The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings practiced Sunday for the first time since the end of the 3 1/2-month NHL lockout, beginning preparations for Saturday's season opener at Staples Center against the Chicago Blackhawks.
"It was good to get back out there and snap the puck around and get our mind back into hockey season," defenseman Drew Doughty told City News Service following the practice at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo. The practice was "pretty much the same as another of Darryl's practices," Doughty said, referring to coach Darryl Sutter.
"We focused on a few aspects of our team game," Doughty said. "I think every day we're going to focus on different things."
Doughty said "he missed all the guys over the summer."
The 54-year-old Sutter said it was good to be back on the ice with the team, but "it's tough on old guys to put your skates back on. It's like breaking in cowboy boots."
The Kings will also conduct a practice open to the public at Staples Center beginning at 7 p.m. Monday, with doors opening at 6 p.m. Admission is free. Complimentary tickets can be downloaded at www.ticketmaster.com/lakings starting at 6 p.m. Sunday.
The Monday practice will be televised live by Fox Sports West and re-aired at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday and 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. Wednesday.
Tickets for all of the Kings' 24 games at Staples Center will go on sale at 6 p.m. Monday on LAKings.com.
The Kings sold out 37 of 39 regular-season games at Staples Center last season, their most regular-season sellouts at Staples Center, where they have played since 1999, and averaged a team-record 18,119 fans per game.