Kings ready for North American action
It’s only a small stretch to say that the past few days have felt like a restart to the Kings’ season. After the whirlwind preseason and the opening series in Europe, players, coaches and staff have had four days to unwind, rest and re-acclimate themselves to a more normal schedule — plus take a recreational trip to go curling — in advance of Thursday’s game against New Jersey. Most everyone agrees that the Europe-to-America transition has been far easier than the America-to-Europe transition, and Terry Murray said he was pleased with the way things have been going since the Kings got to the East Coast.
MURRAY: “Feeling a lot better. Even yesterday, the energy was pretty good. Guys had some good talk and they had a lot of fun with the curling after. I kind of read that as getting back to normal. But when I saw the players on the ice today, it was a clear indication that we’ve readjusted to North American time. There was a lot of energy, enthusiasm and jump on the ice in the practice. So we have to assume, i think, that everything is OK.’’
The Devils, the Kings’ first North American opponents, present an interesting game. They’re off to a 1-1 start after last season’s disaster, when they had a 9-25-2 record in late December. Of course, the Devils have Ilya Kovalchuk, and they have also regained the services of Zach Parise, who missed much of last season with an injury. The Devils visit Staples Center on Oct. 25.
MURRAY: “I know Parise, adding him back to the lineup, he’s a great player, a great addition, captain of the team. There’s no doubt that with the the disappointment of what happened last year, they’re going to be ready to go with every game here at the start of the season. Most importantly, though, is the focus on the L.A. Kings. We want to make sure that we’re playing the kind of game that we want to play, that we’re doing the right things with our structure. That’s always, to me, the most important focus.’’