Training day, Insiders!
Throughout the season, the Kings had to balance the desire to train with the need to rest. Lately, they’ve usually chosen the latter, scrapping a few skates off the ice over the past two weeks. It’s hard to argue with the win-loss results, with a record of 4-1-0 in their last five games, though Todd McClellan acknowledged that training was likely necessary after the narrow win over San Jose.
However, kings didn’t have the luxury of having their cake and eating it too, if you wanted to. With the NHL’s heaviest schedule to date, there has been plenty of one or the other for the Kings up to this point. Over the next week or so, the Kings had a period of two to four days between games, during which time they could get what they needed. Yesterday was the rest day, today the snowboarding workouts lasted about an hour. Next week, he’ll stop on Sundays and Mondays before what will likely be heavier practices on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. An important balance to be found, McClellan explained.
“I think it’s important, because I think without practice, you’re going to get sick and you have to adjust it a little bit,” McClellan said after skiing today. “Today it was about an hour of practice, that’s a long time for us and I don’t remember the last time we were able to do that. Looking ahead, next week we’ll have a couple of those, but then we’ll get back to the road and the travel, the amount of games, the rotation, the take away This luxury sometimes. Today and Tuesday, Wednesday next week, it will be really important for us. “
McLellan has discussed the schedule at length this season, though it usually skips playing games in front of you and going 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-sanctioned weekend of late December. The Kings are the only team in the league that hasn’t gone three or more days between games this season, outside of the offseason. The only two games played on three or more rest days were Opening Night and December 27. That all changes after tomorrow’s mile with the Devils.
“We had a four-day break for the first time this season, we haven’t seen any of those, I think we had a day or three days off and even a two-day break was hard to get,” McClellan said. We only have nine players this year, we had 16 last year, but that takes long rest days or breaks. We will play against a good jersey team and then we will breathe. Sunday and Monday you won’t see us, that’s the plan.
Surveying the room a little bit today as well, the next time around is something players have noticed and are probably looking forward to.
Even for veteran players, those who have played here and those who have played for other organizations, it has been burdensome and difficult. After times like the vacation break to regroup, and for the Kings specifically, this stretch of just two games over nine days is a lot. The focus is on New Jersey tomorrow, followed by, McClellan noted, a chance to breathe afterward.
“I think it’s been hectic, we’ve been on the road a lot, but with Christmas and the All-Stars off we have a four-day break after this game, I think it’s huge to get a little break before we push in the second half,” said striker Viktor Arvidsson. We can connect to our bodies and go from there. Our game is where it should be, we just have to push more.”
While they may not know all the stats pertaining to the league, games played is a game in which the Kings are well aware that they lead the league.
Speaking with striker Philippe Danault today, he was well aware of that statistic, and thought about the situation on both sides. The Kings are rolling now and he’s noticed wanting to continue playing on the ice, and not lose the cohesion and cohesion the group has begun to build. He also knows that it’s been a little while since we’ve been through such a stretch, so he thinks that mentally it would be a good thing.
“It’s been a while, I think we’re the team in the league that’s played the most games, so that’s going to be good for our team, for our mental state,” he said. “We’ve been playing well though, we should continue with that tomorrow, but more rest is the clutch.”
For Arvidsson, the Kings are getting closer to stretching, pushing the playoffs and when you get to that point, there’s less learning to be done and more focus on maintenance. This is what makes days like today, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week so important. Get practice time when you can, and treat specific areas and come back to them.
“In the later stages of the season you have to know everything you need to do there, it’s just about keeping the body and flushing it out when needed,” he said. “I think we’re doing a good job at it. The coaches, management, strength coaches and coaches are doing a great job of keeping us fresh and healthy for the games. It’s been good so far, so we can only play there.”
We expect to see defenseman Jordan Spence in action for Team Ontario in the AHL this evening in San Diego.
It’s been a transactional season for Spence, and he’s currently the seventh favorite defenseman and has earned his place in the NHL. At the same time, he’s 21 years old, and the Kings want to see him do regular work in the game. Right now at the NHL level, the Kings have found three powerhouse pairings and those minutes aren’t in short supply, but Spence is also pushing for more than just an AHL role. Therein lies the catch, if you want to call it that, which has seen Spence go up and down seven times already this season. More often than not, his retrieves would come over longer, extended stretches including road trips or back-to-back, when the chances of a game being higher. His stints came during downtime, when he could sneak an AHL game or two before making a comeback or the Kings could cover space on the road.
The Kings want to reward Spence with the NHL opportunity he probably deserves to play, but at the same time they want and need him to play. McClellan has detailed the situation below −
“There are two rewards, one is being around us, and he’s done that for a long time and then there’s really being around us and being in the lineup, which is what he wants and craves. Wood, they’ve managed to stay healthy. The luxury of having an MLS team around gives us the ability to bring him in as an insurance policy, he’s always ready to go and bring him back so he can practice his game. I don’t think he misses much if he misses a day of practice, because he plays a lot there And he’s a very bright student and player. So if he’s not skating, there’s at least skating before the game and he’s around us for meetings, and then he’ll apply his MLS craft, so being able to go back and forth is important.”
The Kings have used this approach frequently over the past three seasons, and it really dates back to the cab squad during the COVID-affected 2020-21 campaign. We saw last year how quickly things can change and having a player ready, McClellan said, is important. Spence is that player right now and it will be even better for him when the time finally comes and a place in the squad every night becomes available.
off the ice
Hear from Todd McClellan on the importance of the team run “We are all kings of the rink
scheduled for Sunday morning. The Kings will fan out around Southern California on the day off to spend time with young players from across the region.
“Whether it’s in the yard, hospitals, charities, to spend time with a little guy here at the rink, it’s all part of our responsibility, as individuals, as a team, as an organization and the guys here are really good. I’m sure that on their day off, no one wants To get up and drive across town to a rink, but they accept that, they do it and they do a really good job. So as proud as we are of what we do on the ice most nights, that’s right up there with everything else.”
Finally, the Kings announced a small broadcast change, with the game moving on April 1 from KCOP-TV to Bally Sports West. Unless this is an April Fool’s joke, in which case, don’t unsubscribe from KCOP-TV just yet. Time will tell.
Morning skate, assuming the optional variety, to come tomorrow before the Kings host NJ!
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