Is the Europe hangover done? Did it exist?
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Almost a quarter into this season, the Kings and Ducks will play for the first time, but they have, in a way, shared some time this season. The Kings and Ducks were two of the four teams that opened this season in Europe, although they did not cross paths. When the Kings played in Stockholm, the Ducks played in Helsinki, and when the Kings played in Berlin, the Ducks played in Stockholm. Has there been a hangover? Entering tonight’s games, both teams are outside the top eight in the Western Conference. In the East, the Rangers and Sabres are both in the top eight, but their travel was less strenuous. Or is it just an excuse? In a post last month — found here — I looked at the records of recent teams that started their seasons overseas. Terry Murray brought it up again yesterday, in terms of this week’s back-to-back games against the Ducks.
MURRAY: “I think we’re through the European trip. This homestand has been really important, to get recovered from that. It was a lot harder than what I even thought. Coming back, after spending several days on the East Coast, and starting to feel good about it, it (lingered). I’ve talked to people in other places who have gone through something like this, and they just felt that their game was off for a considerable length of time. Especially the skill guys. Handling the puck, making plays, scoring goals. All the guys that I’ve had conversations with, it’s taken lot longer to recover than what they thought at the time. They look back, reflect back years later, and they really felt that that was the reason why their game was off a little.”