Home-away-from-home ice advantage - LA Kings Insider

The Kings were once again in downtown Los Angeles in the morning, staying in their home-away-from-home – or is it their home that is actually also their home? A second home, maybe? Regardless, they stayed overnight at a hotel across the street from Staples Center. It housed them during select nights of the Stanley Cup run a year ago and will do so again during portions of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs – a choice that was made by the players, according to Darryl Sutter.

“They wanted to skate at the big rink [and to] beat traffic. It was either come over this morning or come last night,” he said.”

It’s a change from the regular season when the team makes a short commute from their Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach residences north on Sepulveda Boulevard to the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo for a morning skate. Afterwards, players typically return home for a brief nap before carpooling to Staples Center in the late afternoon and returning to the South Bay once the game is over. Repeat-times-41 (or, as was the case this year, times-24).

And there you have the thrilling depiction of Staples Center-commuting. I’d throw in a reference to the Saturday Night Live sketch entitled The Californians WHICH YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO LAUGH AT BECAUSE THEY’RE MAKING FUN OF US but Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail beat me to the punch.

You should read that Globe and Mail article, by the way.

Back to the topic on hand. Skating at Staples Center in the morning is a welcome rarity, according to Dustin Brown.

“I think it just gives you a little more focus,” the Kings’ captain said. “Unfortunately we can’t do it during the regular season because of Staples’ scheduling and traffic. But it makes it seem more like our home rink from a players’ standpoint practicing here in the morning. During the regular season I don’t think we’ve ever done it really, except for maybe on Saturdays – picture day or something like that…It definitely helps with the being-at-home feeling.”

For Drew Doughty, practicing at Staples Center the morning of a game helps re-acclimate the team to the various contours of what isn’t generally known as a pristine ice surface. The boards are also aren’t quite as “lively” at Staples compared to other rinks.

“I guess you kind of get used to the ice at Staples and the boards and stuff like that, because every rink’s different. Boards bounce differently,” Doughty said. “We don’t get many practice times here at Staples, so it’s good to kind of get used to that because some times when we come in here, we’re just as used to the ice as the other team, which isn’t good. So I guess that’s an advantage that we have.”

Though opening a playoff series at home for the first time in 21 presents a unique opportunity, it doesn’t necessarily change the way the team prepares for the game.

“It doesn’t change our approach, but our mindset – we’ve played really well on home ice this year. It’s a matter of getting to where we need to be mentally to protect our home ice advantage,” Doughty said.

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.