A nice article from the Calgary Herald:
Brandon Kozun’s summer mantra might as well have been ‘short-term pain for long-term gain.’
Because as brutal as it was being forced to watch the Los Angeles Kings’ development camp in July — the result of a high ankle sprain suffered in the spring’s Western Hockey League final — the former Calgary Hitmen forward knew he’d pay for it in the long run if he didn’t give his injury time to heal properly.
And as a result, Kozun proudly reports he is 100 per cent ready to go.
“It was kind of frustrating not being able to do some of the stuff they do (at the Kings’ camp),” Kozun said.
“They run a pretty good development camp there so obviously there’s a lot you can learn going down there. But at the end of the day, I need to get my ankle better.
” You don’t want to let it linger and come back.”
The healing process began immediately after Calgary’s Memorial Cup semifi nal heartbreak this spring when he gave his body and ankle a weeklong break. Then, the 20-year-old Calgarian spent his summer days between physio appointments, ultrasound and laser treatments, and ice-pack sessions. He was able to go to L.A., but only participated in workouts and saw a handful of their medical trainers.
The latter half of the summer has been spent working out at NSD and on the ice, making up for lost time.
“I’ve been skating on it lately and it feels fine,” said Kozun, who doubled as the WHL and Canadian Hockey League’s top scorer last season. “I mean, at the end of the day, all I want to do is get it better.”
“Just the first couple times I skated, I was a little rusty. But it’s starting to come back now and starting to feel better and better.”
Now Kozun, who signed a three-year entry level deal with the Kings in April, will embark on the next stage of his hockey career when he joins former Hitmen goalie and his Canadian world junior teammate Martin Jones at L.A.’s fall camp on Sept. 9.
The plan is, of course, to be skating alongside the likes of Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar when the National Hockey League season kicks off a month later.
A suitable Plan B for the L.A.-born, Calgary-raised product would include suiting up with the Manchester Monarchs, the Kings’ main American Hockey League affiliate.
“I’ve been working really hard all summer,” said Kozun who has been skating with former Hitmen coach and Calgary Flames assistant Dave Lowry this past week.
“It’s not a matter of being able to play with the big boys. I just need to go into camp, ready to go, and show them, ‘Hey. I’m here for good.’ “
Listed at five-foot-eight and weighing a lean 165 pounds, Kozun’s physical stature is always the knock against him.
But given his production value with the Hitmen — 270 points (92 goals, 178 assists) and a plus/minus of 103 over four seasons — his presence on the 2010 Canadian junior team, and his contributions during the Memorial Cup despite his ankle woes, he has proven time and time again that looks can be deceiving.
“He’s proved everybody wrong at every level that he’s ever played,” said Hitmen general manager Kelly Kisio.
“He’s always been the smallest guy and he’s proved everybody wrong.
“I don’t see any difference in him going forward. He’ll figure out a way to get it done.”
Categories: L.A. Kings News