Attention to detail

Practice went quite long today, almost 90 minutes. That’s long for a late-season practice, but not entirely surprising given that yesterday was a day off. The practice was also marked by frequent stoppages, as the coaches stops drills to explain and make corrections, more than usual. After practice, Terry Murray was asked whether his attention to detail had to be a little sharper than normal…

MURRAY: “It had to be reinforced. Looking back, reviewing the game again, it seems like we were a little anxious to get on the attack, especially our weak side. We get a little too far ahead, and you’re not able to find him. That’s the support player that you need against almost every team on breakouts, or the counters, and we got a little anxious building up our speed and you get too far ahead.

“If you were able to find that weak side, it was covered over the top anyway. We’ve been pushing and focusing on breakouts from the first day. It takes five to break the puck out. It takes three low, and you’ve got to have five available, and we just got our spacing too big and we couldn’t recapture it as we went through that game. It got a little better in the third period, but it’s still not good enough to generate some speed.”

Later, Murray was asked if his team’s play since the Olympic break — the Kings are 3-3-1 since returning, has been as sharp as he wanted it to be…

MURRAY: “No. I think the Olympics had an effect on players, positive and, you come back from those and you’re pretty pumped, a lot of emotion and adrenaline, but there is a physical toll and a mental toll. We’ve showed, at different times in recent games I think, that part of it. And we’re figuring out how to play at this time of the year.

“That’s the other thing that is new and different, and it’s demanding but it’s fun. It’s fun, from the coaching side of it, to have high expectations and keep pushing players, and it’s exciting to see the players and the team, when we do hit our stride at different times, even if it is a period in a game, to say, `OK, here’s the stuff we’ve got to go to, guys. That’s the playoff attitude that we need to show at this time, before we get to the playoffs. This is the way it has to be.’ Because it’s a very demanding stretch of games.”

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