LOS ANGELES — In the excitement of adding potency up front – Vladimir Tkachev made his NHL debut and Arthur Kaliyev was a late addition to the roster while Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson played their first games as Kings on Thursday night – the acquisition of defenseman Alex Edler has sometimes gone overlooked.
Edler was a fixture on the Vancouver Canucks’ blue line for 15 seasons. He helped them to a stellar 2010-11 campaign in which they came within one victory of the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title, falling at home to the Boston Bruins in Game 7. The following season he posted career highs of 11 goals, 38 assists and 49 points, only to see the Canucks upset by an emergent Kings team that went on to hoist the Cup.
Earlier in the week, defenseman Drew Doughty gave Edler, 35, a vote of confidence as a heady, well-rounded blue liner with solid puck skills and a physical edge to his game. On Monday, Edler told reporters he was especially eager to get this season rolling after the Swede left the only NHL home he’d ever known to join the Kings.
“There’s a lot of new things, being with one organization for my whole career, it’s a little bit like when I went to (Vancouver) at first. There have been a lot of new things, a lot of new people, but a lot of excitement too,” Edler said.
Kings coach Todd McLellan, who coached against Edler in San Jose, Edmonton and with the Kings, noticed a bit of ebullience from the generally calm, collected Edler.
“He’s got that veteran savvy and he’s got a little spark in his eye right now, I think he’s excited about playing and finding a spot on his new team,” McLellan told reporters.
BROWN VOICES APPROVAL
Winger Dustin Brown, who captained both the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup champion Kings, spoke to reporters Thursday morning and echoed the optimism expressed by some other Kings veterans heading into the season.
“This is the best team that we’ve had here in some years on paper, and now it’s up to the guys and the coaches in the room to figure out how to make it work in the real world,” Brown said.
Brown, who carries on the analytical and forthright tradition of former teammates like Willie Mitchell and Justin Williams, said he felt crisp, decisive, accurate passing is a critical factor in the Kings’ play. Last season, he said, effective passing signified success, while sloppy puck movement spelled catastrophe.
“It’s a domino effect that is built into our system, but if we can’t advance the puck faster to where the next player has the time to make the next play, we find ourselves in trouble,” Brown said. “It’s giving your teammate the next opportunity to make the next play and passing is pretty much how you do that.”
LAVIOLETTE SETS RECORD
Washington Capitals coach Peter Laviolette surpassed John Tortorella as the winningest American-born head coach in NHL history on Wednesday with his team’s 5-1 victory over the New York Rangers, one of Tortorella’s former teams.
It was career win No. 694 for Laviolette, and he has coached 116 fewer games than Tortorella. Laviolette’s career winning percentage of .592 puts him comfortably ahead of Tortorella’s .548. Tortorella last coached the Columbus Blue Jackets and currently works as a television analyst.
“I’ve worked with, right now I’m working with, an incredible staff. Incredible coaches, incredible players. And that goes to all the organizations prior to this too. Like I’ve just worked with really good people,” Laviolette told reporters.
(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)