After two days off to recover from the Western Conference Finals, the Kings started the engine for practice this morning and were on the ice for approximately one hour. As Darryl Sutter notes below, the first day back is primarily focused on getting the legs going again. Two days off the ice isn’t a terribly long time, but coaches ease into things on the first day back, to make sure players don’t push themselves too hard and pull a muscle, or something to that effect. Tonight, the players and staff will watch Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals intently, to see if the New Jersey Devils will join the Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals or whether the New York Rangers will force a Game 7, which would be played Sunday. Either way, the Kings will continue to practice for the next two days, then fly East.
Of the return to practice today, Anze Kopitar said, “It’s always nice to get on the ice after two days off and just, I guess, get the feel for the puck again and try to snap some passes around and gets some legs underneath you.’’ Sutter talked about what he tried to get accomplished today…
SUTTER: “The risk is the two full days off. You talk to the players about it first, because it’s the bigger guys, always, and the older guys, when you have two full days without anything. But to be honest, there were a handful of guys that needed it, just because the farther you go — even though you’ve had it once or twice already — the farther you go, it’s more taxing on some guys, as far as injuries and recovery. So, today is really, when you look at it from a body standpoint, a machine standpoint, today is the toughest day for them, getting going again. That’s the toughest day for them. Then you can get back into your proper practice habits and reinforcing stuff.’’
Question: Are the goalies the ones that you have to watch the closest, to make sure they’re getting enough work?
SUTTER: “Well, we’ve got lots of practices to do that. It’s like I told Jonathan Quick on the ice, normally we’re playing tonight.’’