Kings can (finally) plan for conference finals

The NHL has graciously announced that the Western Conference Finals will start on Sunday at 5 p.m. Pacific time, with Phoenix hosting the Kings. Game 2 will be played Tuesday at 6 p.m. Both games will be on NBC Sports Network. There’s no official date for Game 3 at Staples Center — you’re shocked, I know — but it will be either Thursday or Friday.

The Kings have decided to fly to Phoenix on Saturday morning, then hold an early-afternoon practice at Arena in advance of Game 1. It’s been an interesting week, with the Kings and Coyotes both having so much time off. Today, Darryl Sutter talked about trying to structure practices in such a way that the Kings will be as ready as possible for Game 1…

SUTTER: “I think you have to build towards it. You have your five or six days between games, and you’re not sure how many there (will be), so there’s a reload part of it and a skill part of it, then you get into some game stuff and some special-teams stuff. You just try to get ready for the first game. … The toughest part now is not for the coaches. It’s for the players, because they’re anxious and it’s hard to stay sharp. From my standpoint — I know, as a player — you don’t want coaches overkilling. You just try to get them sharp, and that’s it.”

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