Today Los Angeles Kings training camp opened with high energy. Hard checking and grinding down low was the theme of the day. Considering this was the first day and just training camp, players were taking this very serious. Even the veterans were throwing their bodies around like invitees. Things got a little scary when veteran center Michal Handzus sent 1st line winger Dustin Brown head first into the boards. Brown got up slowly and shook it off but that definitely set the tone. Shortly after that a fight broke out between Richard Clune and Drew Bagnall. All this would seem a little over the top for the first day of camp but it was very refreshing to see some fire out of these last place Kings.
One other common theme was "pairing". Lines were mixed up through the day but for the majority selected players were glued together. Of course their was the pairing of Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. They were together all of last season and why fix something if its not broken? Then things got a little interesting. Derek Armstrong was paired with Alexander Frolov. Frolov is a second liner and Armstrong is at best a third liner. Other pairings were Brian Boyle and Kyle Calder, Michal Handzus and John Zeiler, Jarret Stoll and Teddy Purcell. Some of these pairings were a little surprising but looked good.
The biggest surprise was the defensive pairings. Drew Doughty and Denis Gauthier, Jack Johnson and Matt Greene, Andrew Campbell and Colten Teubert. Obviously this is just the beginning but these pairing were not what us Kings fans were thinking.
Shining stars of the day: Drew Doughty and Alexander frolov. Basically to put it simply, doughty put on a show. His skating, passing and shooting were by far the best of the defenseman. He is NHL ready and will be guarding the Kings blues line this season. Frolov's passing and puck protection stood out. Every pass was right on target. If you want a point machine for your fantasy league, pick up Frolov.
There were 2 disappointments. Kings 1st round draft pick Colten Teubert. He has oodles of potential and is tuff as nails. But today he looked like he was in slow motion. No checking, not very physical and hardly any passing or shooting. If he wants to make this team he has to turn it up. Second, the absence of 1st liner Patrick O'Sullivan. He still has yet to sign a new contract and it does not look like he will be attending training camp anytime soon.
Overall the Kings showed intensity and urgency. And for the first day of training camp it was very nice to see.
Here is a video I put up on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FICSOcqLZo0