KINGS RIGHT WING WAYNE SIMMONDS IS CARVING HIS NICHE AS A FAVORITE AMONG L.A. HOCKEY FANS
By Bobby Scribe.
“I love the way he finished off the year last year. The last 10 games of the season he was arguably one of our top three players on the team and he had a great summer. You can see the improvement. He’s really worked very hard. And his attitude has always been, ‘I’m going to go after it and earn the right to be here again,’ and all of his games I think he played at the highest level he could give us. He has the mentality of playing in the hard areas and he gets rewarded because of it.”
They were spoken by Terry Murray about the a player very few Kings fan even knew about this time last season. Los Angeles Kings right wing Wayne Simmonds surprised everyone, including quite possibly himself, when he made the team last season as a rookie. Now, he is prepared to administer a little shock and awe as he shows his teammates, coach and the hockey world that last season was just the beginning.
Paired with center Michael Handzus and left wing Alexander Frolov, Simmonds showed that he was a defensively responsible forward who forechecked, backchecked, played the grinding game in the corners, hit, fought and scored goals. What else can one ask for? Simple. More of the same.
In this preseason, Simmonds had 6 goals, tied with first line center Anze Kopitar for the team lead. He played the same two way game that endeared him to Terry Murray in his rookie season but added a fighting element that we only previously saw in small flashes – and we’re not talking about just any fighting element. We mean the “mamma says knock you out” kind of fisticuffs.
So, what lay ahead for this talented young forward? 20 goals? 30 goals? A complete player that can do it all that Kings fans have not seen since the likes of a healthy and concussion free Adam Deadmarsh?
All of the above.