Olympic break provides much-needed R&R for Kings
Forward Jarrett Stoll is already in New Orleans with half a dozen other NHL players for Mardi Gras. "None of us have ever been there," Stoll said before leaving. "So it will be an experience, I'm sure."
The group, which was to include teammate Brad Richardson and Teddy Purcell, will return midweek, after which Stoll will head to Cabo San Lucas for four days.
Five Kings -- Americans Dustin Brown, Jack Johnson and Jonathan Quick, Canadian Drew Doughty and Michal Handzus of Slovakia -- are working through their vacation, playing for their respective countries in Vancouver. But the rest of the team is off until Feb. 24, when practice resumes in preparation for the team's playoff push. That push begins March 2 in Dallas, the first of the Kings' final 21 regular-season games.
Anze Kopitar, the team's leading scorer at the break with 28 goals and 36 assists, said he was going to spend part of his time off in Portland with his brother. [CORRECTION: A previous version of this post said he would spend time with his daughter. Kopitar does not have any children.] He then planned to head to Aspen, Colo., for vacation. And Wayne Simmonds planned to fly home to reconnect with family.
Coach Terry Murray also is using the break to catch up with family, going to New England to see his daughters for four or five days.
But if most of the Kings' vacation plans include travel, they also include rest.
"A lot of couch time," defenseman Matt Greene said. "A lot of relaxing."
Added Kopitar: "It is a good time for us just to recharge a little bit again. First of all, get away from hockey a little bit. And when we come back, just think about the way we have to play."
However, Stoll warns, there is such a thing as too much rest.
"You have to do something," he said. "I'll be riding a bike, maybe do some Pilates and some stretching. Ten days, two weeks, it's a long time to definitely get out of shape a little bit. So you want to do something. But you want to take the time too.
"It happens every four years [and] it's such a grueling schedule. You want to take the break when you get it. Get the rest but also stay in some good shape too, because once you get back you know the best is yet to come."
-- Kevin Baxter
Photo: Jarret Stoll battles Ottawa's Ryan Shannon for the puck during a game on Dec. 3. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images