You could argue the L.A. Kings haven’t faced a pair of offensive studs like Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise since they dealt with the Sedin twins in the opening round. For Kings coach Darryl Sutter, preparing for them means doing a lot of the same things they’ve done already in the post season.
Following today’s practice, Sutter spoke with the media and when he was asked about preparing for Kovalchuk, he discussed what goes into all of it.
“Well, we’ve had to play against dominant individual players, not necessarily always offensive guys, in every series,” Sutter said.
“You have to zero in on certain players, key in on them, prepare for them. So you’re talking about a guy who plays premiere minutes, a lot of minutes, is a shooter, and at the same time you can’t overlook players like Zach.”
Forgetting about anyone like Kovalchuk, Parise, Travis Zajac, Patrik Elias, or Adam Henrique all sound like really bad ideas for Los Angeles. Making sure everyone is accounted for is all part of the game in hockey, but you could argue the Kings haven’t faced a team like this yet in the postseason. The Kings have blitzed opponents in Game 1 in each round on the road. Doing it one more time would send a hell of a message.
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It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.