Mueller's Minutes - What A Difference A Couple Years Make
Kimberly Mueller has been with the Monarchs since September 2003 and serves as the team's Vice President of Public Affairs. She is currently on assignment in Los Angeles for the Kings 2013 Training Camp. Mueller's Minutes is a daily blog that will give Monarchs Country an insider's look into their favorite hockey team as the players fight for a roster spot with the Kings and prepare for the upcoming season.
After some technical difficulties with my equipment this morning, I caught up with several of the Los Angeles Kings media members who I have not seen in two years but who continue to cover the Monarchs through phone interviews and emails. One thing that we discussed was the age of the Kings this season. Now, we did not calculate the average age but we did realize this is likely the oldest Kings team in say the last five years.
Many of the players are currently in their late 20s but that was not the case just a couple of years ago. The average age of the Kings roster was the early 20s and that filtered down to the Monarchs roster. Manchester’s squad has been one of the youngest in the American Hockey League since Dean Lombardi took the Kings reigns seven years ago. The Monarchs will continue to be one of the youngest teams but the Kings have grown with age and experience.
The experience of winning the Stanley Cup two seasons ago is evident even in Training Camp. The way the players carry themselves shows their maturity. The players still laugh and joke around out on the ice but you see a different focus in their eyes; a different intensity as they ran drills. It is exciting to see what the upcoming season and future may hold for the organization.
This is the first Training Camp with Darryl Sutter at the helm and one noticeable difference is the 57 players are divided into two groups rather than three which was the case during the last camp prior to the 2011-12 season. The players practiced for about an hour and 15 minutes followed by an on-ice session with the goaltenders and about eight players who shot on them. This is then followed by an off-ice workout in the weight room. Previous Training Camps included a 20-30 minute conditioning skate. I am not sure the philosophy for it disappearing but if I was a betting woman, I would say the players are not complaining.
One scary moment at the end of today’s practice came during the goaltender’s post-practice session when forward Daniel Carcillo was running a drill and snapped a wrist shot that bounced off the mask of netminder Jean-Francois Berube. The left strap of Berube’s mask hung loose as the goaltender slowly took it off his head to inspect the damages. Luckily for Berube, the puck had just popped the strap off and he came out of the incident unharmed.
With all of my technical difficulties resolved (knock on wood), tomorrow’s blog should be filled with player updates and insights on how they look during their respective practice sessions.