I have little patience at the moment and the filter is gone for the purposes of this article.
I despise those that spread rumors. Unfortunately, there are those within the NHL community (and the Kings are no exception) that have individuals who lie or exaggerate to drive traffic to their site or themselves. Attention whores or otherwise, doesn’t matter. They don’t do it for any reason other than all the wrong ones. When I heard that there may be locker room issues with Wayne Simmonds (no, I will not repeat what I have heard because that would be spreading a rumor), I let it go in one ear and out the other. Tonight, I spoke with a good friend, one who has legitimate connections to the team. Hearing that one of our veterans had to have a talk with Wayne sent chills through me because it lends some credibility to the rumor. If some nonsense has recently found its way into the locker room around 5 to 6 games ago, the parties need to get over it and fast. I doubt Lombardi will tolerate it very long. “There is not one jerk in the room” I recall reading his words. Better make sure no jerks grow there Dean because that kind of cancer spreads fast.
It’s a sad statement when a spectator (me) can predict exactly what the Kings will do as they cross the blue line 8 out of 10 times…it’s a pathetic statement on the state of our offensive system when our coach cannot figure out that other teams can as well. When every play over the blue line starts along the boards, the defense only needs back checking forwards to stop the cycle. When every offensive zone cycle starts with a puck down low to high, then you have no offensive system. That is a lack of a system. A one trick pony. If I had any doubts that Terry Murray truly doesn’t give a damn about making adjustments during the game or due to circumstances that present themselves from game to game, it was put to rest with this quote, courtesy of Rich Hammond:
“For me, it’s always been the back end. I try to give that more of a focus. Some coaches want to change the forward lines on the fly, and it works. We saw it the other night, actually, with Chicago. They made a lot of changes on the fly, but our philosophy is more on the back end.”
Your “philosophy” is an antiquated and dusty history book that doesn’t apply to today’s hockey world. Your philosophy is causing you to get outcoached each night. This isn’t 10 to 20 years ago, where matchups were irrelevant, offensive systems were built along the boards because holding, hooking, interference and the like were rarely called, you could “battle” from the boards to the center of the ice and teams relied primarily on two forwards up front with two defensemen back and a forward back to start the zone entry. For the love of God, there hasn’t been a team that won the Cup since the lockout with such a “philosophy”. Murray’s only adjustment has been changing lines. He has offered nothing else…wait, there was an “intense” video session. A friend offered “bag skating” as an option. Not bad. You may think I am being unnecessarily harsh on Murray. I am not. I don’t blame him for this slide but I also don’t believe he has done a damn thing to help the team get out of it.
The problem? Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson have lost their game. Doughty is a lazy and ineffective defenseman who has completely lost his ability to skate with the puck. He has read too many of his own press clippings. Watching him with Martinez out there makes me wonder who is supposed to mentor whom. Jack Johnson cannot stop turning the puck over. I don’t know what is in his head, but he has made some horrible decisions with the puck and too many of them have landed in the back of our net. Lose Mitchell and have our top two defenseman unable to generate offense and play like a couple of rookies on defense, and it’s easy to see why we are self destructing.
Then we get to Kopitar. Snakebitten? Maybe. He is double teamed nearly every time he is out there. Plus, most importantly, he doesn’t have a left wing.
Simmonds. Terrible. Cannot finish and when I see him stop skating over the blue line and coast into the corners and away from the center of the ice on a regular basis, I ask myself why he is playing like he doesn’t give a damn. His quote today to Hammond that “it starts defensively” is insulting. He is the front line. He is Kopitar’s right wing. He is the power forward. It is up to him to get open or draw defensemen to him by getting to the net so either Kopitar can find him in the slot or Anze gets a lane to drive and shoot. He is playing like a fourth line grunt without any offensive upside.
Brownie. No complaints. He is playing his game, even if it is on the left side.
The second line is fine. The problem is that line is all the defenders have to stop to shut the Kings down.
The third and fourth lines…well, when you are looking for offense from there to make up for the lack of it from one and two, you have some big problems.
The Kings are playing like a group of individuals. it’s like a bad all-star team. They don’t attack as a team. They don’t defend as a team. A bunch of loose parts scattered around the ice without synergy.
This sucks. If this slide continues for another 3 to 5 games, you may see a move faster than Lombardi wanted to make it. If this goes through December and into the new year, you may see much more.
Don’t lose hope and never faith.