Great day, Kings lovers!
As noted this morning, Victor Arvidsson moved into the full range today for the first time during training camp, as he continues to work his way back from off-season back surgery. He is joined on his second day with Group A by Shawn Dorzy, who is recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. For this reason, these two players are related, although it would be unfair to compare their schedules in any way.
While Dorzy played in the playoffs against Edmonton, Arvidson missed the post-season altogether with a back injury. While it’s not the first time this particular injury has exploded, it was certainly the first time he had an injury that completely changed Summer’s style, both on a personal and professional level.
“Nothing like that, during my last year in Nashville, the same thing happened and I went for two weeks, but I played the playoffs that year,” Arvidson said. “So this was the first time this had happened seriously.”
This season in Nashville was the 2020-21 campaign, with Arvidson injured at the end of the season, limiting him to only two post-season competitions where the Predators were eliminated in the first round.
But last season was a different story. The injury, which saw Arvidson break off the ice during his first post-season workout, was more serious. It caused him to lose his entire seven-match streak to the Oilers, with the surgery announced shortly afterwards. Similar to Drew Dottie, who said it’s “killing” him not to be with his teammates, Arvidson has also been a contributor all season and a good part of the Kings made it to the playoffs. Not having him was something he described as the hardest part of his job last May.
“I think it was the hardest part of our jobs, to play all those games, and when it matters, you can’t contribute with the guys on the team,” he said. “It was really hard, Drew and I sat side by side, frightened of ourselves [for not being in there]But it’s happening and we’ve had to deal with it.”
From that point on, all systems were pretty straight forward for Arvidsson, but that doesn’t mean it came without its share of setbacks.
Being a back injury, Arvidson’s recovery process was not as simple as injuries to other areas of his body. Not only has the injury completely eliminated his off-season training schedule – which it certainly has – but it has also made it difficult to live with his family. As the father of a young daughter, Arvidson was not able to spend time with his family the way he normally would. It had an effect.
“It was tough, especially for my family and for me, it was really tough mentally,” Arvidson said. “I couldn’t be with my daughter, play with her, that was the hardest part of everything I could think of. Back here, I didn’t ski, so I started skating and I felt good and started looking on the brighter side. I feel confident and we’ll take it day in and day out.” Now, let’s see if I can get out of the red shirt.”
While the mental aspect of the injury has been tough, that doesn’t mean there were no physical setbacks for the 29-year-old as well.
Arvidson’s injury changed his off-season training routine completely, to the point that what he did in an ordinary summer was unrecognizable from what he’s done over the past few months. While he’s overcome injuries in the past, the process heading into the 2022-23 campaign is very different from anything he’s done in the past. And it was very difficult to work through.
“It was very different from what I’m used to,” Arvidson added. “It was a lot of focus just on what I have to do to be ready and stuff and not a lot of family activities. It was tough at that point, but I was making sacrifices and I’m here now and I feel really good about myself.”
Arvidsson was excited to be back on things with his teammates today, which made him feel at home again. After a summer full of different things, today happily presented some things that were more familiar.
To his left was Philip Danault in the center and Trevor Moore on the left wing, the first meeting on the ice of a streak that played well together before a season. He was also familiar as a new face for Los Angeles Kings fans but an old face for Arvidson in Kevin Fiala. The two were teammates in minor leagues with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals, as well as with the Nashville Predators when both players graduated to the NHL.
Arvidsson was delighted to see that the Kings had taken over Fiala in the off-season, noting his snowboarding impact on the games and the example he set for his younger teammates. Both things to watch out for heading into an exciting start to the season.
“It’s fun,” Arvidson said of his new old mate, “We’re back in time, and we’ve been roommates in Milwaukee.” “He is a great guy, a great player. I think a lot of young people can learn from him, his skills and how he wants to improve every day. He is great, I really enjoy having him here.”
In terms of when he would like to return to being a great player, it’s too early to put any kind of timeline on the possibility of a return to play.
Today was Arvidsson’s first comeback day with the main group, after one-on-one sessions during the first week of camp. Due to his injury, Arvidsson’s skating was greatly reduced over the summer, which led to a steeper curve back to training camp. With that in mind, it’s too early to make any kind of decision regarding opening night on October 11th, or even to put a date on the calendar as a possible comeback time.
“I don’t know yet, it’s day in and day out,” Arvidson said of the process. “We’re just trying to get me with the players again and we’ll see how it goes.”
If Arvidsson isn’t ready for Opening Night, he has expressed great confidence in the development of Gabe Vilardi, who skated this spot on points during training camp, while also acknowledging the growth of younger players as well.
“Yes, sure,” he said when asked if he’s seen a growth in players looking to fill his niche when injured. “I haven’t seen the games in Ontario that day, but I feel like Gabe has made a move in figure skating and his control of the disc. Particularly aggressive, he is dangerous when he has the disc and is creative. Same with Q and Arthur, and others, too, have taken steps in last year and hopefully they will continue to grow.”
But ultimately, that’s not within Arvidsson’s control.
As we saw last season, Arvidsson is there to support his teammates when he’s not in the squad, even when he’d rather play. For now, his focus is on getting back into the game format for an eventual return to the squad, focusing on the fun of getting back into the squad along the way.
“It was so much fun [to skate with the full group today]. It’s just so good to be back.”