NEWARK, N.J. When youre a part of any playoffs, there are some things you just have to deal with. Injuries and fatigue are two of them.
A gap-filled schedule is another.
The Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils will finally get back to hockey Saturday night, when they play Game 2 of their Stanley Cup Final matchup at the Prudential Center. The teams had two days in between Games 1 and 2, which has its plusses and minuses. Yes, guys who are dinged up and plenty are at this time of the year can get an extra days rest.
But its also about playing the waiting game, and not everyone is a fan of it. The team that wins the previous game wants to get back out there and build off that momentum. The team that loses usually wants to get out there and erase the taste left from that game.
Either way, playing is always better than practicing. Or sitting. Or waiting. Same can go for coaches, too.
I dont think its a perfect scenario, all the days off, New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer said Saturday morning. You want to play. You get tired, as coaches, of looking at tape and analyzing. You can analyze to death. From a players perspective, theres this nervous energy and the only release is dropping the puck and playing. I dont think it favors either side. It is what it is and you deal with it.
Devils center Adam Henrique concurred.
I guess after one game its different. You usually expect (an extra day off) after game 2 or 3, but thats out of our control, he said. Theres nothing we can do about it.
Even heading into this series each team had their time off. The Devils had four days off after beating the New York Rangers in six games. The Kings had a week off after dispatching the Phoenix Coyotes in five. If nothing else, the Kings are more used to this day off-filled schedule this postseason. The Staples Center was a very busy place through April and May, with the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers also there for their respective playoff series. Both NBA teams were eliminated in the second round.
Only difference now is the Kings are working the long layoff on the road.
Its more difficult, maybe, when youre not at home. But thats part of it, Kings forward Dustin Brown said. Its just staying focused. We get away, we do a couple things as a team. Its easy to come back here and get focused. Guys dont need extra attention or push. We just stick to our routine and get ready to go.
The extra day is nice sometimes. But there are two teams who are determined to win a Cup who dont want to wait any longer to play. Time to drop the puck again.