SUMMERSIDE – Dion Phaneuf is loving life as a Los Angeles King.
The defenceman, who was acquired from the Ottawa Senators on Feb. 13, 2018, is excited to head into his first full season with the Kings, the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup champions.
“It was a really good transition for me to obviously go to a great team with the veteran players that they have there, and the success they have had,” said Phaneuf, who is married to actress Elisha Cuthbert. “They know how to win.”
Phaneuf had 10 points, including three goals, in 26 regular-season games with the Kings. He had one assist in four playoff games as the Vegas Golden Knights swept the Kings in on the strength of four one-goal wins.
“It was disappointing with the way the season ended, losing in the first round,” assessed Phaneuf. “I thought we had a real good team, and we (will) have a real good team next year.
“For me, when I got traded, I really enjoyed the move, and am proud to be a member of the Los Angeles Kings. I love the organization, we get treated very well, we have great fan support and its 80 (degrees Fahrenheit, which is 26.7 degrees Celsius) and sunny most days, so that’s a bonus, too.”
As for the upcoming 2018-19 campaign, Phaneuf acknowledges the Kings are a veteran team that is expected to do well.
“As players, you like that expectation. There is a lot of work that goes into having a good team in the National Hockey League. Camp is just around the corner, it’s an exciting time for us as players. We’ve trained all summer to prepare for our season. The signing of (Ilya) Kovalchuk, I really like that signing. I’m excited to get down there and get started.”
Phaneuf, who spends his summers just outside of Kensington, will leave for Los Angeles at the end of August. He will skate with some teammates in Los Angeles leading up to the start of training camp the second week of September.
“I feel really good,” admitted Phaneuf, 33. “With the way the game is going, I changed up my training a bit this summer, just a few different changes to my program. Hopefully, they translate to success on the ice.”
Playing in Los Angeles
Phaneuf talked about playing in Los Angeles.
“To be honest, what I learned being a Los Angeles King is the passionate fan base that we have,” said Phaneuf. “Our building is sold out every night, they are very passionate, they are knowledgeable fans.”
After starting his NHL career in the Western Conference with the Calgary Flames, and then spending six-plus years in the East with the Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs, how would Phaneuf compare play in the two conferences?
“There’s always been different styles, Eastern Conference against West,” answered Phaneuf. “It’s a bit bigger game (in the West), it’s a bit heavier game, but the parity in the league now, if you look at it, East, West, it doesn’t matter. The teams throughout the league, top to bottom, there is a lot of parity.
“There’s a little change in style from East to West, but overall the league is in a pretty good place with the way the game is being played. It’s a great product, it’s fast, the fans enjoy it and the fans who are coming in just keeping making the game more exciting.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play as long as I have, and I want to continue doing it as long as I can.”
Dion Phaneuf’s NHL totals:
1,292 penalty minutes.
49 penalty minutes.