NEW LINES AT PRACTICE

Sure enough, Coach Murray is going to give me a workout this year on that lineup card page.

Rich Hammond posted new lines from practice today:

Loktionov-Kopitar-Brown
Smyth-Stoll-Williams
Ponikarovsky-Handzus-Stoll

No definable 4th line.

We’ll go ahead and assume the 2nd Stoll on the 3rd line is a misprint and should read Simmonds.

The big change is in the top 6.  Clearly, assuming Murray goes with these lines for tomorrow night’s home opener against Atlanta, he wants more creativity on the 1st line.  Loktionov doesn’t bring size.  He doesn’t bring toughness.  But he damn well sure does bring creativity.

As exciting as it seems on the surface to have the rookie get some time next to the big man Kopitar, these lines provide me with cause for concern.

Will Murray ever let a line gel?

He had all training camp to watch Smyth-Kopi-Brown together.  In the preseason games I saw, they didn’t do much differently than the first two real games.  The difference was in the opposition, facing rookies on defense and crappy goalies in preseason.  I can’t comment on how effective these new lines will be… on the surface I like them, but if they can’t score after one game, what then?  More changes?

I do not want to see shake ups after every loss or every low scoring/low opportunity game.

Changing up the lines can be good, but only once the lines that are have had a chance to find a groove.  I will reserve judgement for the lineup card after tomorrow’s game.  While I do like the Smyth-Stoll-Williams line, personally I would have done this:

Smyth-Kopitar-Williams

Loktionov-Stoll-Brown

Poni-Zus-Simmonds

We’ll see what the 4th line looks like tomorrow.  I would prefer Westgarth get the benching, but I have a feeling Clifford won’t be playing.  I can’t imagine Richardson getting benched either.  Richardson-Schenn-Westgarth is my guess.

The magic lineup hat has begun spitting random bunnies.

***UPDATE*** Of course, right after I hit “publish” I go back to Hammond’s site and see that the 4h line will indeed be Richardson-Schenn-Westgarth.  I’m not smart, I swear.  Murray is just a bit predictable.  Its not like Westgarth took bad penalties in both games or anything…



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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7 replies

  1. I would have thought that perhaps he would have put Loktionov out there on the 4th. I agree with you that the continual tinkering has to be more than a little unsettling for the guys. One because you can’t develop any consistency, and it would lead you to eventually questioning whether or not you were the cause of the change, and he just lacks the stones to tell you to your face. Sooner or later you are going to quit listening to the man. Why go to work that hard for him in practices if he is just going to change the lines after the next game anyway? I hope that they get things on track soon.

  2. This constant tinkering of lines mystifies me. Is this a search for some magical combination(s)? This must be–to some degree–frustrating to the players. I’m not sure why Brown was put with Kopitar and Smyth. We “know” that Kopitar-Smyth-Willaims has worked before but we don’t see this combination, at least not yet.

    I guess we’ll all have to be patient with this again this year…

  3. Now you know why Surly and I came up with a page on this site called “Lineup Card” It seems particularly relevant.

  4. I think tinkering with the lines early in the season is fine. Now’s the time to do that – it’s pretty obvious that there is no scoring dynamism going on right now, on any line, but for the swipes being missed by Schenn. Otherwise I’m still waiting for the first tic-tac-toe goal. After a while the “A” for effort is no consolation. Time to light it up.

    I don’t like rookies on the first line – experience does have it’s advantages over speed and imagination. Veterans know who they’re up against and what to expect from them. Let’s put talent and experience on line one, speed and creativity on two, tenacity and defense on three, and power and energy on four. Old recipe, proven results.

    • I’m fine with tinkering as well. I only express any cause for concern that this is the start of a trend. Tinkering is fine, changing lines frequently and dramatically can go either way. For example I feel our offensive shortcomings thus far rests on the shoulders of individuals and an unwillingness to go to the net, not a result of line combinations.

      I’m very interested to see how they do tonight.

  5. late getting to this..again..but just wanted to say
    I do not like constant line changes. Players usually do better when they get a chance to develop a chemistry on a line. I understand they all need to be able to play as a unit, but set lines for the five on five work best IMHO.

  6. Shane os right…
    Tick Tack Toe GOAL
    That’s what I’m talking about!
    GO KINGS GO!!!

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