EL SEGUNDO – Teammates need to trust one another, and coaches need to be able to trust their players.
When the Kings took on the Ducks on Saturday night at Staple Center, they were a day removed from coming off their league-mandated bye, which means they were not able to practice or play for a minimum of five days.
Players could go away if they wanted. Take defensemen Christian Folin and Oscar Fantenberg. They went to Cabo San Lucas. It’s a popular vacation spot where people go to relax, and party.
“My first time down to Mexico,” Folin said. “I had heard a lot of good things about it, so I wanted to go down and check it out. I got some sauna and we laid by the beach. It was a good time. Oscar was down there, too. We went out on a boat one day and saw some whales and hung out.”
And worked out. Make no mistake.
“I was coming back from injury, so I worked really hard to get back to game shape and you don’t want to lose that with that break,” Folin said. “So I talked to (Matt) Price and got a program and I followed it. I took one or two days off in the beginning and then I went back after it.”
Price is the Kings’ strength and conditioning coach.
“Me and Oscar played tennis one day,” Folin said. “He beat me, but it was fun. … We stayed pretty active because you know in the back of your head you’ve got the second half of the season and you want to be ready for that.”
This is exactly what coach John Stevens wants to know, that he can trust his players to do the right thing even if they are off in a place where so many are partying like it’s 1999.
“I think there’s an enormous amount of trust,” Stevens said. “We had Matt Price put together some key points and some suggestions for how they should handle their break – some total time off, and then get active again – and try to give them a plan to follow.”
This can be done anywhere, said Stevens, who was asked if he’d rather have his players stay around instead of…