|In his one season with the Los Angeles Kings, Kyle Quincey embraced the beach lifestyle. (Photo by Getty Images) |
– Kyle Quincey
’s rookie season was like nothing he ever experienced in hockey.
For someone who grew-up used to snow and wintry weather in Kitchener, Ontario, it didn’t take long for the mildly nonchalant lifestyle of southern California to suit Quincey’s tastes.
While the primary knock on Los Angeles is the hustle-and-bustle lifestyle of a big metropolis, the Kings’ players rarely are exposed to it, Quincey said.
“We lived in Hermosa Beach where it was the slowest pace of all-time and I can count on one hand when I actually went into Hollywood or L.A. and that was only to watch concerts,” said Quincey, who shared a condominium with Wayne Simmonds and Oscar Möller and Drew Doughty.
The Kings only travel into downtown for home games, otherwise they practice and hold morning skates in El Segundo, which is 16 miles southwest of Staples Center.
Quincey will face his former teammates Tuesday night when the Kings host the Wings, who trail the Western Conference-leading St. Louis Blues by six-points.
“I embraced and loved the beach lifestyle and I my greatest friends outside of the team are from there,” Quincey said. “I just loved being able to walk around in beach shorts and a T-shirt on. So the whole L.A. stereotype of Hollywood was actually the total opposite of that because beach living was great.”
A former fourth-round draft pick of the Red Wings in 2003, Quincey was placed on waivers before the start of the 208-09 season. The move wasn’t ideal for the Wings, but they had little choice with a litany of young and old defensemen. The hope was that the 6-foot-2 defenseman would go unclaimed, but he was snagged by the Kings.
“It was such a different time, but I loved it,” said Quincey, who played 72 games for the Kings that season. “Coming in off of waivers and not knowing what to expect at all, they gave me a chance and I’m so grateful and fortunate for that opportunity, and I owe a lot to them and they made my time there amazing. The guys there are top-notch and I still keep in touch with most of them and still consider them my closest friends. I just had so much fun there, it was great.”
Quincey went on to enjoy the best statistical season of his pro career and despite being the third younger defensemen on the team, he led all Kings’ blue liners in scoring with four goals and 34 assists.
“We had like eight or nine rookies that I kind of slid in with,” Quincey said. “I was the oldest one but I was in with them and Matt Greene was my D-partner from Day 1, so he was a veteran presence to me. Him and Sean O’Donnell were huge for the young guys.
“Kyle Calder was there with me in LA and he’s a character and a lot of fun.”
Quincey first splashed on the Wings’ scene when he played in 13 playoff games after Mathieu Schneider was injured against Calgary in a first-round series.
“He was a great player when he was here, he played really well for us when he got the chance to play for us in the playoffs,” Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall
said. “And then, I think, they had to let somebody go because we had too many guys on the roster. But he’s taken what he had back then and just added a few more pieces. He’s a very, very solid defenseman.”
While it’s been 3 ½ years since he played in Detroit, his Wings’ teammates are pleased to have Quincey, who was reacquired from Colorado before the February trade deadline, back in the fold.
“He was good when he came up and I think he’s just gotten more confident and making more plays, getting more involved,” Kronwall said. “And at the same time he’s playing very solid defensively and using his big body to his advantage. He’s got a good shot as well and always good at getting the puck to the net on the power play.
“It’s going to work-out good for us.”
Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill