This is the Kings’ first visit to Toronto since Dec. 2005, and it’s good timing for Wayne Simmonds, whose hometown of Scarborough is only about 20 minutes northeast of Toronto (or about 23 kilometers, since we’re in Canada). It will be Simmonds’ first game close to home since he joined the NHL.
SIMMONDS: “It’s real exciting. All my family is going to be here, friends and family, so it will be really nice, that’s for sure.”
It comes with a warning from Terry Murray though, not to Simmonds in particular but to all of the Kings’ Canadian players. Murray has often talked about games in Canada, and how they cause him a bit of concern because the Canadian players might feel some self-imposed pressure to play well.
Does Murray have a point? The Kings are 2-4 in Canada this season, with the only two wins coming against lowly Edmonton. Here’s what Murray said today, when asked by a local reporter if games in Toronto held any extra importance…
MURRAY: “We’re just going to approach it as another game. We played a game, last night, that was a significant game for us. I can’t imagine that the game against Toronto will take on anything more than the one in Detroit. But in saying that, this is home for a lot of the players. We understand that there is going to be a lot of family and friends around. On a young team, sometimes players have a tendency to try to get away from structure and system, to try to show a little bit more in their game. So that’s an area that I address when we come into Canada. `Stay with it, guys. You don’t have to do anything extraodinary here. Just play the game and good things end up being a result of that.”’