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Kings Durzi Readjusting to the Right Side

With the addition of Vladislav Gavrikov last week, Durzi has been able to slide back over to the right side.



Sean Durzi has spent the majority of this season playing his off-side. A right shot playing left defense.

To his credit, Durzi put the work in to improve on the left, and by the time the trade deadline rolled around, he looked comfortable in that spot. 

Alongside Matt Roy, Durzi had developed a solid partnership. They had stopped shipping goals as they did early in the season and were posting good analytics.

With the addition of Vladislav Gavrikov last week, Durzi has been able to slide back over to the right side.

A seamless transition for Durzi right?

Not quite.

In his first game on his natural side — paired with Alex Edler — Durzi and Edler were caved in by the St. Louis Blues. 

The Kings were outshot 6-1 with them on the ice. The number gets worse when looking at shot attempts too, 12-4. 

Durzi didn't look comfortable. He certainly didn't look like someone returning to his more natural position. 

"I kind of underestimated it a bit, going from left to right," said Durzi. "Playing the right side, I thought I'd be fine. I did notice benefits again (playing on the right) slipping puck through the middle of the ice, things like that. I had my eyes up a little easier. But I think taking the entire season taking reps on the left side every single practice, after practice. I was going out of my way to do extra reps on the left and I think noticing it again on the right. Having more reps on the right is nice and I'll get used to it again."

Part of the difficulty is the different roles the right and left defensemen have in the Kings system. 

In the Kings' 1-3-1, it's often the left defensemen who steps up into the neutral zone to form a line of three with two forwards and the right defensemen who drops back as the lone "1". 

This leaves them with the job of retrieving dump-ins and breaking the puck out more often.

Durzi touched on the difference between playing the left and right sides.

"It's actually something I should be happy about," said Durzi. "It's retrieving more pucks and touching more pucks which is something that I love to do. I want the puck on my stick, I want to be playing with it. I'm going to get used to it again, I've done it my whole time in LA, I've done it my whole career on the right side. So, it's exciting, I guess, to be touching more pucks and I'm looking forward to getting better at it. And opening up the challenge again."

And while the right-side role does fit Durzi's skill set better, it shouldn't be too surprising there's an adjustment period.

Players talk all the time about the importance of being in a groove and feeling the puck. 

Going from not touching the puck a ton to almost always being the defenseman who's breaking the puck out is difficult. 

It shouldn't take Durzi long to get back into the swing of things on the right. Even after one game, he looked better.

Against the Washington Capitals, his pairing didn't get caved in the way they did against St. Louis.

The Kings outshot the Capitals with his pairing on the ice and out-chanced them. 

Durzi took a big hit from T.J. Oshie at the end of the Capitals game and didn't return. 

Not a dirty hit by any means, but Durzi did catch Oshie's shoulder to his head in a heavy collision. 

The team hasn't said anything about a potential injury to Durzi, so we'll see if he gets into the lineup against the Colorado Avalanche Thursday. 

Regardless, I wouldn't expect it to take Durzi long to readjust to life on the right side. 

If he can find his feet again and form some chemistry with Edler. The Kings will have three solid pairings down the stretch.

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