Cal Petersen's season-opening start part of next-gen Kings

www.latimes.com
5 min read
fairly easy
Cal Petersen becomes the first goaltender not named Jonathan Quick to start for the Kings in a season opener in more than a decade in a 6-2 win over Vegas.
Back in the Darryl Sutter coaching era — which feels like forever ago — he'd inevitably give the same succinct response each time he was asked which goaltender would start the Kings' next game.

"Be there for the song," Sutter would say, his way of keeping everyone guessing until players had assembled on the ice and the national anthem was playing in advance of the opening faceoff.

That same question about the starting goalie, posed Thursday to current coach Todd McLellan on the morning of the team's 2021-22 debut, drew a more informative response. It also reflected the new era the Kings are launching. "Cal," McLellan said, referring to having chosen Cal Petersen for the opening night honors over two-time Stanley Cup champion Jonathan Quick. Petersen made 23 saves and Anze Kopitar had a hat trick in the 6-2 win over Vegas.

The last time Quick didn't start the Kings' opener was the 2008-09 season. But for the Kings to move forward they can't look back. Cup-winning holdovers Quick, Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty and Kopitar will play important roles this season, but this must become Petersen's team and Gabe Vilardi's team and Mikey Anderson's and Matt Roy's and Sean Walker's. Maybe Arthur Kaliyev's and Vladimir Tkachev's team, too, after they made the roster out of training camp. Ownership will someday be shared by Quinton Byfield, who is recovering from a fractured ankle, and Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who's starting the season in the American Hockey League.

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"I think you'd say it's the best roster to date, as far as being able to have success and win," general manager Rob Blake said this week. "Best" is a relative term, given they've missed the playoffs three straight seasons and four of the last five and have won one playoff game (in 2016) since their second Cup title. McLellan is Blake's third…
Helene Elliott
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