No real practice for the Kings today. About five or six guys were on the ice, but for everyone else, it was off-ice workouts and meetings.
That’s not to say, though, that the Kings’ attention wasn’t brought to a certain area. There’s a lot of good feelings, with the team on a seven-game winning streak, but 26 games remain and it would be pure folly to suggest that the Kings’ job is done. One bad week, and they’ll be right back there slugging it out for No. 8 in the West.
The question to Terry Murray today, essentially, was, how does he keep the players from believing their own hype?
MURRAY: “Well, we had our video review this morning, our team meeting, and that basically was the theme of the meeting. The start to the game, the first period, the win, the bottom line is that it’s all really good stuff, but… From there, the bunch of clips were about areas that we need to get a focus on again, execution-wise, with the puck and system play. There was attention brought to several areas of the game that you just have to have awareness to. You’re not going to get through the next game with a couple of these looks that we showed.
“The focus was just last night, but it could be any of the last couple road trip games, also. It’s a matter of keeping a very level head about the whole thing, and you’ve got to come back and play a big game tomorrow. That’s where you’ve got to get focused, and in order to do that, this is the attention to detail that you’ve got to apply to the game.”
As a secondary question, I asked Murray if his emphasis in these meetings has changed. Is he getting “finer” on some of his critiques? Brining emphasis to certain specific details that, last season — when the Kings were not a good team — he wouldn’t bother trying to emphasize? Essentially, has his level of expectation for the team risen since last season?
MURRAY: “Yes, absolutely. Most of the meetings and reviews that we had last year had to do with structure, system, the reads that you make in our own play, in our execution. Now, you stay with that, but you move on also, to stuff we’ve talked about recently. Sticks on pucks, more on the communication. `Are you talking? Are you giving the help?’ With the pressure that’s applied by opponents on areas of the ice now, there has to be that communication, to execute on a consistent basis.
“So yeah, you refine it. You get into the more detailed part of it. You get more into the mental intensity, the physical intensity, the attitude, the mental part of the game. That’s where you grow. So we’ve been pushing that more this year, probably more in the last couple months.”