Reign: Walker on the defense.

David Walker is still commuting from Long Beach, which sounds insufferable until he tells you he’s got XM satellite radio as company on the 100-mile round-trip drive. The defenseman, a veteran of four ECHL seasons and another in the Central Hockey League, called this year’s team overall “the most talented I’ve been a part of.”

And that’s after less than a week, without the Reign having played a game. Here’s what he had to say about the defense …

“We’re a lot bigger from last year. They’ve already been through Karl’s way of how he wants things done, and how he expects us to play and prepare. That makes things easier for guys who are new here. The guys that are new have done a really good job watching and learning very fast. So far I’ve been really pleased the way everyone’s looked defensive-wise, the way they’ve worked. The type of shape they’re in. I’m really optimistic. Guys have really gone above expectations during the summer to get in the right kind of condition to get over the hump of last year.”

(On being relied upon to contribute offensive again this year …): “In the past, it wasn’t like I was given the opportunity and just couldn’t do it. I just really wasn’t given an opportunity. My first year in Long Beach, I played on a good team on a good power play. If you don’t have the players that are good, it doesn’t matter how much you play, you’re not going to see results. Karl gave me an opportunity to show what I could do and for the first time, I played with guys who did the little things on the PP to be successful.

“Playing with (Andrew) Martens doesn’t hurt. He draws a lot of attention because of his offensive capabilities. You find yourselves a lot of time being more open than usual because they’re paying attention to him.”

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.