Upon the publication of the Kings-Blues first round schedule, the initial reactions of many observers immediately called to attention the 8:30 start time for Game 2, a getaway day for Los Angeles. The Kings played in three 8:00 pm games this season, winning all three – back-to-back nationally televised games in Edmonton and Calgary in February and an April home start against Anaheim.
Though neither coaches could remember taking part in a National Hockey League game that began at 8:30 pm, Helene Elliott of the LA Times recalled New York Rangers games from years ago that would begin at 8:30 due to the extra time needed for an arena changeover – from the circus.
Darryl Sutter, on dealing with the late start:
“Just about got to throw the clock away and do it like it’s gameday and not even think about what time it is. I’m sure every team does it. Tonight we’re having our little meeting at 7:00. [laughs] It’s kind of odd. What it affects is, quite honest, the next part of it with your travel. So what we did is we know we’re getting home some time between 2:30 and 4:30, if there’s three overtimes. You play two games tonight, you get home at 4:30. If you play one game tonight, you get home at 2:30. That’s sort of the next part of it, is how you recover for your next game.”
Ken Hitchcock, on the late start:
“We better not get to overtime, or I’m going to be asleep on the bench. I don’t know. Like the gap from now until 8:30 – there better be some good games on at 6:00 when we’re sitting in the office twiddling our thumbs. It’s a long, long day.”
Drew Doughty, on his initial reaction to the late start:
“My original reaction was kind of ‘I don’t really like it’, obviously, but both teams are in the same boat. It’s only an hour difference, maybe a little longer than that. A little more time to get the energy, get the motors going before the game. The only thing that really sucks the most about it is that we’ve got to fly back to L.A. after the game. That’s probably the worst part about it. But after the game, we don’t care. We’ve just got to be ready before the game and prepare the right ways and get a win.”
Chris Stewart, on how to prepare for the late start:
“You can drink an extra Red Bull, maybe, but that’s about it.”