Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rhyno Crossing Ahead

Quick snapshot (sorry for the quality, its a cellphone).

Ryan Smyth's new Kings helmet in his locker at Heath South.

Just seeing the helmet adds to my enthusiasm for the coming season!

In other player related news...

Saw Dustin Brown and a few other guys (mostly younger players) getting some ice time recently. Brownie was towing players around the ice. Seriously. At first I wasn't sure if I was at a practice for some weird new age circus or if this was an NFL training camp circa 10 years ago (remember when you would see wide receivers running around with mini parachutes on their backs?). Looks like part of the new strength and conditioning program involves the players towing another player (via a 4 ft strap that connects to them from behind). On this particular day Brownie was towing guys (one at a time) from the goal line to the blue line. Sounds short enough, yet probably sucks when you're pulling 200+ lbs.

Frolov was downstairs in the gym working out in a private session with a trainer. He had quite a sweat going. Good to see him there working on getting in shape. Also ran into Dean while watching Frolov and he was just beaming about seeing his core guys in town working out. In fact, he said there was a large group that were at Health South everyday in July. This "camp" (obviously, those are my words not his) ended on July 31st. Looks like some of the guys wanted to go back home for a few weeks before having to return for Hockey Fest and/or the start of training camp. Dean reiterated the story about how shocked he was during his first summer here and none of the team stayed in town to work out and train together. He sees this as a big step know...getting that "tattoo on their ass." Hopefully more will soon.

On the Frolov contract front, we didn't talk about it at all. However, I just don't see them trading him before January (if at all). It just wouldn't be consistent with Dean's patterns up until now. And if there is one thing he has been, its CONSISTENT. Trading him now just doesn't make sense anyway. He has a low cap hit, puts pucks in the net and finally has a better team around him. Let's wait until mid season to see what kind of shape the Kings are in and then re-evaluate his future. Assuming he hasn't already signed an extension by then. One thing is for sure, its extension or trade by the deadline. NOBODY walks for free!

Finally, Dean did mention they're adding some sort of an outdoor puck shooting machine thing in the next week or so. This will be housed in part of the area that is currently behind the gated VIP parking area. He is a big proponent of finding ways to get the guys to work out and be involved without actually having to suit up and hit the ice. Heck, they do that enough during that season - twice a day on game days. This gets them another way to be involved as a group and hone their skills, without making a full ordeal out of it. He says baseball has been doing things like this for years and strongly believes it will help the team moving forward. Little things like this go along way and are really off the radar of what most people see or think about when evaluating the progress the Kings have been making the last few years.

While we might take Health South for granted, one former Kings player recently told me it might be the nicest facility in the league. The only other "top notch" facility he could think of was in San Jose. Damn Sharks!

The Mayor

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