I took a deep breath last night and thought about what training camp and preseason means to these players and what that timeframe consists of. A few weeks before training camps we start to see the trickle of photos. Players skating together at TSC getting back into form - before training camp. Looking back through the last couple of years players are asked to report for physical testing a week prior to training camp. Camp is generally three weeks with rookies and kids learning the ropes and an additional week with the main squad practicing and then the wonderful split squad battles take place where the teams travel with full rosters and work on that "timing". Then we do a few more of those and 4 weeks has passed. We move ever closer to real hockey starting and play no less than 4 more preseason games (split squad or normal) and then Frozen Fury which tends to have the kinks worked out, has the tempo of a normal game with very little flubbing of pucks. At that time we are almost 2 months into the rigors of Hockey life.
These guys were essentially thrust with 2 weeks of practice - zero game time - into playing full speed hockey. That is what we are seeing. Give in 2 more weeks and then start to get concerned.
As mentioned above the gifted players standout - Doughty stands heads above most of our team right now, the other night in Chicago Patrick Kane seemed to be on game 42 of the season not game 1.
Kopitar is playing on a bum knee, the confidence part of that is difficult "can I go into this corner balls to the wall?" he has to be asking himself that every time he steps on the ice. That anxiety doesn't wane for a few weeks.
Mike Richards looks terrible while Jeff Carter looks amazing but has no one to play with.
The magic number this short season is somewhere between around 61
Kings are a far better team than the Coyotes, and did what they should have done to them last season in the playoffs. That was true last season, and its true this season. The difference in talent on the rosters is huge. So, you wont get any debate from me on that. The Kings underachieved for the majority of the regular season in 2012, which is why the Coyotes are the defending Pacific Division champs. If that happens again this season, it was because the Kings had a serious SC hangover, not because the Coyotes are the stronger team.