|Jonathan Bernier reflects on his strong performance against the Coyotes Tuesday night.
Less than 24 hours after splitting two pre-season games with the Phoenix Coyotes, the Kings were back on the ice at the Toyota Sports Center Wednesday for practice at 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.
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At the morning session, players expounded upon Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the Coyotes at STAPLES Center and the implications it held for the rest of training camp leading up to the start of the regular season in October. Goaltender Jonathan Bernier practiced in the morning after making stopping 20 of 23 shots the night before. In his assessment, it was a good, not great, game for him.
"I don’t think I had a great start but I think personally I had a good start and I felt great and that’s the important thing," Bernier said.
"If you feel good in net and you feel confident everything is going to add up next game."
Bernier is a battle with fellow goaltender Erik Ersberg for a spot on the team. Last night in Glendale, Ariz. Ersberg played in the first two periods of the Kings’ 4-2 loss, stopping 14 of 16 shots.
Bernier said he can’t focus on the competition; rather he must solely concentrate on playing the best he can.
"I don’t think the net is wide open," Bernier said. "Quick had a great year and Ersberg just signed a two-year contract, but you can’t worry about that. If you play good they’ll make a spot for you. That’s how I’m approaching it at camp right now. It’s just day by day, work hard, and hopefully get a job here."
Another player in contention for a spot on the team is defenseman Thomas Hickey. Hickey, the Kings’ first round pick in 2007, played extensively in Tuesday’s win but added that he did not feel sluggish during practice.
"I feel fine to be honest," Hickey said. "I’m used to playing probably close to 30 minutes a night. So to play 20 is really good because you can focus on your shifts and you don’t try to do too much, you don’t pace yourself. That was something I really liked and I feel good today. As far as the goods and bads, I felt calm out there, I made some good plays. Just focusing on improving off that in the next game."
Hickey said the coaches have not let any of the players know about who has made the team or not.
"I think as a player you’ve got to have the picture in your head and know your chances, and I know there’s spots up for grabs and they said a lot is going to be decided in training camp," Hickey said. "So that’s the approach I’m taking and I’m trying to win a spot here."
The Kings’ first round selection in this year’s draft, Brayden Schenn, was also on the ice this morning following last night’s win. Playing in his first NHL game, Schenn said it was a dream come true.
"It was just unbelievable," Schenn said. "Growing up as a kid that’s a dream, just trying to get into an NHL game, even if it was just pre-season. Doesn’t get too much better than that I don’t think."
During the off-season, Schenn made it a point to improve on his skating and to become quicker, dropping pounds of body fat in the process.
An added part of playing in his first NHL game was being around veteran players such as Anze Kopitar and Ryan Smyth.
"You just have to pick up on little things that they do," Schenn said.
"They’ve been in the league for a long time, they know what it takes and it’s the little plays and the little things that they do that help the game and make them so successful."
Defenseman Colten Teubert was also on the ice in the morning after playing at the STAPLES Center last night. A first round draft pick by the Kings in 2008, last night’s game was the first time Teubert had been to the STAPLES Center.
"It was really exciting and I thought I played well, got some shots on net and had a couple quality chances," Teubert said. "It was good to get the win."
In his second training camp this season, Teubert said he has gained a lot of confidence and feels much more comfortable out there.
"(I feel) a lot more confident," Teubert said. "Coming in just being a little nervous, being a young guy, but a second time around a lot more confident, more poised, and just ready to play more of my game and stay solid defensively."
Aiding Teubert in his development is the presence of veteran defensemen in Rob Scuderi and Sean O’Donnell. After practice, Teubert talked about Scuderi’s impact specifically.
"He’s really simple, he makes all the right plays and he always has a really active stick which is pretty cool to watch," Teubert said. "He can bat pucks out of the air and stuff like that. He knows what it’s like to be a champion so just learn as much as I can from him."
After the morning session, the Kings announced that the Kings returned five to their junior teams:
Jean-Francois Berube (Montreal, QMJHL – G)
Nicolas Deslauriers (Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL – D)
Martin Jones (Calgary, WHL – G)
Brandon Kozun (Calgary, WHL – RW)
Linden Vey (Medicine Hat, WHL – RW)
and released three from training camp tryouts:
Milan Doczky - D
Radko Gudas - D
Tyler Maxwell - C
The Kings have 52 players remaining on their 2009 Training Camp roster. In addition, the announced their roster for pre-season game No. 2.