LOS ANGELES — Even though he knows quite well that he probably won’t be getting much playing time during the fast approaching 2013-14 National Hockey League season, goaltender Ben Scrivens has already settled in the Los Angeles area, and is trying to find his niche with the Los Angeles Kings.
“I came in for the goalie camp in the second week of August, and I’ve been here since, so I’ve been here for about one month,” said the 26-year-old, 6-2, 192-pound native of Spruce-Grove, Alberta.
Scrivens, who was acquired by the Kings from the Toronto Maple Leafs on June 24, along with left wing Matt Frattin and a 2014 or 2015 second round selection (Maple Leafs choice), in exchange for goaltender Jonathan Bernier, has been spending the last month getting settled in the South Bay, close to where most Kings players reside.
“We’re set up down here, near where most of the guys live,” said Scrivens. “It’s been good. It’s a good area. I’m really excited to be down here. It’s a little bit different from Toronto.”
Scrivens’ wife, Jenny, is from Camarillo, California, just northwest of Los Angeles in Ventura County.
“It’s been exciting,” Scrivens noted. “She’s kind of been my tour guide until I can get my bearings. She’s extremely excited to be back in the area.”
“We’re starting to find our bearings, a little bit,” Scrivens added. “We don’t know all the secret spots yet, but we’re starting to find some good restaurants, and some good stuff to do away from the rink. It’s been exciting to kind of explore for the last little bit, but it’s going to be different now that the season is about to get going. We’re just getting ready to get back to work.”
A big advantage for an NHL player moving to Los Angeles from Toronto is escaping the constant, heavy scrutiny by the rabid Toronto media, something that Scrivens is looking forward to.
“It’s a different atmosphere down here,” Scrivens explained. “The media in Toronto is a little bit ubiquitous. It’s going to be a nice change, where you can get away from the rink, and recharge your batteries. Then, when you come back to the rink, you can focus on hockey. You don’t have to worry about all the other stuff pulling you in different directions.”
Having been in town for about one month, Scrivens has been participating in informal skates with the rest of his teammates as they get ready for training camp, which begins on September 11, with medical exams and tests (first on-ice session is on September 12).
“It’s great [to be here],” Scrivens said. “It’s a great room, a great group of guys. Everybody’s been extremely welcoming to both myself and Fratty (Matt Frattin). [Jeff] Schultz is new, too. The same for Dan Carcillo. It’s kind of nice not being the only new face.”
“We’re starting to find our own little niches on the team,” he added. “It’s going to be exciting, once the season gets going, [to see] how we can contribute positively to this group.”
The obvious niche for Scrivens will be backing up number one netminder Jonathan Quick, and Scrivens indicated that the two are getting acquainted, so to speak.
“We’ve kind of had a running dialog,” said Scrivens. “He’s a great guy, and he’s been around the past couple of weeks. We’re both excited, we both want to play, play well, and help this team win.”
“There’s a great core group of guys here,” added Scrivens. “As an individual, you just want to find a way to contribute to the group in positive way. That’s going to be my challenge, and I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a lot of hard work, but that’s the nature of the beast here.”
Another adjustment for Scrivens will be the differences between the Toronto dressing room, where players are still learning how to win, and the Kings dressing room.
“Every group has its a unique set of characters,” Scrivens emphasized. “There are some loud guys, some quiet guys—more reserved. There are other guys who don’t have to say much, but when they do, everyone listens. Every team needs a vast array of personalities. So there are the similarities.”
“Both locker rooms have a great group of guys,” Scrivens added. “The biggest thing is that guys here in L.A. know how to win. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and a great learning experience for me to watch and try and learn through osmosis how to win, and how to conduct yourself in order to have success, the majority of the time, in the NHL.”
Already, Scrivens has been working with Kings goaltending coach Bill Ranford, honing his skills, and working to improve his game.
“It’s been good,” Scrivens said about his work with Ranford. “Really productive. There’s definitely some stuff that he wants me to work on that he thinks is going to help my game. I’d like to think that I’m an open book, a sponge. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and a lot of hard work, to implement some of the stuff that we want to incorporate in my game. But so far, it’s been good.”
“The feedback I’ve gotten from him has been good,” Scrivens added. “Nothing’s going to change overnight. It’s going to be a process, but I think we’ve laid a good foundation. It’s going to be about work habits. Going forward, that’s what we’ve got to focus on.”
“Philosophically, we both want something that makes sense, and so far, it’s been a great dialogue. What he wants, he’s been able to express, explicitly. It makes sense, and it resonates with me.”
Raw Audio Interview With Ben Scrivens
(Extraneous material and dead air have been removed; click on the arrow to listen):
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