Here’s what Michal Handzus said today, in regard to the theme of the Kings not being prepared for the start of games…
Question: Dustin has talked, after a handful of losses this season, about a lack of being prepared. Do you agree, and do you find that troubling?
HANDZUS: “It’s troubling. It didn’t just happen one time this year. It happened to us even in December, when we won some games in shootouts after we came back in the third. It seems like we start playing when our backs are against the wall. Then we start playing well. That’s a bad mindset, I think. We’ve got to figure it out. We should be thinking that our backs are against the wall every game, because we’re fighting for a playoff spot and we’re in a close race. We have to get the right mindset. We try to get a feel for the game in the first 10 minutes, and then when we are down, we start playing. You’re not going to win many games like that in this league.”
Question: Who takes the responsibility for helping to turn that around?
HANDZUS: “I think it’s just that everyone has to look in the mirror, and get prepared. We talk about it before every game. We’ve been talking about it before every game, having a good start and getting a lead. But obviously, after a while, talk is cheap. Everybody has to be prepared and has to be ready. It comes to the individual, to have the hunger to want to make the playoffs. We need a little more hunger, more desperation.”
Question: In terms of the actual preparation for the game, is there anything specific that needs to be changed? Or is it just an attitude?
HANDZUS: “We should be excited. This is what we were talking about last night. We should be excited that we are in this spot. At the end of January, it hasn’t been like that for a while here, so we should be excited, we should be happy and we should fight for it. It’s a mental thing and we have to figure it out. That’s key, and if we get that, I think we’ll go right up. But it’s sometimes very hard to figure it out. That’s our goal, and I think it comes from the individual. Everybody has got to prepare. Obviously the leaders have to take care of it and lead the way. That’s very important, that the leaders show, on the ice — especially at the start — and everybody will follow.”