An NHL season, as the cliche goes, is a marathon and not a sprint. So while the Kings are off to a 5-1-1 start, there’s little time for back-patting. Yes, the Kings got through that brutal early-season stretch. Yes, they just picked up a nice win over a strong-starting Dallas team. But things don’t get any easier, with New Jersey coming to town tomorrow followed by three road games in four days. Last season, Terry Murray and the players saw how quickly things can turn. The Kings started 12-3-0 and seemed to be cruising to the playoffs, but things went sideways very quickly in a 1-7-0 run in November and a 2-10-0 run starting in late December. Streaks, both good and bad, tend to level off. The goal is consistency.
MURRAY: “You go back through January last year, and there was a stretch of home games where we took our foot off the gas pedal. The key for a veteran hockey club is to be able to identify, ahead of time, where your game is. Where your game is at right now and how you’re going to be playing a week from now. That’s up to the coaching staff too. We’ve got to make sure that we’re on the ice and keeping attention to the detail, demanding drills, demanding execution the right way, getting the hard work in at the right time and backing off at other times, whenever the players are playing a lot of games. So it’s a fine balance, but as a veteran club you know how to do that. You sense that.
“There’s nothing that I can point to that says, `This is the read that you have to make as a team, as a player.’ It’s an intangible that you develop as a pro. I think we’re getting to a point, as a group right now, where we should be able to be ready for those kinds of hints that pop up along the way, to get back to the work, to get the focus back on a particular day so that nothing slides a couple days from now.’’