Terry Murray has been called many things. A mad hatter, mad scientist, crazy, confused, too calm, too panicky, solid, smart, stupid. The list goes on as his personalized adjectives are a result not so much of himself but rather of the team in front of him. They play well, he gets some credit. They play poorly, he generally takes the brunt of the blame.
Point shot mentality is the theme of not only the Kings’ powerplay, but most in the league as well. For some reason, Murray doesn’t realize that the point shots work only when the puck goes from low to high, as evidenced by his quotes to Hammond today. He references Buffalo and the Sharks’ powerplay, but doesn’t seem to get that this is where they both killed the Kings. They worked the puck low, got it high and got quick shots on net. All the Kings do is pass from the top of the circles to the point with no regard to working the puck down low first. But I digress ever so slightly. I will give you the solution to this problem shortly, but first, a word or twelve about the lines.
Much is made of the lines and his musical chairs style of changing them when things don’t go his way.
The lineup card has brought this to the forefront, both in that we see the frequency and often randomness of his line changes but also that we see the same exact lineup can bring great success on one night and steal back all our dividends the next.
Overall, I feel this teaches us the lesson that the lines are not the cog that turns wheel. Individual effort leads to team cohesion and the mental breakdown of one trickles through the rest. These things are what have won and lost the Kings’ games, not the way in which they paired together on any given night.
However, one thing absolutely boggles my mind. It makes me think I am the mad one. It has me wanting to run circles around the world, just to get Murray’s attention in the hopes that he will listen to my screams from the top of my soapbox mountain.
Why have I not seen Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar on the ice this season for anything other than the interim of a line change?
While I just told you the lines themselves do not win or lose us games, the lack of our two best forwards ever playing together has.
I speak not of the lineup, but of the powerplay.
Justin Williams is the Kings’ most creative forward. End of story. There can be no debate here as he has proven this to be true every game of this youngish season.
Anze Kopitar is the Kings best forward. Deadliest shot, biggest body.
I called for Smyth-Kopitar-Williams line before the season. I am content that Stoll center the two veteran wingers. I understand not wanting to screw with a good thing in the Kings second but truly first line.
The powerplay is a different story all together.
We have seen several different looks on the powerplay. Handzus with Kopi and Brown. Simmonds with Smyth and Williams. Brown with Smyth and Williams. Loktionov with Smyth and Kopitar.
We have not once seen Williams and Kopitar. I don’t even care who the third forward is because if these two were to play together with the open ice the man advantage provides, that third forward is merely there to provide a distraction.
For the Kings two best forwards to never play together is a shanda. A shanda is a Yiddish term meaning shame, or scandal. In more specific terms, it can be translated to mean “something that is so egregiously wrong and ridiculous that you have to use an equally ridiculous sounding word to describe the feelings of rage, confusion, irritation, shock, disbelief and injustice you feel bubbling up inside your skin and ready to explode outwards in acid that will burn the faces of anyone near you lest it first implode and suck your being into a vortex so infinitesimally small and dense that the most powerful microscope could not perceive the thing which will soon consume the entire world.”
A shorter, more colloquial way of saying it would be to simply ask,
“What the fuck?”
So lets go with that. Terry Murray, what the fuck?
What the fuck is so hard about pairing your deadliest player with your most creative forward?
Why the fuck aren’t Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams playing together on the powerplay?
When the fuck will I get to see Williams’ skill in tight spaces lend itself to Kopitar’s ability to back off defenseman and shoot?
Who the fuck needs to tell you this to get you to realize you have a bottle of lightning sitting in front of you that despite how often you insist on uncapping it, continues to put itself back in captivity, waiting to be utilized?
Where the fuck did your sense go?
I am starting to feel like the crazy one. Obviously Terry Murray knows more about hockey than I do. Clearly he has done more to earn the trust of the hockey world. He definitely has done some tremendous things for this Kings’ team.
But people are not infallible. Terry Murray, for all his line changes and seemingly insane schemes, has somehow managed to overlook this very, very simple solution.
Is it a guarantee that it will work? Well, no.
Is insanity doing the same thing continuously and expecting different results? Einstein thought so.
So is there one reason under the sun and the stars to NOT put Williams and Kopitar together on the powerplay?
You tell me.