LOS ANGELES — To say that the past eight months has been quite the roller coaster ride for Los Angeles Kings left wing Dwight King would be quite the understatement.
Indeed, since being called up from the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League, the Kings’ primary minor league affiliate, on February 10, 2012, King has gone from being a minor league depth player to a big-time contributor to the Kings qualifying for the playoffs, and going on to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in the 45-year history of the franchise.
Talk about a Cinderella story.
“Being called up, and leading up to the success we had, as a team, is all very gratifying, knowing that winning the Stanley Cup doesn’t come easy, [nor is it an opportunity that is available] to too many people,” King told Frozen Royalty in an exclusive interview. “To have that all happen in approximately four months is still setting in [his mind], but it’s something I’ll treasure forever.”
What no one expected was that the ride would take him back to the AHL this season, where he is making the best of a bad situation with the National Hockey League still in limbo after the owners locked out the players—it is the NHL’s fourth work stoppage since 1992.
Being back in the AHL after winning the Stanley Cup with the Kings was both a weird feeling, and very much unexpected.
“Things worked out a little differently from what I envisioned after the call-up, the playoffs, and the contract in the summer,” said King, who scored five goals and tallied nine assists for 14 points in 27 regular season games last year with the Kings, along with five goals and three assists for eight points in twenty playoff games “But I was lucky enough to [be able to] come back here, so I’m happy with where I am right now.”
“[Playing in Manchester this year] would be a surprise, if you asked me at the end of last year,” added King, who signed a two-year contract with the Kings on July 16. “But I’m here now, and I just have to get better in Manchester.,”
Prior to returning to the Monarchs, like the rest of his Kings teammates, King got to spend a day with the Stanley Cup, enjoying it with family and friends in his hometown.
“The day with the Cup is a busy day,” King noted. “It’s something special, and I got to enjoy it with family and friends. There’s a lot of things you have to go through, a lot of pictures. For me, it was nice. I’m from a small community, so I took it back [home] to share it with my family and friends.”
“We had a public viewing for people in my community who wanted to see the Cup,” King added. “It was really surprising to see the amount of people who came out. Being a pretty small community, I figured that if I allotted two-and-a-half hours, that would be plenty of time. Unfortunately, not everyone could make it in that amount of time. That showed how big the Stanley Cup is, and how people flock to see it.”
“There’s a lot of young hockey players in the area who aspire to get [to the NHL] one day, so it was good for them to be able to see it, and know that it’s possible.”
After celebrating with family and friends, it was time to focus on getting ready for the new season.
“As far as preparing your body to be ready for another hockey season, I don’t think it changed too much for me, with the workouts you put in,” he said. “It was just a matter of how long the summer was going to be, and where [he would be playing to start the season]. Those were the biggest questions.”
As reported earlier, King was rewarded with a new contract this past summer, a one-way deal.
“Going into the off-season, coming off the accomplishment of winning the Stanley Cup is tremendous, so I got to enjoy that, and being offered the one-way contract for the first time was something special to me, too,” he noted.
Curiously, King did not start the season with the Monarchs. Instead, he waited until October 19 before signing an AHL contract, which he was able to do because he was on the Monarchs’ clear-day roster near the end of last season—he did not have to clear NHL waivers.
“It was my first [one-way] contract with L.A., and you don’t know when the lockout is going to end,” he explained. “I didn’t want to commit to coming down here and then, if something happened [a quick resolution to the NHL labor dispute], then I’d be gone quickly.”
“But as time goes on, I do need to play,” he elaborated. “I found out, just before I signed here, that this was an option for me, and it turned out to be my best option.”
Being in Manchester for a little over two weeks, King has not gotten settled just yet.
“I’m in the hotel, since I’ve only been here a little over [two weeks],” said King, who lived with defenseman Jake Muzzin and left wing Jordan Nolan while they were with the Monarchs last season. “I’ll be trying to figure out some living arrangements here, moving forward.”
As stated earlier, King is just trying to make the best of a bad situation caused by the NHL lockout.
“Overall, there’s things that are getting worked out,” he emphasized. “Once everything’s worked out, I’ll get my chance to play in L.A. But for now, I’m [in a place that] I’m familiar with, and with a bunch of guys I’ve played with before, so it’s working out.”
“I have a lot of years left to continue to work hard, and get a little better,” he added. “It is a lot of work to get into the playoffs, and to go that far was something that opened my eyes at a young age. To get back there [takes] a lot of work. We’ll see what the future holds.”
“Things will get worked out by the people who are in charge. As of now, I need to focus on where I’m at, and my game.”
Raw Audio Interview with Dwight King
(10:21; Extraneous material and dead air have been removed; click on the arrow to listen):
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- Could LA Kings 2012 First Round Pick Tanner Pearson Be Better Than Advertised?
- 2012-13 Will Be A Big Test For Los Angeles Kings Goaltender Prospect Martin Jones
- LA Kings’ Jordan Nolan Honors Family, Community Back Home In Garden River With Stanley Cup
- LA Kings Blue Liner Prospect Jake Muzzin Is Waiting Patiently For His Chance
- Manchester Monarchs RW Tyler Toffoli Is Showing Why He&rsquos The LA Kings’ Top Forward Prospect
- LA Kings LW Prospect Andy Andreoff Is Catching Up To Pace Of The Game In The AHL
- LA Kings Prospect Jean-Francois Berube Is Struggling To Earn #1 Goalie Spot With ECHL’s Ontario Reign
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