The Kings didn’t hold a practice today, and will return to the rink tomorrow morning, with some type of activity scheduled for 10 a.m. in El Segundo. By then, the Kings may or may not know their Western Conference Finals opponent. Phoenix hosts Nashville tonight, and if the Coyotes win, it will be an all-Pacific Division conference final. If the Predators win, the series goes back to Nashville on Wednesday. Regardless, the Kings probably won’t play again for a while. The NHL will wait until all second-round series are complete before the conference finals begin, meaning that should one (or both) of the Eastern Conference series go seven games, the Kings might not play again until Sunday. That’s a long break, particularly for a hot team like the Kings. Rest is good. Too much rest brings the risk of a team going stale, as Darryl Sutter indicated.
SUTTER: “I think, always, the best thing between rounds is that it’s not too long though. I think, being a former player, you need that one or two days, and then you need to get back after it. I bet Hitch will tell you that they had a long break between their series, and there were some guys there that didn’t have a lot of playoff experience, and they were sitting at home, and they had a great regular season and all those things. It probably did impact them a little bit, early in the series.’’
It was suggested to Sutter that he might prefer to play Phoenix in the conference finals, if only because of the much shorter distance of the flights back and forth.
SUTTER: “I kind of like Nashville too. Two days between games? [shrugs] Come to think of it…’’
Darryl Sutter in Nashville? Yes, that fits. Sutter is known to have picked up a couple shirts at a local Western store the last time the Kings visited Nashville. As for the Kings, Sutter is doing his best to tamp down the excitement — much of it media-driven — about the Kings’ surprising run thus far.
SUTTER: “I don’t think anyone in the hockey world is going to be saying that we’re 8-1. It’s going to be zero-zero, and then they just have to write in who the two teams are.’’