Helpful or hurtful?

In one of the strangest NHL scheduling quirks I’ve ever seen, after tomorrow the Kings won’t play until Dec. 26, an eight-day break. Is that a positive or a negative for the Kings? Given the way they’ve been playing of late — 8-1-1 in their last 10 games — you might say they’re in danger of losing momentum, but they also have four key players (Smyth, Simmonds, Stoll and Johnson) injured right now, and the long break minimizes the number of games that those players will miss. By Dec. 26, it’s likely that all but Simmonds (whose status is still to be determined) will be back.

In all, I’d have to say the long break is a net positive for the Kings right now. The Kings are scheduled to take Friday, Saturday and Sunday off, skate Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and then take the mandatory two-day break on Dec. 25-26. Here’s what Terry Murray and Brad Richardson said this morning about the break…

MURRAY: “It is very unsual. We would certainly like to be playing games, although we have played a lot of games here recently, this month. The break, it is what it is, so we’ll take some time off. We’ll get some quality practice time, kind of a mini-cycle training camp before the two days off for Christmas, and then we’ll get right back at it.”

RICHARDSON: “We’re playing well, but you can see that the injuries are stacking up a little bit. I think the rest will be very good. Smytty is going to be back soon, so obviously he will be a welcomed addition. Guys like Simmer, and we’ve got some other guys who are banged up too. So it’s going to be a nice break for us, but we feel good. we’re loving being at the rink right now.”

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