Monday, September 14, 2009

Dinner with Dean - Well, I'm sure somebody had dinner with Dean. It just wasn't me. I did however have a chance to catch up with him for some quotes on the recently completed rookie camp.

* Regarding this summer's second round draft pick, Kyle Clifford, being selected by Mark Hardy as this year's rookie camp MVP (story here: Clifford MVP) the Kings General Manager couldn't disagree. He said the kid's toughness is off the chart. Not that he only wants to see Clifford fight, but he felt you have to be impressed with a kid willing to fight guys six years his elder. The term "future power forward" continues to be thrown around TSC whenever Cliffor's name is mentioned.

* Continuing on the toughness (read: fighting) front, Dean was once again beaming at the overall attitude shown by the kids last week. Back at Hockey Fest he had commented how fun it would be to dress Westgarth and Ivanans against teams like Anaheim (a team he specifically said he was "tired of going in there and getting pushed around by"). Back then that comment was followed by a slightly devilish laugh. Well, the sparkle was back in his eye and coupled with an ear to ear grin as he talked about the two game series vs. the young Coyotes. He finished with "I'll tell you one thing, in two years teams won't be coming in here and pushing us around anymore."

* More toughness...the player that is quickly becoming the latest lighting rod of discussion among Kings fans - Mr Nasty, Colten Teubert...Dean said he is happy with where he is in terms of his development. He didn't seem to want to discuss the criticism that some people have served up in the last week regarding Mr Nasty's lack of discipline vs the Coyotes. Not surprisingly, I actually understand where Dean is coming from. Some Kings fans are taking this whole "play the kids" thing too far. Goalies and Defenseman just aren't supposed to mature into NHL caliber players until 24, 25, 26 years old. People trying to convince others that Teubert should make the team this year aren't seeing the big picture or are punch drunk with the success of Drew Doughty last year. Again, its an aberration - kids that young aren't even supposed to logically play in the NHL, let alone be that frickin good. He is a freak of nature. Teubert isn't ready yet. That doesn't mean give up on him either. He's young, he's still developing. Stop trying to rush everybody up.

Three might be company, but two is enough. Jack is still a kid too. Having two high end defensive prospects (yes, JMFJ and #8 are still somewhat prospects and hopefulls, certainly more so than proven NHL stars)...two is enough to try and mentor this season.

I'm dubbing this season in Manchester "the season of simmer". No, Charlie isn't coming back. More like there is something good a-cookin' out there on the right just isn't don't yet. Let's set it to simmer and keep an eye on it for now.



  1. Very well put and I couldn't agree more. It's critical to let these players spend some time learning the ropes and, yes, riding the bus in the A for a bit before bringing them up. The success of Doughty(and Simmonds and Moller)does indeed have some folks expecting another precocious miracle-worker to come along. However, at this point it isn't critical to rush anyone into the NHL. In a lot of ways it's gambling to push a young player into the NHL before they are mentally or physically mature enough to handle it.

    Send them to Manch for a season and let them be leaders at that level. Then give them their chances at the NHL level.

  2. From THN - Hot List - a look at some players we’re excited to see in the NHL some day:

    9. Kyle Clifford, LW – Barrie Colts (OHL): The Kings grabbed Clifford ostensibly for his toughness and the Barrie winger paid them back right away. Clifford dropped the gloves four times in two games against the Phoenix rookies last week and will get a chance to do big things with what promises to be a good Colts team this year. Drafted 35th overall by Los Angeles in 2009.