Truth is now acceptable. Fame is now injectable. Process the progress. Let’s become incredible…
Who they want you to be. Who they wanted to see… Your unbelievable… undefeatable now.
Planetary (GO!) By: My Chemical Romance, Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys (2010)
In order to seize tonight’s opportunity, the themes run pretty clear and everyone is in agreement. The Kings must take what they learned, use it to move forward and then let the game go and move on. From there there is nothing less then playoff expectations that is acceptable from all involved.
Brad Richardson understands and is ready to contribute to each of these essential mental and game essentials. When looking forward, Richardson commented on both the team’s and the support of the Kingdom.
Thinking of the sixth-man he said, “Its awesome. Anytime we can get a lot of energy going at the Staples Center, it’s pretty big. It’s a great place to play. They showed that in the playoffs, last year. It was unbelievable. Them doing that in the last regular season games would be much appreciated. I’m sure the boys will all feed off that.”
“We need to get back at it tonight; have a great game to clinch our spot.” Richardson said of what the Kings need to accomplish. “Everyone knows there are things that need to be ironed out. We went over a lot of clips from the last game. Right now we have to move on. We have a bigger game, tonight. Everyone knows it wasn’t a great game but we’re ready to rebound and get that win.”
Coach Terry Murray takes Richardson’s focus on tonight’s implications a step further. Murray sees this game as not only chance to clinch a playoff spot but a step in securing home-ice advantage. “Over the course of the game.. and a seven game series; I think that you get your match-up the hometown and somethings that come your way because of that, absolutely.” Murray did clarify that it isn’t going to make or break any team. “But if the opportunity is there to have that seventh game at home, you want to take advantage of it.”
Murray set the accountability and the common thread of belief the players have among them, in motion. However, it is a mentality and standard that was set in motion long before Monday night’s loss.
“That really is the approach we have been taking the past month, with a playoff attitude that has been in this division.” Murray added that the Pacific Division was quite remarkable this season, from top to bottom. “From the All-Star break we have been talking about putting on the gas pedal and holding it down. It was a very difficult road trip in February. We put a focus on it and the guys responded.”
Focusing on rebounding for a big game is something all teams work on. However, the Phoenix Coyotes have presented a specific challenge at times. Even causing a levy of fines to General Manager Dean Lombardi after one match-up. After a disallowed goal that the Kings felt was within the rules, the NHL found the Kings General Manager conducts and comments out of line; causing the NHL to fine him.
After going over pre-scouting clips of Phoenix Richardson discussed the main message from Murray. “Let’s just stick to our game plan, our system. That way we’re a very tough team to beat no matter who we have in the line-up.”
Kevin Westgarth wholeheartedly agrees with Richardson on the necessity of different players; the entire roster needing to step-up in the absence of players like Kopitar and Williams.
“Even guys that have been there all year. Dustin Brown is a great example.” Westgarth started with those that have been and must continue to anchor the team before moving on to those seeing added time and responsibility. “Now guys like Trevor Lewis is chipping in with points and playing great. Richie is getting more time, which is awesome. Top to bottom we have good players that are going to be in the line-up.”
Westgarth isn’t the only one noticing Richards growing contributions to the Kings. He is centering a line that was just developed after the loss of Anze Kopitar , and according to radio commentator Daryl Evans, the Kings most consistent.
Richardson commented on what makes them click. “We are all players that like to get on the fore-check and skate pretty well.” Yesterday, in speaking about the line, Evans also commented that they started solid with a solid foundation of cycling and digging down low, which fits along the same line.
“I played with Simmers in the past and last year we had some chemistry.” Richardson then added Clifford into the equation. “Cliffy plays on the fore-check and bangs bodies, so its been pretty fun.”
And what but Westgarth’s contributation to the the Kings? Make no mistake, he puts the same expectations on himself. “I hope that I’m helping the team. If the team is doing well then that is all that matters.” Especially with games like tonight. What about that ever-present Biz Nasty guy, Westie?
“You know the players that you kind of have to be aware of on the ice. I try to make sure those type of players don’t have much of an impact.” Westgarth likes to take the proactive approach with those kind. “Come what may, I’m looking for him to react to me, rather then the other way around.”