Can Kings avoid post-trip letdown?

Often, coaches fret about the first game back at home after a long road trip. The working theory is that, after grinding on the road for 7, 10, 12 days — whatever the case might be — a team collectively relaxes, falls back into family life and loses a bit of short-term focus. Does it really happen, or is it a myth? Maybe a little bit of both. The Kings, this season, have faced the situation twice and handled it fairly well. After their worldwide road trip to start the season — 15 days in Las Vegas, Europe and the East Coast — the Kings returned home and beat St. Louis. Then, in December, after an eight-day East Coast road trip, the Kings returned home and beat Anaheim. Then again, both games had other circumstances. The St. Louis game was the Kings’ home opener, and the Anaheim game was Darryl Sutter’s first game, so the Kings had extra motivation each time. Now that the 11-day “Grammy trip” is behind the Kings, how will they respond tonight? Sutter doesn’t seem to put much stock into the idea of a “road hangover” game…

SUTTER: “With this team, over half of them didn’t come home to a family, so I don’t see a whole lot of difference. I don’t put a whole lot into it, using that as any sort of an angle, because we got home at a decent time Sunday night and we had Monday off. We had a really good practice (Tuesday). I think it’s just strictly about getting ready again. So many of those trips, when you come back, you don’t even get a day off. It’s got nothing to do with it being the first game back after a trip. It’s that guys are still hanging. When you get two days in between, it’s always better for these guys, because of the time change and the travel. Heck, on Monday, I was tired. You’re just hanging.’’

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