"They have to keep understanding and listening to what I'm telling them about how tough it is," he said. "The train has got to be a work train, not the
With the Kings sagging to ninth in the West at the All-Star break, it may seem the Stanley Cup train has left the station. But they will have precedent on their side when the season resumes Tuesday.
In each season from 2005-06 through 2013-14 (excluding the
Center Anze Kopitar said the Kings can't rely only on their resilience and the memory of winning the Cup in 2012 as the No. 8 seed.
"You want to build up your game up until the playoffs. Right now we realize that we're not playing good hockey and we're going to have to pick it up to make it," he said. "That being said, I think we're one point out of a playoff spot so it's not all that bad."
Here's a look at who's in what kind of shape as the season resumes:
IN: The Ducks (31-10-6 for a league-best 68 points) are 12 points ahead of second-place San Jose in the
Looking at the East, Tampa Bay, Detroit (24th straight playoff trip), Montreal and the
NEARLY THERE: The
In the East, the
FAR OUT: The Arizona
"I think the league and the players' association realize that if you step back, you can't go back and forth," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "The International Ice Hockey Federation wants NHL players in the Games. They want it to be the best tournament…. But we can't wait until the last year of the quadrennium to make that decision."
Players want to participate but owners dislike long Olympic breaks and the NHL and
If NHL players don't go to South Korea, European nations can draw on domestic leagues. Ogrean said the U.S. "might have to take a creative approach." That could mean sending college kids, leaving NBC to play up parallels with the 1980 "Miracle on ice" team. Using junior-level players seems unlikely.
"There's some different possibilities," Ogrean said, "and that's why if NHL players are not going to go, we need to know in 2015 or 2016, not the year before."
Final All-Star note: Columbus did a fine job as host, but the game was a 29-goal blur. "You feel bad for the goalies with that many goals but the fans love it and it looked like they were having fun," Tampa Bay forward