LA Kings LW Tanner Pearson: “I’m Going To Do Everything I Can To Stick This Time”
January 8, 2014 Leave a comment
Last time, the 6-1, 200-pound native of Kitchener, Ontario was recalled from the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League on November 13. In six games with the Kings, he scored one goal, his first in the National Hockey League, before being sent back to Manchester on December 3.
“I came up when there was an injury, and then everyone came back, so I kind of saw it coming,” Pearson said about being sent back to the Monarchs. “But I think, as it went on, I got more comfortable. It was unfortunate that I had to go back down, but fortunately, now I’m back up.”
Although he scored his first NHL goal during that last stint with the Kings, Pearson, who was selected by the Kings in the first round (30th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft, was in and out of the lineup, and he struggled a bit.
“It was just kind of the learning curve for me, how much faster it is up here, getting used to the pace of play, and how much quicker you have to make plays,” he explained. “You can’t be standing around and watching. You’ve always got to be moving and paying attention. I think that was the biggest thing that I learned last time.”
“It was different, that’s for sure,” he elaborated. “But as it went on, the confidence came back, a bit, and you can’t play this game without confidence, so it was nice to get that going. Unfortunately, I got sent back down to Manchester, but it is what it is.”
After returning to the Monarchs, Pearson scored six goals and added eight assists for 14 points, with a +1 plus/minus rating and six penalty minutes in 15 games. He also recorded a hat trick in 3-1 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester on December 15.
By the looks of things, upon his return to Manchester, Pearson hit the ice skating, to coin a phrase.
“I don’t think there’s any time for pouting,” he noted. “That’s what they’re looking at—how you react to being sent down. I just wanted to get back into the mix of things down there, and I think I did a good job of it.”
But now, Pearson has something to prove if he really wants to stick around.
“Just the fact that I can play here, that I can stick here,” he noted. “It’s a dream to play in the NHL, as it was when I was a kid, for a long time. I’m going to do everything I can to stick this time.”
On top of offensive production, Pearson will have to show improved defensive play in order to remain with the Kings. In fact, during his last stint, head coach Darryl Sutter was rather blunt about weaknesses in Pearson’s defensive play, noting that the 21-year-old needed to pay greater attention to the defensive zone, and be more reliable on the defensive side of the puck.
Pearson acknowledged those issues and indicated that he has improved in that area since then.
“[I’ve worked on] more defensive zone stuff, focusing on that, and what’s going around me,” said Pearson. “Making [the little] plays along the wall, and getting pucks out.”
“You have to look at some of the things from [his previous stint]—finishing checks, doing little things along the wall, winning battles—that’s the stuff that’s going to help me stick here for a long time,” added Pearson. “I went back down to Manchester and did a good job on that, focusing on that. Hopefully, I can do it up here.”
“Hopefully, I can get into the lineup here, soon. We’ll see what happens.”
Raw Audio Interview With Tanner Pearson
(3:27; Extraneous material and dead air have been removed; click on the arrow to listen):
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