Former Kings coach Andy Murray would not have been a happy man in El Segundo today. Murray disliked words such as “confidence’’ and “momentum.’’ He said he didn’t believe in them, in the concepts, and held firm to that point that when a reporter asked a question about confidence and momentum, Murray would often pretend as though he didn’t understand what the words meant. Well, Murray would have had to feign a lot of confusion today, because every other question (if not more) posed to the Kings included some reference to confidence, momentum, doubt, adversity and pressure. Watch the videos and organize a drinking game involving each of those words and, well, it won’t end well.
Of course, it’s natural for those words and themes to come up. Four days ago, the Kings were up 3-0 on the New Jersey Devils. Now, it’s a 3-2 series and if the Devils win tomorrow, it’s back to New Jersey for an anything-can-happen Game 7. That can be a lot to think about, especially today with the day off between games, but Dustin Brown said the Kings generally had a good mood about itself.
BROWN: “I think there’s a lot of excitement. We have an opportunity to win the Stanley Cup on home ice, and that’s an exciting prospect. It’s about preparing today and tomorrow, to put ourselves in the right position to do so.’’
Question: Is there any extra pressure now?
BROWN: “Is there pressure? Yeah, there’s pressure. It’s the Stanley Cup Finals. I don’t think the pressure is any different than Games 4 or 5, or Game 1, to get off to a good start. There’s going to be pressure in any game.’’
A radio reporter, apparently not satisfied with Brown’s answer 40 seconds prior about the team’s mood, asked again about the team’s mood, so Brown dutifully responded.
BROWN: “The mood is good. You can talk about doubt, but we lost two games in a row. That’s maybe something this team hasn’t done in a while, but again, we’ve been playing good hockey. You sit and you really start to realize the position that we’re in, we’re up 3-2 on home ice. I think most teams would have taken that at the start of the series.’’
Darryl Sutter put things a bit differently when asked about pressure, or, in particular, increased pressure that the Kings might feel now, but Sutter generally echoed what Brown said, in that the pressure on the Kings should be the same as it is for any other game. To treat this game differently than they treated any other game would be a large mistake.
SUTTER: “I think, quite honestly, the only pressure the players should feel is just to maximize how they can play, their own skill set. I don’t think we feel any pressure. Not at all. … You know, New Jersey is playing pretty well, right? But let’s not forget New Jersey is the home(-ice advantage) team. New Jersey is the team that had the hundred-some points. You know what, we expected a long, hard series out of the New Jersey Devils, and that’s what we’re getting.’’
Doughty and Kopitar were both asked about the concept of “doubt,’’ and whether they thought any of it would start to seep into the Kings’ minds after consecutive losses.
DOUGHTY: “I don’t think we have any doubt. We never thought it was going to be easy. We never thought we were going to win four in a row. We expected it to be a long series like this. We expected it to maybe go to Game 7, Game 6, whatever it might be. We have no doubt in our minds. We played some great hockey last night. We easily could have won that game. Going into the next one, we just have to make sure we put a full 60 minutes together, because we haven’t done that yet.’’
KOPITAR: “No, not really. We just feel that both games could have gone either way. We knew they were going to come with a lot of desperation and a final push. We didn’t quite get it done. Now we know that they’re going to be a desperate hockey club again, and we have to match that.’’