Not satisfied

The Stanley Cup playoffs move to the second round tonight, with San Jose hosting Detroit in the first round. It’s fair to say that, at least in the Western Conference, expectations were met. At the start of the season, if we had to guess a “final four” from the West, I would have picked San Jose, Chicago, Vancouver and Detroit, in some order. So, given that things pretty much have gone the way they were expected to, at least in the West, Terry Murray was asked whether or not he was satisfied with this season…

MURRAY: “No, I’m not satisfied. I’m not satisfied at all. I thought we would be more consistent. I thought we would be better. i thought we could upset that (Vancouver) team. I thought we could win the series. I’m really proud of the guys, and what they did. The regular season, the playoffs, I’m really proud of the effort. They paid attention, they worked hard, they competed, they took it to a level that some of them had never been to before, but we’re not satisfied with it. I’m not satisfied with it. We have a lot of work to do, and we can’t take our foot off the gas pedal for too long here. Now that it’s over, it’s important to understand that the summer program is critical to success.”

On a similar note, players were asked about the end of the season, and the different feeling from previous years. For the past few years, the Kings haven’t even been in the playoff race in April or late March. This time, the season had an abrupt end, and there really was no time to emotionally prepare for it. What was the difference? Anze Kopitar and Jack Johnson answered…

KOPITAR: “It’s a big difference, definitely. Obviously when you get knocked out of the playoffs, it’s no fun and it’s frustrating. The season ends just like that. When you’re out of it in December, you know when the season is going to end and when the last game is going to be. If I have to compare it, I’d take the playoffs over 82 games, every time. It’s a little more frustrating and it’s harder, but you know you’re in the mix pretty much right until the last minute. That’s definitely a better feeling.”

JOHNSON: “It’s a little bit more of an abrupt ending when you lose in the playoffs, just because you don’t know exactly when it’s going to be over. I suppose you could say it’s better to lose in the playoffs, but it sucks no matter what. But you have to expect to make the playoffs. Half of the league makes the playoffs. You should be in the playoffs. Losing after 82 is tough, especially when you know, before those 82 games are over, that your season is over. It’s tough losing a Game 6, especially when you’re expecting to take it to a seventh game and expecting to move on.”

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