By Jarret Stoll
Stepping onto the ice at Rexall Place in Edmonton for the first time as a Los Angeles King was definitely a different experience. For me, it was a little weird at the start. I went through warmups on the opposite side of the ice and sat on a different bench, but it was a good kind of different. More importantly, we got the big win and that made everything a little bit better.
Spending six seasons with Edmonton, the reception I got upon my return was great. You never want to be ‘booed,’ you want to see some support and that’s definitely what I got.
The Oilers fans are great to play for and their support makes you feel good and right at home. It’s a very comfortable building to play in and it was a nice welcome back.
Our trip to Edmonton was quick and I didn’t have much time to do anything. We played in Calgary the night before, so we got in late, played the game in Edmonton and flew back to L.A.
I was able to see some of my old teammates during the morning skate, though I didn’t get to see as many as I would’ve liked. The trip just wasn’t long enough to see many friends or teammates. I guess you could say it was short, but sweet.
As far as our team goes, I think we’ve had some good games, some good stretches, but we’ve had some inconsistent stretches, too, so we have to shore that up. I think if we play with a little more consistency we should be sitting fine. We’re a good, young team and we have a group that works really hard so it’s a great system to play in.
It’s still early in the season and we’ve beaten some really good teams, but we’ve also had lapses. Our goal, of course, is to make the playoffs.
At the start of every season you want to be playing when the playoffs roll around; it’s the best time of year and we want to be a part of that. Post-season hockey is the most fun kind of hockey there is; every game is such a battle. It’s a long grind during the season and the playoffs are another two months of just that, with more intensity and desperation.
We think we can be playoff contenders and we’re not too far off from that now. We just have to shore up some things, be more consistent in some areas and hopefully we will be around come April.
Jarret Stoll was drafted in the second round, 46th overall by the Flames in 2000, but re-entered the draft in 2002 where the Oilers picked him 36th overall. He played five seasons in Edmonton, scoring 165 points, before being dealt to the Kings in the summer of 2008. Read his other entries HERE.
For more information on Jarret Stoll and the Kings, go to lakings.com.