, the outgoingness and openness that people met us with when we first moved to San Jose and likewise in L.A. was fantastic. I am Canadian, I like being Canadian, but at the same time I really enjoyed that aspect of Americans. I know that people move around and they were from all different places, but I don’t know that in Canada you can get that openness. People are nice here, but they are reserved and it takes a while to warm up. Out in San Jose, people invited us to a barbecue and we had only been there a week or so. We didn’t go, which is probably the Canadian part of us that is more reserved and modest, or whatever that difference is in personalities. But it made the transition for us much easier and probably made a big difference in our experience of California.
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