The Kings, as a team, coaching staff and franchise have a choice to make. This is adversity. It’s pain. It’s pressure. There are only two things that happen under pressure. You focus or you fold. Winners focus. Everyone else folds.
The Kings are not a team. They are currently and have continued to be a group of individuals who look like they are still getting used to playing with each other. That falls squarely on Terry Murray’s shoulders. I don’t expect a coach to play the game for the players. I do expect a coach to bring a unity of vision, purpose and a clearly defined system that plays to the team’s strengths throughout the game. I see no such thing. I see a broken system that the players are apparently incapable of following for a full 60 minutes the moment adversity strikes or adjustments need to be made. Disregard the absurdly predictable offense and pre-lockout strategy. As much as it aggravates me to watch from section 119 and know exactly what the Kings are going to do with the puck 7 out of 10 times the moment they cross over center ice, the problem is this “system” has no adaptability. Today, while the Kings were amidst another cycle, I mouthed several times in the offensive zone where the puck was going before the pass was there. That’s frightening. Do you know why we are getting double teamed along the half boards and cannot find lanes from the point? Because the opposition knows too.
I see Dustin Brown playing like it’s his second year, as if going around and hitting people is the end game. I see Anze Kopitar look like a rookie, still afraid to shoot the puck and unwilling to use his God given skill to help this team. Justin Williams looks like he is on vacation. Michael Handzus is playing like he aged 3 years over the summer. I don’t recognize number 8. Whoever he is needs to give Drew Doughty his jersey back. I didn’t realize we drafted an above average defensemen who can log minutes but otherwise brings little to either end of the ice as the second overall behind Steven Stamkos who is lighting up the league. If he is closing too many Manhattan Beach bars after hours and can’t keep his focus, it is incumbent on the coach to tell Drew and the rest of the team that there is such a thing as accountability and it applies across the board.
The Kings are failing as a team because they are not playing as a team. They have little to no finish when they get opportunities. They are unable to hold a lead, one goal, two, doesn’t seem to matter. They range within a matter of one period to another from good to awful and most importantly they do this night in and night out. I expect turnovers here and there. Mistakes happen. But mistakes that happen constantly, each game, and generally from the same group are no longer mistakes. It’s incompetence.
I don’t have the solutions. Neither do you. We see with our eyes a team we don’t recognize. We don’t get paid to figure this out. Terry Murray does. John Steven does. Dean Lombardi does. Lombardi gets paid a nice seven figure salary per year to make sure the team on the ice gets better each season and within a reasonable time is competing for the Cup. Look around boys and girls. We’re still competing for a damn playoff spot.