In the latest edition of View From The Press Box at LAKings.com, we ask Kings TV Analyst Jim Fox, Kings Radio Analyst Daryl Evans and LAKingsInsider Jon Rosen what they did during the Olympic Break, what they’ll take away from the Sochi Winter Games and what they’d like to see from the Kings coming out of the break.
What did you do during the Olympic Break?
JF – I went up to Napa Valley to Calistoga, where we make Patine’ Cellars, and we had a three-day retreat to analyze our first year of operations. We discussed what we did right, what we did wrong, and made plans to move forward into the future. Then I went to Palm Springs for a week. I got a lot of work done there, on my own time, which makes that a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable.
DE – For me, it was an opportunity to get caught up on things around home and we also had clinics going on during that time. There was a lot of community outreach by the Kings during the break and we had groups coming to Toyota Sports Center on a daily basis. It was also a chance to watch some world class hockey during the Olympic Games.
JR – I traveled to Manchester to report on the Kings' prospects, took a weekend off to go skiing near Aspen, and set my alarm very early on multiple occasions to watch and report on Olympic hockey.
What will you remember most about the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi?
DE – Well, I think when you look at it, I think the balance of the game around the world is starting to show. There isn’t as much domination by certain countries as there was in the past. Canada, a very good hockey club, won it again this year but Team USA had a really strong outing. It just goes to show you how prepared you have to be for every game in a single elimination tournament. I think we’re seeing the growth of the game across the world with Anze Kopitar’s team, Team Slovenia, winning their first game at the Olympics. I think it was the team game of Team Canada that allowed them to capture the gold medal, and they did it while only surrendering three goals throughout the tournament and they never trailed in any game. They showed it’s not all about scoring goals as they scored less than three goals and a game and still won the gold medal.
JR – I'll always remember watching the group stage game between the United States and Russia. The semifinal United States-Canada game and Canada's gold medal game win over Sweden won't endure as much as watching T.J. Oshie convert on four of six shootout chances after a furiously contested 65 minutes. Because my fiancée was sleeping nearby, the celebration was a bit muted. But I'll always remember the tension of the third period, overtime and the shootout, and the three or four fist pumps I gave when the Americans won.
JF – The first thing that I’ll remember is the gold medal game in women’s hockey, and how it just showed us all why we play the game. It just goes to show you that at that level – and I guess at any level – you just keep playing until the end and you believe. If it doesn’t work out, it hurts. If it does work out, it’s great. I’ll also remember the play of Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty. All of the Kings that participated in the games represented the Kings well, but with Carter and Doughty being on the gold medal team, it stands out a little bit more.
What are you hoping to see from the Kings as they return to the ice after the break?
JR – As an impartial observer, I don't really have any late season "hopes." My only hope is that when a trade or important news breaks, I am seated on a comfortable chair in front of a computer and have reliable WiFi access and am not in a car or a plane or a movie theater. I hope that all our flights leave on time, no one is sleeping in my hotel room when I arrive in it, and that none of the final 23 games are delayed by broken panes of glass.
JF – I’m hoping to see the same preparation that I’ve seen the last couple of years, not losing what the soul of this team is, which is solid defense and not giving away games. That’s what this team’s identity is. Of course I want to see more offense to make that margin for error just a little bit bigger. Bottom line, I want to see at least an eighth place spot and I’m not talking about anything above that until it happens. I certainly think the Kings are more than capable of getting higher than eighth, but just getting in and preparing for the way it will be in the playoffs is important. If that preparation is handled correctly, then the team can have a lot of success.
DE – I think the biggest thing the Kings needed during the break was rest. They had that strong stretch when Jonathan Quick was hurt earlier in the year and I thought the team came together nicely. They showed how strong this team is, so I’d like to see them carry that on now as we move into the last 23 regular season games. All of the players that represented the Kings at the Olympics will bring a lot of positive things back to this team, and hopefully they’ll be able to share those experiences with their teammates. When you’re playing with the best players in the world, you get a chance to see first-hand how those guys approach the game both on and off the ice. I think we’ll be a rested team, a re-energized team and I’m looking for a strong start when we start up again against Colorado on Wednesday night.