With a log-jam on the blue line, Mikey Andersons spoke with the LA Kings media, addressing why the competition is a good thing for the team.
It doesn’t seem like that long ago when the LA Kings were depleted on the back end, almost longing for the likes of Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene in their championship prime. However, like Dean Lombardi before him, general manager Rob Blake has put an emphasis on defense in the Kings’ current rebuild. Suddenly, the silver-and-black have, for lack of a better term, an embarrassment of riches on their blueline.
This sort of dilemma may instill apprehension, and even fear, in some. For Mikey Anderson, though, this is rather a time to embrace the deep talent the Kings do have on defense, making the competition a healthy one.
Following team practice on Thursday, Anderson spoke with the media about said competition and whether there’s a palpable feeling of pressure as the battle, if you will, heats up.
“I don’t know if you want to call it pressure,” Anderson noted. “I think it’s a good, healthy competition. You know, that’s a good problem to have for a team, you know, like us right now with all the young talent we have. I think we feel confident with any defense when we were put in the lineup right now but, you know, you’ve got to make sure you’re going out there, you’re having good games, you’ve got good practices. You know you’re growing from mistakes you make.”
When listening to Anderson speak with the media, whether on Thursday or any day, it is easy to forget that he is only 21. Given his realistic, but optimistic, attitude and his refreshing perspective, Mikey Anderson does have a tendency to come off like a wily veteran, and that is never a bad thing.
“Yeah, you can say it’s pressure but, at the same time, it’s a good competition that you need within the locker room that you’ll have a successful team and a winning team. I think a lot of the guys can feel it and just trying to embrace it,” the Fridley, MN, native elaborated. “Within the room, we’re a team, we’re a group and whoever they put in the lineup you’re happy for them.”
Of the Kings’ young defensemen who have had to deal with coming in and out of the lineup so far, Mikey Anderson has yet to feel concerned about this. In fact, he has led the way among said youth group as far as playing time goes having played in all 14 Kings games thus far, collecting three assists during that stretch.
Things have gotten better for Anderson as of late, though, as he’s been paired on the top defensive unit with Drew Doughty over the past few games.
“I’ve gotten more comfortable with him, you know, talking on the bench, talking on the ice,” Anderson said. “I feel that we’ve been pretty good so far together and I’ve tried to complement him, you know, help him do what he can do and then, kind of, be the supporting role.”
A good attitude, a healthy perspective, and a competitive fire are qualities that any team wants in any player. Mikey Anderson has and continues to, fit this bill. So, as the competition on the Kings’ blueline heats up, we will see who gets more playing time — and more staying time, if you will. So, along with Anderson, Kale Clague, Tobias Bjornfot, and the most pleasant surprise, Austin Strand, will be fighting for the opportunity to stay in Los Angeles.
With back-to-back wins and points in their last three games, the LA Kings hope to continue their winning ways on Thursday when they visit the Arizona Coyotes.