Mercifully, the time for talk is almost over. After almost a week, the Kings and Phoenix Coyotes will be back in action tomorrow for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. Both teams practiced today at Jobing.com Arena, and with the 5 p.m. start tomorrow, neither team figures to have much activity in the morning, at least on the ice. For the Kings, there’s at least a little more normalcy. They’re on the road, in a hotel, and it’s starting to feel like playoff hockey again. Rob Scuderi said the Kings are ready for a game.
SCUDERI: “Yeah, I think I can’t speak for everyone, but just for myself. It’s nice to just get back to the routine a little bit. While the season is still going on, you want to keep it going on, you don’t want too
long a break. It’s nice to have a bit of recuperation time. But after seven days, I think we’re all pretty much ready to play.’’
In terms of travel, and the schedule, things worked out fairly well for the Kings. With a flight of only one hour, and an early evening game Sunday, the Kings were able to stay home until this morning but still squeeze in a practice at the arena before the start of the series. As Darryl Sutter pointed out, it’s also a chance for players such as Dwight King and Jordan Nolan, who have never played a regular-season or playoff game at Jobing.com Arena, or Jeff Carter, who managed to miss Phoenix during the regular season with Columbus and the Kings, to get acclimated.
SUTTER: “I think it’s good, first off. But I think the most important part of that is because we play an early game tomorrow, right? You get guys that haven’t maybe practiced in this building or been on the ice in this building, or not very often. That’s the most important part. I don’t think it does anything for you in terms of preparation coming in early, less than an hour over here. That was the concern. The most important part is, is because it’s an early game tomorrow.’’
Of course, the situation is nearly identical for the Coyotes. They wrapped up their second-round series on Monday, a day after the Kings, and they’ve been home since, awaiting the start of the conference finals. Coyotes forward Ray Whitney said he’s ready to get going…
WHITNEY: “Yeah, it’s been a long time off. I think both teams probably feel the same way, that it’s enough practicing, it’s time to get out there. At this time of year, you don’t like practicing that much anyways. You’ve had enough of those throughout the season. So, we’re excited to get back to playing and I’m sure they are as well. … We’ve both had plenty of time to prepare and heal and I would assume everybody is healthy on both sides of it. So, everybody is starting fresh, which should be no excuses in that department.”