'We're right on the edge' of being rusty


'We're right on the edge' of being rusty

NEWARK, NJ The biggest question facing the Los Angeles Kings will be whether they were too good for their own good.

Because they were able to dispatch the Vancouver Canucks in five games, the Kings have enjoyed seven games off between the Western Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals that begin Wednesday night against the New Jersey Devils. The rest vs. rust is a classic argument during the Cup playoffs, and there have been enough examples of both to lend credence to its importance.

Kings captain Dustin Brown sounded as if he might even be a bit curious how his teammates come out tonight after a week off between playoff series.

Were right on the edge there. Seven dayseight days, admitted Brown. I think you go nine or ten days you might be going a little too long.

The Kings have enjoyed significant periods of battery recharging in each of the three series while marching through the Western Conference bracket in a scant 14 games. Each pocket of practice time has allowed them the ability to essentially hit the reset button rather than suffer the fatigue and attrition from each bruising round of the playoffs.

Its more or less a reset. Weve had time off in-between and thats more or less allowed us to enjoy the accomplishments in the series we just ended, said Brown. Then you hit the reset button and get right back to work after a couple of days off to get that mentality back."

From a playing standpoint you want to play, but from a rest standpoint you get through it. To be in the position we are with the rest weve had is definitely a positive. Its just a matter of guys preparing themselves.

The Devils, on the other hand, went to six games in a hard-fought series against the Rangers, and got pushed to seven games by the Florida Panthers in the first round of the playoffs.

Jersey will have only four days off after dispatching the Blueshirts, and they didnt travel cross-country as they set up to host the start of the series.

They handled the sweep against the Flyers that gave them their needed breather in between rounds, but theyve also been pushed harder than the Kings during the entirety of the postseason.

It looks like the Devils are on the right side of the restrust cycle and the Kings might be a little more than right on the edge, but the answers will be known once the two hockey clubs have hit the ice.

Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend


Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

It’s only a coincidence that it will air the same week that the Boston Bruins went Hollywood with their annual three-game road trip through California, but David Backes and his wife Kelly are going to get some solid TV time this weekend. The animal-loving couple are going to be featured Saturday night in the all-new Animal Planet special "Stars to the Rescue," which highlights the Backes family’s excellent work to ensure every animal has a ‘furever’ home.

The lifelong animal lovers have adopted five rescue pets that all made the move from St. Louis to Boston this summer, and launched Athletes for Animals in 2013, a non-profit organization supporting professional athletes and animal advocacy efforts. The 32-year-old Backes chose a Boston animal shelter as his first setting to meet with the Boston media this summer after signing with the Bruins in free agency, and spoke glowingly about his inspiration for marrying two of his passions: helping animals and sports.

“The full story is that in college we wanted an animal or two, but it just wasn’t responsible because we were renting and the landlords didn’t approve," said Backes, the proud owner of four dogs (Maverick, Rosey, Marty and Bebe) and two cats (Sunny, Poly). "We just didn’t really have the time or resources to support them, so we volunteered at the local shelter for the three years I was in school.

“When my wife [Kelly] and I moved to St. Louis, we wanted to connect with the community, be a part and use our voice to influence social change to do our part making the world a little bit of a better place. So we said, ‘Why not connect with the animal welfare rescue community?’

“We absolutely love doing it: Walking dogs, scooping litter boxes and cleaning kennels. Let’s use our voice to kick this off and see what we can do, and it really just snowballed from that to then trying to tie other guys into it. It’s not limited to the animal stuff, but the animals that don’t have a voice, and the kids that don’t have a voice, really tug at our heart strings. We want to help them with this blessing of a great voice we’ve been given as professional athletes, and to really use that to give them some help.”

The “Stars to the Rescue” special premieres on Saturday night at 8 pm on Animal Planet where there will be a full segment on the Backes family, but here’s a clip where Backes talks about his well-publicized involvement with a number of stray dog rescues during his 2014 Olympic Hockey stint with Team USA in Sochi, Russia.

Backes isn’t the only Boston athlete featured during the Animal Planet special as it also chronicles the stories of other well-known athletes and celebrities and the dogs they can't live without: Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, Baltimore Ravens’ Ronnie Stanley, Selma Blair, ESPN Correspondent Michelle Beadle, WNBA star Elena Delle Donne, former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and more. From training buddies to comforting companions, “Stars to the Rescue” shows first-hand how these celebrities first met their cute rescued canines and how their dogs have impacted and transformed their lives for the better.

What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track


What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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