And now, the Kings hit the road. Of the Kings’ final 31 games, 20 are on the road, and they’ll be able to take care of six of those road games over the next 10 days, with games at St. Louis, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Florida, New York (Islanders) and Dallas. It’s a long, winding road trip with sets of back-to-back games at the start and the finish. (Question: Who made this schedule, and what did the Kings do to anger him or her?) The trip starts with games Thursday (at St. Louis) and Friday (at Carolina). St. Louis, per another scheduling quirk, will be playing its first game since the All-Star break. The Blues will end up having a 10-day break between games. This is Darryl Sutter’s first experience with the Kings’ annual “Grammy Trip,’’ but Sutter said he would try to set short-term goals within the trip.
SUTTER: “The tough part is the start of it, St. Louis and Carolina back-to-back, with the time-zone problem. That’s poor scheduling. You’ll get into (Carolina) at 3 in the morning. That’s the tough part. Then you’ve got two days (off) again. And then (at the end) you’ve got back-to-back again, but that’s not bad because they’re afternoons. So I don’t look at it as a six-game trip. I look at it like there’s a back-to-back to start, and one at the finish, and then we have time in between that. Everybody is going to do that.
“Chicago is on a nine (-game trip), but they do it the same way. They have three away, then they’re going to come home and then three, then go home and have three. It’s broken up too. And I believe San Jose has a 10 (-game trip). So, my issue is not the road trip. My issue is the imbalance we have, home and away. You have to take it one at a time and get through this month, and then I think we’re back to having a disparity of only two or three games, home and road.’’
Drew Doughty expressed a positive approach about the trip…
DOUGHTY: It’s some far flights, a lot of flying, but at the same time, it’s going to be fun. It’s always fun to go on the road and be with the teammates at all times, for dinner and stuff like that. So it’s a good time for us to gel and get ready for the road trip.’’