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|Stanley Cup Final Notebook: Kings not feeling pressure|
|Written by Denis Gorman|
|Sunday, 10 June 2012 02:05|
The Los Angeles Kings may be on the brink of winning the franchise's first Stanley Cup, but they're not feeling that burden. Instead, they're looking forward to playing their game and, hopefully, lifting the Cup.NEWARK, N.J.— Darryl Sutter missed one party for the opportunity to attend Newark’s biggest block party as an uninvited guest.
The date of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final coincided with Farmers’ Day, an Albertan tradition. Sutter is a farmer. He recalled earlier in the series that he was working on the farm when GM Dean Lombardi called to offer him the Los Angeles Kings’ coaching job in December.
The Kings entered Game 5 leading the New Jersey Devils three games to one in the series. Los Angeles had not lost a game on the road in the playoffs. The Devils were 7-5 at the Prudential Center in the playoffs.
“It’s Farmers’ Day,” Sutter said during his media availability Saturday morning at the Prudential Center. “It’s like a big picnic with coolers. [I] don’t know if you know what that means.”
Sutter dismissed questions about the Kings feeling burdened with the prospects of winning the franchise’s first Cup. Los Angeles joined the NHL in 1967 and had only reached the Stanley Cup Final once, a five-game loss to the Montreal Canadiens in 1993.
“I don’t think there’s any pressure on our team at all. You’ve asked that [question] 165 times. The only pressure that the players should feel—or that you try to convey to them—is the pressure they put on themselves to be as good as they can be. That’s not a team function. That’s why teams are still playing because it’s not pressure, it’s like a good place,” Sutter explained.
“I think from a coaching standpoint, you’re always looking for your team’s best game. I never question our team’s effort.”
Game 5 marked the second game for right wing Petr Sykora and defenseman Henrik Tallinder after missing extended time. Tallinder hasn’t played since January because of a blood clot in his right leg while Sykora had been scratched for six straight games dating back to Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final.
"I don’t see that as an issue,” Pete DeBoer said in response to a question about the layoff affecting Sykora and Tallinder during the Devils’ coach media availability Saturday morning the Prudential Center.
“I don’t have to talk to those guys. They’ve got decades of experience at the NHL level and in the playoffs. They know their bodies,” DeBoer added, while noting the Devils would ice the “same lineup,” as the one that won Wednesday night. “I don’t buy the second game is going to be tougher. You’re in the Stanley Cup Final. They’re ready to go.”
*****The first four games of the Cup Final have been marked by hitting. A lot of hitting. The Devils and Kings have combined for 309 hits in the four games, an average of 77.25 hits per game.
“I think both teams will come out and be real physical,” DeBoer said. “I just think both teams are going to be physical.”
Photos by Getty Images