Here’s the Q&A I did a few minutes ago with new Kings winger Ryan Smyth. He’s scheduled to come to Los Angeles this week and have his physical exam on Monday…
Question: Athletes never seem to be completely surprised by a trade, but did you see this coming at all?
SMYTH: “Well, with having the no-movement clause, I knew something was going on when they came to me and asked if I would be willing to drop my no-trade clause to come to L.A. So I had some time to think about it and talk about it with my wife and my family. It was tough because Colorado is a great place. There are four major sports teams, four seasons and a great organization, a winning organization. Mr. (Stan) Kroenke has done very well and been very successful over the years. To pull me in a couple years ago was pretty special, so it was tough leaving here but I’m really excited. The excitement of Dean Lombardi and Ron Hextall and some of the players I’ve known over the years, it’s been awesome to hear and I’m just overwhelmed and honored to be a King.”
Question: You talked about some of the discussion with your family. What were some of the factors you weighed?
SMYTH: “Obviously we have a beautiful home in Colorado, so we had to weigh the factors of all that stuff, and moving. Then you look at the hockey front. (The Avalanche) came to me and said they wanted to rebuild, and money was an issue, and obviously that goes hand in hand with my issue and my contract. It was mutual at the end of the day, and I have nothing but great things to say about Colorado.”
Question: Playing in Colorado, you’ve had a chance to get a decent look at the Kings. What are your impressions?
SMYTH: “Watching these young kids play, and to see the energy and excitement and the direction the organization is going in, there’s nothing but upside. I’m honored to be a part of it and I hope I can contribute a lot.”
Question: Any particular Kings players jump out at you?
SMYTH: “Quite a few. Over the years, playing for my country, I got a chance to see Kopitar before anybody really knew who he was. I remember lining up against him at the faceoff circle and seeing how dominant and powerful he was. He has tremendous upside. I just know he’s a pretty exciting player to watch. Obviously, Stoll, because I got a chance to play with him in Edmonton. Drew Doughty is a tremendous hockey player. For a young player to come in and do what he did, that was tremendous. Like I said, I’m just really excited by the upside that’s there.”
Question: Given your experiences, what do you think you can bring to this team, and what do these young guys need to know about winning?
SMYTH: “I want to bring my experience. I don’t want to change my game. I’m a guy who goes to the net hard. It’s important to just play at both ends of the rink and have the determination to win. It’s a fine line around the league, between winning and losing, because the parity around the league is so tight. Whether it’s a mental edge in the locker room or something you do on the bench, you have to be prepared.”
Question: Largely because of the way you play, you’ve opened yourself up to injury risk over the years. How do you feel now? And was it frustrating at all in the last couple years?
SMYTH: “I feel real healthy. Other than a few injuries that I’ve had over the years, things have been good and I feel up to par right now and I’m itching to go. As far as how things went, we had a lot of injuries and it’s tough to compete with all the injuries. It seemed like we were never all healthy at once.”
Those who want even more Ryan Smyth quotes can read an interview on the Kings’ website.