Frozen Royalty: Los Angeles Kings: Conquering Lack of Playoff Experience?
Gann Matsuda of Frozen Royalty was up at a very spirited Kings practice yesterday and got some quotes from a team who won its first playoff game in eight years. Check it out!
EL SEGUNDO, CA — A lot of attention has been focused on the fact that the Los Angeles Kings are a young team that lacks playoffs experience, despite the presence of several grizzled veterans with playoff experience, including five with Stanley Cup rings.
The fact that none of the players wearing those rings are part of the young core that not only makes up the leadership group, but also are not among the team’s best players who will likely lead the team years from now, only encourages greater scrutiny.
That lack of post-season experience was apparent in Game 1 of the Kings’ Western Conference Quarterfinal playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks on April 15.
In front of a raucous, sell-out crowd at General Motors Place in Vancouver, the Kings got caught up in the excitement and their young players seemed to be a bit unnerved by the new and exciting experiences of the playoffs.
“We had a lot of guys playing in their first playoff game,” said veteran defenseman Rob Scuderi, who won the Stanley Cup in 2009 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. “It’s a different atmosphere. It’s really exciting.”
“There were a bunch of guys who played their first playoff game, including myself,” said center Anze Kopitar. “It was one of those things where you don’t know what to expect. Everybody was excited, but, at the same time, a little nervous. So it was mixed emotions.”
“There’s a lot of guys on this team who haven’t played in the playoffs,” said right wing Wayne Simmonds, who is also playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time. “It’s a huge difference between the regular season and the post-season.”
Scuderi had an explanation for what the younger players were experiencing.
“You’re not sure if you’re ninety percent nervous or ninety percent excited,” he said.
Whether you call it a case of nerves, over-excitement or jitters, the Kings failed to execute their game plan in Game 1 because of it.
“In Game 1, going into the third, we didn’t play as good and we didn’t know what to expect going into overtime,” Kopitar explained. “Nobody wanted to make a mistake. I felt we were just sitting back too much.”
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