Weeks such as this one lead to interesting decisions from coaches. If you start with three basic assumptions — 1) Frequent games lead to tired players, 2) Staying off the ice is the only way to get rested, and 3) Practicing is the only way to improve — what exactly do you do, as a coach, with three days between games right now? Is it better to rest or to get on the ice and work through problems?

For Terry Murray, the answer was to put his team through a grueling 80-minute practice Sunday, and put the players back on the ice tomorrow for a 10 a.m. practice. The need to work through mistakes, it seems, trumps a day off. Consider, also, that the Kings got a day off Thursday, and it didn’t seem to help them much on Saturday…

Here’s what Murray said today about the lengthy, tough practice:

MURRAY: “It was much needed. It’s been a long time since we had an opportunity to get quality work in, in practice. I certainly welcomed the opportunity to get back into this practice. I think, when the players get away today and get back home, and they’re able to sit down and think about it, they’ll say the same thing. We’ve played a lot, with lots of travel, so it’s good.”

Realistically, only players know when they’re being pushed too much. With that in mind, I asked captain Dustin Brown if he thought the long practice was needed, considering how much the Kings have played of late.

BROWN: “It’s a balance, really. We’ve been playing a lot, but when you don’t practice that much, you get away from the basics, and sometimes you need a good, hard practice. We had one today that was tough, but at the same time, we haven’t had a practice like that in a couple weeks, at least, and only a couple throughout the year.”

Later, when asked about the balanced minutes he gave to the forwards and defensemen yesterday, Murray gave an interesting answer about his team’s energy level, essentially confirming that he has a tired team on his hands.

MURRAY: “I’ve seen this coming for a while, what’s going on here right now with our energy overall. It’s down. The fact of the matter is, the scheduling does play a part in this. Quality practice time is not there. With the travel, it all plays into it. When you look at the schedule, as you get started at the beginning of the year, in my experience I can project when you’re going to start to hit the downside of a cycle.

“So we consciously made a decision to get more guys to play more minutes at this time. I would like to continue with that, if I can. If everybody responds to it the right way, I would like to stay with it. I would love to see Harry and Richie on the penalty kill, and making a real contribution and not just filling in on the last few seconds of a PK. I’d like to see them be a big part of that. That would help with our top-end players and keep them a little fresher. I think, overall, our team performance would be at a higher level through the difficult times of the schedule.”

Rules for Blog Commenting
  • - No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • - Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other commenters, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • - Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • - Please do not discuss, or post links to, websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • - Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.
Alec martinez

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 210 lb | Age: 29

Born: July 26, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester Hills, MI, USA
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Martinez was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 Draft, while playing for Miami University. He has since become a two-time Stanley Cup champion and the 17th man in Stanley Cup playoff history to score the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

VIEW ALEC MARTINEZ POSTS
Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

VIEW ANZE KOPITAR POSTS
Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

VIEW DREW DOUGHTY POSTS
Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
VIEW TYLER TOFFOLI POSTS

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

VIEW JEFF CARTER POSTS
Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

VIEW JONATHAN QUICK POSTS