Olli Maatta sheds light on his struggles fitting in with LA Kings

LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

Olli Maatta returned to the LA Kings lineup on Tuesday. He spoke with the media on Wednesday and broke down his struggles adapting to a new team.

Brought in to shore up the first pairing, Olli Maatta got off to a rough start in an LA Kings uniform. During the offseason, he spoke highly about skating with Drew Doughty, but the results didn’t immediately become apparent on the ice. In game four of the season, Maatta logged a season-low 11: 04 as the Kings shuffled around their pairings in an effort to create more scoring chances.

Maatta was a healthy scratch for four straight games before returning to the lineup for the Freeway Face-off against the Ducks. After practice on Wednesday, he spoke with the media and openly discussed his struggles to gel with his new team.

On being sidelined and having a chance to reset

Well, obviously it’s not fun – You want to be playing. That’s one of the things, but at the end of the day, I haven’t got time. I think just watching the games and keeping an eye on and trying to learn all the time,  work on the games, getting used to the system, and just learn about it. It has to come naturally out there – like I can’t be thinking too much in that point. Let’s try to make the best out of the time I had.

On challenges adapting to the LA Kings

Yeah, I sure did. Obviously, expectations were high coming in. But definitely, like, I had a hard time just adjusting to it – just thinking too much. That was the thing. I think just thinking too much out there. I think I’ve got to go out there and play. If you think, you hesitate a little bit, even a half a step, that’s gonna cost you a lot of times – [It’s] a fast game out there.

On developing a rhythm, or is he just trying to find his own game right now

I think that’s what it is. I think just trying to find my own game. I think that’s the biggest thing. Um, I want to contribute. I want to be a big part of this team. That’s the best way to do it. Just working on focusing on that. Obviously, when I do that, I make other players around me better and have more time. So that’s, I think that’s the biggest focus for me right now.

On the Ducks-Kings rivalry

Well, I mean, it’s a battle. Every second of the game, battle the possession, you battle [for the] puck. It’s like there’s always a little extra. That’s what it felt like. I, obviously, hadn’t played in and Ducks-Kings rivalry before, but it’s the same. You have those games. There’s always a little extra there, and I think yesterday, we weren’t good enough, especially the first period. I think that we started on the wrong foot. We lost a lot of battles. We just got to be better with that. This is a key thing – we win those puck battles, you can start playing with the puck. That makes [the] game so much easier.