As the NHL resumes action, teams will be back together after a long layoff. Many players kept in shape by representing their countries at the Olympics. Many more, however, had time to rest up. But was the two and a half weeks they were off too much time? After playing three quarters of a season virtually non-stop and then to abruptly break for the Olympics may not be the easiest to come back to.
Sure, most teams will shake off the rust after a few games and be back into the swing of things as if there was no break at all. What I wonder isn’t so much about the likes of the San Jose Sharks and Washington Capitals who, barring the most monumental of collapses, will be assured of playing post-season hockey, but the dark horses, like the Phoenix Coyotes and, of course, the Los Angeles Kings, whose layoffs may be the last thing they need.
Whatever potential concern the Kings will be answered by the end of the week when they will have games against Dallas, Nashville, and Montreal under their belt. As the Kings prepare for tomorrow night’s road game in Dallas, it’s anyone guess as to how the Kings will play returning from the break. Conversely, it’s anyone’s guess as to how the Stars will play returning from the break. Jonathan Quick, in particular, poses a question. Despite being a member of Team USA in Vancouver, he never dressed, let alone played in any action over that time. For someone who has played as frequently as Quick this season thus far, no one knows how he’ll react after returning to the Kings’ net after such an unusually long absence.
Neither Jack Johnson or Drew Doughty were at Kings’ practice this morning but are both scheduled to be in the lineup tomorrow night. Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick, on the other hand, were at practice and both discussed their experience in the Olympics - both clearly disappointed from yesterday’s result but both happy for Drew Doughty and the rest of Team Canada for winning gold.
Whether or not the Kings will be affected by the layoff will be determined this coming week as the get back to playing. However, it shouldn’t be a grave concern. It may take one or two games to get back into the groove but nothing that should cost the Kings that all-elusive playoff spot.