Practice Day, Insiders!
All season long, the Kings have had to balance the desire to practice against the need to rest. As of late, they have typically opted for the latter, cancelling a few on-ice skates over the last couple of weeks. It’s hard to argue with the results of wins and losses, with a 4-1-0 record over their last five games, though Todd McLellan admitted a practice was likely needed after the narrow victory over San Jose.
Still, the Kings haven’t really had the luxury of having their cake and eating it too, if you will. With the NHL’s heaviest schedule to date, it’s been a whole lot of one or the other for the Kings until this point. Over the next week or so, the Kings have stretches of two and four days between games, during which they can get what they need. Yesterday was the rest day, with today the on-ice practice that spanned nearly an hour. Next week, it’ll be off days on Sunday and Monday before what will likely be heavier practices on Tuesday and Wednesday. An important balance to find, as McLellan detailed.
“I think it’s important, because I believe that without practice, you will get sick and you’ve got to fine tune it a little bit,” McLellan said after today’s skate. “Today was almost an hour practice, that’s a long time for us and I can’t remember the last time we were able to do that. Looking forward, this coming week we’ll have a couple of those but then we’re going to get back on the road and the travel, the amount of games, the back-to-backs take away that luxury sometimes. Today and Tuesday, Wednesday of next week, those will be really important for us.”
McLellan has discussed the schedule at length this season, though it typically surmounts to you play the games in front of you and go from there. That’s all you can do from a team perspective.
When you look back though, you’ll see that the team’s only three-day break so far this season was the league-mandated Holiday Break back in late-December. The Kings are the only team in the league that has not yet had a stretch of three-or-more days in between games this season, outside of the holiday break. The only two games played on three-or-more days rest were Opening Night and December 27. That all changes after tomorrow’s tilt with the Devils.
“We’ve got a four-day break for the first time this season, we haven’t seen one of those, I think we’ve had one, three-day break and even two-day breaks have been hard to come by,” McLellan said. “Granted, we haven’t had to play a lot of back-to-backs, we only have nine this year, we had 16 last year, but it takes away those extended days off or breaks. We’ll play against a good Jersey team and then breathe. Sunday and Monday you won’t see us, that’s the plan.”
Polling the room a bit today as well, the upcoming time is something that the players have noticed and are perhaps looking forward to.
Even for veteran players, those who have played here…
Read More: Practice Report 1/13 – Balancing Practice Days & Rest Days, Spence’s Status & 2023-01-14 00:11:39