I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING…

…and I feel your pain. But take a moment and reflect. The team before you is the same core as last season. It still lacks a sniper. Sturm? Come on. How many shots sailed high and over the net? How many went wide? It still misses a top four defenseman. It continues to struggle with inconsistent top two lines. It still misses the consistent necessary component on the left wing of the third. Why?

First, Willie Mitchell. Two of those goals you saw tonight (one by Hossa and the other by Doughty off Toews’ skate / leg) don’t happen with Willie Mitchell on this team. The Kings’ penalty kill shuts down the Hawks with Willie Mitchell guarding the crease. He is the glue to our defense. He balances out the top four with his intelligence, puck management and stick handling. He frees Jack and Drew (whomever he is paired with) to play their offensive game. He puts Matt Greene where Matt is best fitted, as a number 5, not a 4. I can hear you asking…so, you’re saying we win all of these games with Mitchell? No. Darryl Evans made the same mistake in response to my comments on Kings’ talk tonight. What I am saying is that we don’t go on these losing streaks with Willie. We win the majority of the 1 goal games. We don’t let those terrible goals against at critical times. Look at the Kings’ record with Willie. Look at the Kings’ record without him. Most of all, look at how we dominated and suffocated high scoring opponents with him in the lineup. If you avoid the losing streaks, you win more consistently and you hold your position in the top 6 of the conference while others fall.

Then we come to Ponikarovsky. This one is easier. He allows Terry Murray to run four lines. Without him, we have to count on players like Westgarth to play a game to which they are not built or accustomed. Without him, we rely too much on the youth of this team in the bottom nine. He isn’t the catalyst like Mitchell is to his position but he is the depth that we so lacked last season with an inconsistent Frolov and is perfectly situated with his veteran experience, size and speed to play on Handzus’ left side.

So, before you lash out at the moronic first penalty call against Rob Scuderi (which nearly had me plotting that zebra’s death), the head shaking Wayne Simmonds turnover, the freedom with which Hossa skated to the net and scored or the blood curdling Doughty clearing attempt that hit the progressively uglier and befitting punk status Jonathan Toews, keep in mind that the margin between winning and losing is very small in this league and the two pieces missing from the lineup are that very margin.

Then again, it may be easier to scream, “injuries are no excuse!” and go nuts. Hey, whatever works.

Surly is fit to be tied. I don’t blame him. I was so upset after the San Jose loss, I decided it best that I not write anything for concern that the article may read more like an explosion than prose. Eventually though, we all have to calm down, analyze and reflect. Do the same. Tell me where your mind settles.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

12 replies

  1. I couldn’t agree more about missing the two big off-season moves. With those guys playing, Lombardi looks like a genius. With them out, the team looks flat and is having to work way to hard to overcome the all too common mistakes. The two bad luck goals tonight are going to happen. But this was yet another close game that got away from the Kings.
    Lets look instead at the Power Play unit… making way too many passes, and taking all of the shots from way out on point. Look at the last three games and the majority of shots were taken by Stoll or Johnson or Doughty from way outside. The majority of those shots aren’t getting through on goal, and a lot of them sail wide. Not a big deal, but this team is not creating passes that get the shooter down low.
    Look at the PK goal that the Hawks scored tonight. VS did an awesome piece showing how Stoll was out of position, which created the pass across the ice and allowed the shooter a wide open net to shoot at. The last goal we got came from a similar position, with Kopi shooting from the outside but much closer. But that piece showed another problem that has been obvious recently. Defensive gaps have been exploited and far too often it is the forwards not covering their man. Stoll’s lapse tonight was a prime example. Poor Drewiske had to try to knock down not one (he did hit and stop the progress of the guy with the puck) but two offensive players after the Simmonds/Martinez turnover. So now its what, 2 on 1 at best? That turnover was also about someone else being out of position.
    So there are things to look forward to, namely the return of Poni and Willi, but there are a lot of things we could work on and improve on in the meantime, while they work themselves back into the mx.

    • This is true but then again if we expect the forwards to play lights out defense and lights out offense each night, we are in trouble. Chicago made their share of turnovers tonight. The difference was the Kings did not capitalize on them. After Kopitar and Stoll combined sent a 7th shot over the net from prime scoring area, all I could do was close my eyes and put my head back to calm down. When the two centers of our respective top two lines don’t execute and our bottom nine is disabled with Westgarth and missing Poni, we get games like this. When our defensemen are unable to keep opposing forwards from crashing our net with ease, we get the Hossa goal. I am not overly concerned about Stoll’s turnover. S*** happens. I am far more concerned about whether this team has the skill and depth necessary to win consistently without Mitchell and Poni.

  2. This was hard to watch. I fuckin hate Versus.

    The Kings certainly could have won. There were some bad bouces. The better teams will make you pay for mistakes and the Hawks did that. More aggressive offense may have helped. You are right that Willie M. could have been a factor.

    Depth remains an issue.

    However, would hope that this losing streak ends soon. Getting hard to watch…

  3. I don’t necessarily think we can’t win a Cup without a true sniper. If Mitchell is healthy and we had a true second line center then we’re talking. Now, Dallas has been great so Richards won’t be available but there’s a guy who could put us over the edge. And, if Mitchell continues to go down every few games, Lombardi needs to think about another defenseman for the playoffs (or sooner).

    • I am not sure we are going to find a sniper (a legit one, not of the Sturm type) until the offseason. The one that immediately comes to mind who will be a UFA is Semin. I agree regarding Dallas. Richards’ trade value isn’t that high because he is a UFA and Dallas letting him go while in a playoff hunt (and out front) would tell all of their fans, “we don’t care about winning”. Regarding another defenseman, Keith, I have tried to keep my head from going there. I want to believe Mitchell is coming back soon but the cloak and dagger crap from the team regarding his injury or injuries makes me wonder if we are all being played for fools and his injury is serious.

      • My point on the sniper is that you don’t necessarily need one. I agree, Sturm is not the answer. But, unless Lombardi plans on Schenn stepping into that second-line role next year (even then, he’s still pretty green), grabbing one could make us contend. We’d just have to pay through the nose.

        If Mitchell is healthy down the stretch and into the playoffs he was worth the investment. I love the guy. Great character and solid player. That said, I’ve always been a fan of being over-insured. :)

  4. I actually like Versus … they dedicate an enormous amount of resources to the NHL and (unlike ESPN) can pronounce players names.

    Great article.

  5. It appeared to me (from section 114) that on our 1st power play we had a different scheme: 2Ds at the blueline near the boards with a high center — that piece is normal. But for that one powerplay, we stacked the 2 wings in front of the crease: 1 at the edge of the blue paint, 1 just before the hash marks. both in line with the center of the net.I thought it was dynamite. Not because it might work, but simply because it said we were going to try something different than 37 passes followed by a 1 timer high and wide. It forced Chicago to essentially man cover those 2.

    But it was only on that 1st PP.

    I’d love to see more of that mentality — changing things up once in a while to shake off the predictability we currently carry on with.

  6. I agree that watching our Kings on Versus is not my thing.. Really miss our Guys Bobby and Foxie .. and the replay analysis.. etc..
    Scribe.. good write on the game.. hopefully those same points on our obivious mistakes are being talked about and addressed at practice.. as always
    GO KINGS GO !!!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,083 other followers

%d bloggers like this: