Once again, the Kings get another long break between playoff series, and the breaks have grown in league. After the Kings eliminated Vancouver, they had five full days before the start of the second round. After they eliminated St. Louis, they had six full days before the start of the conference finals. Now, after they eliminated Phoenix on Tuesday, the Kings will have a total of seven full days before they open the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday. That’s a lot of sit-and-wait time, and most players and coaches will say they would prefer not have a long break between games, but there’s no evidence, so far, that it has negatively impacted the Kings, given that they won Game 1 against both St. Louis and Phoenix.
Dustin Penner, Darryl Sutter and Willie Mitchell talked about the break, and being able to use it in the proper way…
PENNER: “It’s something we have dealt with before. We’re not worried about the break. Rest isn’t the enemy. We’ve got a lot of time to go over game tape and watch the other teams play live now. … I think everybody is going to take the opportunity to watch and see who we could potentially play. We’ll take the rest now.’’
SUTTER: “It’s quite a bit different than the last one. Both of the last (two) rounds, we either didn’t know when we would play or we didn’t know who we play. This time, we know it’s one of two teams and we know when we play. So there’s a difference.’’
MITCHELL: “It’s nice. It’s really nice. Obviously the wear and tear of competing at this time of year, it’s another level. You guys see that. The checks that are made, the checks you’ve got to take, and just the games are at such a high level. It’s big. It allows the aches and pains we have, and the nicks, for a little more time to rest and kind of go into the series being healthy. You talk to guys who have done it all, and you’ve got to get on a bit of a roll, feel good as a team, play well. Obviously goaltending is always big at this time of the year, and stay healthy. The less games you play, the less wear and tear on the body, allows our team to be pretty healthy. That’s a good spot to be in at this time of year. You want to be as healthy as you can, throughout the playoffs, not only going into the Final. I think the shorter series has allowed us to be pretty healthy as a group, and hopefully we can use that to our advantage.’’
Question: Does that mean you’d like to see the East series go to seven games?
MITCHELL: “I don’t know. I’m not really worrying about that, to be honest. I think it’s more worrying about getting ourselves some good rest here, starting to prepare and, to be honest, it would be really nice to know when we have an opponent, because then you can get your mind set in the right place, know who you’re playing, to prepare a little bit more. It will be nice, when that series is done, just for our own preparation.’’