After a week of sitting, waiting and practicing, the Kings now have something tangible to focus on, as they will get to play a game. Much of the talk over the past week has been about the Kings’ long break — they last played eight days ago, compared to five days for the New Jersey Devils — and about the “rest vs. rust’’ factor. Teams typically don’t like to sit that long between games, although the down time is good for healing some wounds, and the Kings have dealt with breaks (although not quite this long) before the series against St. Louis and Phoenix. Darryl Sutter, of course, remained mindful of the break between games, and came up with a plan to maximize rest and start building the players — physically and mentally — toward Game 1. Drew Doughty explained how that plan reached a head in yesterday’s practice.
DOUGHTY: “Our practices are tough. (During Tuesday’s practice), I was so tired out there. We didn’t stop, the whole time we were out there, pretty much. It was a tough practice. We were going and going and going. I don’t think we’ll have any issues with the rest.’’
SUTTER: “Obviously we’ve been able to manage our time well. Between the regular season and when we played Vancouver, there was two or three days. Next (break) was five or six. As the series go along, there are definitely players that need days away and days off. It’s not just the physical part of it. Guys are banged up, but it’s the mental part of it. I think it has really helped our two or three older players, specifically Willie Mitchell and Rob Scuderi.’’
Not surprisingly, Devils coach Peter DeBoer was a bit more open to the possibility that rust might factor into the Kings’ game…
DE BOER: “It’s a good question. I don’t know. It gave us an advantage against Philly, I thought, in Game 1. I thought we were the sharper team to start that game, even though we lost. I believe we outshot them 15 or 20 to five or six in the first period. We ended up losing that game, ran out of gas, but I thought that we were the sharper team in Game 1, probably due to the long layoff they had. At the same time, it depends on how you handle the layoff. I’m sure they’re going to be very aware of not being stale. Knowing Darryl, I don’t expect that they will have any rust on them.’’