The Kings just wrapped up practice at Toyota Sports Center, their second straight day of work following an off day on Super Bowl Sunday. This followed a 6-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
Coach John Stevens talked about several topics during his media availability, including the importance of the team’s upcoming seven-game road-trip, taking care of business at home and also the status of defenseman Alec Martinez, who missed the last game with a lower-body injury. Martinez also skated Monday.
On the level of importance placed on the Kings’ upcoming seven-game road-trip:
It really hasn’t changed all year to be honest with you. We knew the Pacific (Division) was going to be tough, we knew the Central (Division) was going to be tough. The one thing we have tried to focus on is we need to take care of ourselves. With the amount of teams that are fighting for a playoff position in the division and the conference, unless you take care of yourself it doesn’t matter. If you’re going to sit around and wait for help from other people it’s not going to happen. There are too many people vying to get in. The bottom line for us is every game is important. Conference games are almost as important as division games now and we’re not looking past the game tomorrow before we go on the road because we need to take care of business at home. Every game is important. I think the division still does carry the most weight but every day you play or don’t play there can be a difference in the standings. You can drop a position in the standings just by sitting idle for a day. I think those days are gone now with the breaks behind us so to me it’s just a matter of focusing on your team game, taking care of your own business and don’t worry what’s going on around you because you have to win games to get in.
What worked particularly well in the last game:
I thought it was just a good rebound game. I thought our commitment to get pucks in deep early and forecheck was there. I thought we had good positioning on top of pucks in the offensive zone. I thought our commitment to get back as a group of five and check people off the puck that set us up to play fast the other way, I thought it was all good. Obviously the power play scored a big goal from the faceoff. We got contribution up and down our lineup so it was just a good, solid team game. It’s a little different out here. I think in the West, you go on the road for stretches, and we went on the road and had success early in the year, I think success breeds confidence and then you come home off the road and we weren’t as good at home especially in the early part of the year the first time, so it comes down to making sure on your preparation, making sure your routine at home is what it needs to be to allow yourself to be a good player. We’ve talked about being a better home team. We’ve been good on the road but we need to take care of our business at home and I thought last game was a step in the right direction.
On the last two days of work and this mini-break:
I just think they’re just important coming out of all the breaks we’ve had. In Edmonton I think there’s a stat where they’ve played four games in 22 days, so they’re looking forward to getting playing again. We go off a break, we get a break, come back playing, break, come back playing, break again. So now the breaks are done. I think days like yesterday and today are important days to get the practice in you need and repetition and execution to get ready to go into a heavy schedule so I think from this point forward, the days you get to practice are really important days. There’s got to be huge value in what you’re doing and it has to be a real purpose to your practice to allow you to prepare to play games.
On Alec Martinez’s status:
Not sure yet. He skated again today, I’ll wait to see how it responds, talk to (trainer Chris Kingsley) but I think he’s getting close to a return. We’re not sure yet.
Quotes on Connor McDavid and Torrey Mitchell withheld for today’s practice report
Lead photo via Adam Pantozzi/NHLI