If I had 3 wishes, my first would be world peace. My second would be the health of my family for the rest of their lives. My third would be the Kings winning the Stanley Cup. Yes, I love this team that much. I have loved them since I was 10 years old and do today at nearly 40. And it is because I love them that I can say this with all sincerity. I wish they were better coached. After suffering through the Andy Murray era and watching a horribly predictable dump and chase system that caused Randy Carlyle at one time to actually comment how easy the Kings were to defend against because of their predictable offensive style, we have come full circle to the same place again.
If I counted, I would expect to have seen about 8 out of 10 plays through the neutral zone start and end with the puck being surrendered at the blue line. 5 on 5. Powerplay. No difference. It is this system, or lack thereof, that I had to suffer through tonight, shift and shift. Ironically, when the Kings didn’t dump the puck in, they generated scoring chances and some damn good ones. When they did, almost without exception, they lost the puck or generated a whole lot of nothing. Enough about the dump and chase. Let’s talk about what else gave me gray hairs tonight.
Down 3-1, I keep looking at the screen and keep seeing Raitis Ivanans out there. Come on, that can’t be right. Look closer. Yup. That’s Raitis. Again and again. I don’t know how much ice time he got in that third but somewhere, somehow I am sure there is a perfectly rational explanation as to why a coach down two goals would put the most ineffective offensive player out on the ice for so many shifts. Maybe I saw it wrong. Maybe he only played 30 seconds out there and I am losing my mind. They probably keep stats for this type of thing.
Look, I am not upset we lost. It happens. Dustin Brown had a good game. Unfortunately, as one intelligent Kings fan pointed out, he may have the worst “finish” since Jeff Giuliano. Kopitar very obviously needs Ryan Smyth. I don’t blame him. Smyth creates time and space and it is clear that teams are double teaming and focusing on Kopi right now. Wayne Simmonds had another good game and another blue collar, lunch pale goal. Watching Randy Jones out there may drive me to drink. The Kings’ face off percentage already has.
Let’s put this game behind us, chalk it up to “you can’t win them all” and move on…let’s hope that maybe Terry Murray sees that his one dimensional offensive style works best when the players don’t follow it.