After playing in just 109 regular season games with the Los Angeles Kings over the previous four seasons, including a career-low nine games last season, defenseman Davis Drewiske must have felt like he was just spinning his wheels, at times, terribly frustrated with the major lack of ice time.
Making things a bit tougher for Drewiske is that he is filling in for Greene on the right side, which is not his natural position as a left shot.
“It’s tough for one guy to replace [Greene],” said Drewiske, 28. “He brings a lot to the table. We all have different tools, and we’ve got to find a way to get the job done. Physically, there’s definitely some heightened awareness for myself. I’m just trying to recognize the right spots to [be physical] in.”
“Like Greene, I try to block shots, which is a big part of penalty-killing,” he added. “I’ve had a lot of good guys to watch here the past couple of years, between [Rob] Scuderi, Greene and Mitchell. I learned a lot from them.”
“It’s nice to have that kind of identity with the penalty-kill. I can build on that, and get confidence from that.”
Head coach Darryl Sutter emphasized that Drewiske is being called upon to fill Greene’s skate boots.
“We’d like to get him to the point where he’s playing two or three minutes more [per game],” said Sutter. “He has to replace Matt Greene’s minutes, simple, and he has to give us quality minutes. Greene’s a penalty-killer, Greene’s a guy who plays in [key] situations.”
In order to gain the trust needed to get more ice time, Drewiske knows he still has a lot of work to do.
“Then there’s just trying to keep getting better, five-on-five, play in the neutral zone, gaps, being physical at the right times,” said Drewiske. “A lot of time, if we do a good job in the neutral zone, and if we do a good job of getting the puck out of our own end, you don’t have to worry about being physical, because we have the puck, and we’re playing offense. Then, it’s just trying to recognize spots where I have a chance to be physical, using my size and strength.”
“There’s still plenty of room for improvement,” said Drewiske. “I’m just trying to stay positive. I’m working to keep getting better, and give us quality minutes.”
Drewiske emphasized that there is one aspect of Greene’s contributions to the Kings that he will never be able to replace by himself.
“The room is a little bit quieter with him gone, so everyone’s got to pick up the slack there, too,” he joked.
Listen to audio of the interview.