Los Angeles Kings: 6 Reasons They Won't Avoid Stanley Cup Hangover in 2012-13
The Los Angeles Kings, just like the Stanley Cup champions before them, will not be able to escape the championship hangover that will happen when they step on the ice for their first regular-season game.
To bounce back from the hangover, it can take a few days, a few weeks or even a few months. The Boston Bruins' hangover lasted for most of October last season before they went undefeated in November to get their season back on track.
Let's look at six reasons why the Kings won't avoid the Stanley Cup hangover.
Not Enough Rest
If the season starts on time, the Kings will have had a short offseason to prepare for their Stanley Cup defense.
Not having the same amount of rest can really affect players, and the result is many of them showing up to training camp out of shape, and not in "hockey mode."
With players unsure if the season will start on time, some might not train as hard as they normally would because they are assuming the season will be delayed. We saw some NBA players not train enough during their lockout last season, and many of them were tired and out of shape. It showed during the first few weeks of regular-season games.
The Kings won't be as well rested as they are used to, and it will take a little bit of time to get back to normal game speed.
The Party Doesn't Stop
The Stanley Cup party doesn't stop when the new season begins. The banner ceremony on opening night reminds everyone of the postseason triumph from the spring, and the Stanley Cup is also brought to many different places, including charity events and team functions.
The Stanley Cup is also taken to other sports games around the city. For example, the Bruins brought the Stanley Cup to Fenway Park before a Red Sox game, and to Gillette Stadium prior to a Patriots game.
All these events make it hard to turn the page and focus on repeating as champions. When the championship is fresh in your mind, your competitiveness and drive to win usually lessens a bit.
Everyone Wants to Beat You
One aspect of the Stanley Cup hangover that players are often don't take seriously enough is the fact that all the other teams are going to play so much harder against you.
They are jealous of what you have and will want to make a statement by beating you. The Kings must make sure that they don't take nights off in the early part of the season, because opponents will always be energized and ready to go when playing the defending champs.
In a Western Conference that is so competitive, the Kings cannot afford to drop points early in the season due to the Stanley Cup hangover, because it could hurt them in the playoff chase later in the year.
The Kings Style of Play Doesn't Help
When a physical team like the Kings wins the Stanley Cup, the chances of stumbling out of the gates to begin the season increase.
Physical teams expend a lot of energy during the course of a game, and with a shortened offseason, the Kings could be even more tired than they expect to be in October.
Trying to play their normal style of hockey could be difficult for the Kings to start the year, and this would make them much easier to beat since they are at their best when playing physical.
The Playoffs Will Be Much Tougher
The pressure of repeating as Stanley Cup champions is so great that many teams are unable to defend their title past the first round of the playoffs.
Just like the Bruins, the Kings' physical style of play will make them more likely to suffer injuries, especially when they are defending the Stanley Cup.
These teams are often out of energy when the playoffs arrive, which is why four of the last six defending Stanley Cup champions either missed the playoffs or lost in the first round.
Most of the 2011-12 Kings Team Is Coming Back
Since the Kings will return much of the same team that won the Stanley Cup last season, there won't be many players on the roster who have yet to experience the joy of winning a championship.
The Bruins were in this same scenario last season. When you don't have many guys who haven't won a championship, sometimes the drive to win isn't as high as it needs to be.
Winning the "next one" is so difficult, because it's not easy to have the same championship drive year after year when you have already won a ring.
The Kings will need to start next season like they lost the 2012 Stanley Cup Final. That will be one of the most effective ways to beat the hangover.