Friday practice notes: Leduc, chemistry, and some rest
The Kings practiced outside the city limits at the Leduc Recreation Centre (photos below) on Friday, one day after one of their most complete efforts of the season. The newly formed line of Marian Gaborik, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams created a fair share of chances in the offensive zone, even if each member of the trio finished the evening with minus-1 performances. I’m sure Kopitar will be able to sleep soundly even though his plus-minus dropped from plus-26 to plus-25.
The practice finished up with special teams work, and after the skate I asked Kopitar about the looks created by the power play when he centers Gaborik and Jeff Carter.
“He’s got a great shot, and he’s got a quick release, and that certainly comes in handy when you’re on the power play and you need a quick shot off. He’s the guy to go to, obviously,” Kopitar said of Gaborik. “With him and Carts, it’s a pretty safe bet. He’s been moving the puck well. Obviously he’s very fast, and we’re going to have to create a little bit more chemistry, obviously, but that takes a little bit of time. But I have all the confidence in our line that that’s going to happen pretty soon.”
On methods in which the team looks to smooth Gaborik’s transition, Kopitar noted that his teammates will “just talk to him.”
The schedule has opened up for the Kings, who followed up a four-games-in-six-nights stretch with a one-game-in-five-nights stretch. Today is day four of the latter swath of action.
With six players having returned from the Olympics, and a back-to-back on Sunday and Monday, the Kings will take an informal day off tomorrow before reporting to Rexall Place for the morning skate on Sunday morning.
Jonathan Quick, who has started all but two games since returning to the active roster on January 4, described the process of using the off-day to his advantage.
“Any time of the year when you get a day off, you’ve got to use it to your advantage and make the most of it as far as your recovery and getting rest, getting a good meal, and getting ready for the next day.”
The relaxation in the schedule was well received by Kopitar.
“Well, we just came off a pretty long break, too,” he said. “Maybe it’s not crucial that we have this, but it’s definitely nice. You come on the ice and you have a day to yourself tomorrow, and it’s really nice when you have that. You know it’s on you just to get ready for the game. Everybody’s been through it. Everybody knows what’s at stake at this time of the year, so we’re going to be ready for Sunday.”
Several (blurry) photos from Friday’s practice in Leduc: