When you win 12 of 14 playoff games, long breaks between series become the norm. We often think of that time off as a potential double-edged sword.
On the one hand, it gives players extra time to recover from injuries and reduces the chance that someone is going to get worn down from the postseason grind. However, those long breaks can also disrupt your rhythm and make your team rusty.
It becomes a point of concern for fans, but it’s not something the Kings see as a bad thing.
“It’s something we have dealt with before,” Penner said. “We’re not worried about the break. Rest isn’t the enemy. We’ve got a lot of time to go over game tape and watch the other teams play live now. … I think everybody is going to take the opportunity to watch and see who we could potentially play. We’ll take the rest now.”
Kings coach Darryl Sutter added that this break is different from the first two the Kings had because they know how long it’ll last and they know their opponent will be one of only two options.
“It’s nice. It’s really nice,” Willie Mitchell chimed in regarding the Kings’ long break. “Obviously the wear and tear of competing at this time of year, it’s another level. You guys see that. The checks that are made, the checks you’ve got to take, and just the games are at such a high level. It’s big. It allows the aches and pains we have, and the nicks, for a little more time to rest and kind of go into the series being healthy.”
This Stanley Cup Finals will be a case for the pros and cons of long series vs long breaks. The Kings needed only 14 games to get to the Finals, but the New Jersey Devils will need at least 18 contests and the New York Rangers would require a staggering 21 games to meet the Kings.