The Kings play St. Louis tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Staples Center, and afternoon starts have not been the Kings’ friends this season. They’ve had two, and they’ve lost both, a dreadful Nov. 7 loss to Nashville and a Nov. 21 loss to Calgary in which they gave up the first of Jarome Iginla’s three goals just 13 seconds into the game.
Coincidence? Probably not. Afternoon starts take players out of a routine, especially when they’re at home, and pro athletes are nothing if not creatures of habit. Here’s what Terry Murray said today about trying to play better in afternoon starts (the Kings have four more this season, after tomorrow…)
MURRAY: “It’s a different mentality, to get ready for those. I like those games, but it is a different mentality to get prepared. Everything changes. Your routine is thrown off a little bit. You’re eating at a different time. You’re eating different kinds of meals. But…that’s what you deal with, and prepare yourself for. You just have to spend more time with yourself, talking to yourself, preparing yourself for the start time.
“The other part of it is, once the game gets going, if things are a little off, a little flat, it’s our job as coaches to bring attention to it. It’s the job of the leadership group, the captains, to bring attention to it, to try to do something special to get the energy back into it. So you’ve got to be prepared for different scenarios, if things are not the way you would like them to be. There has to be a reaction from a group of people that says, `Hey, this isn’t good enough. We’ve got to be playing at a higher level and doing the right things.”’