First, the LA Times article that contains an interview with Terry Murray about an explanation of Teddy Purcell’s post L.A. Kings’ success: Helene Elliott talks Teddy…it’s nice to have someone like Helene who has the courage to ask the tough questions.

Now, my comments after I allowed myself to calm down.

I asked Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi for his thoughts on Purcell’s feats with the Lightning, but Lombardi forwarded my request to Coach Terry Murray, who was kind enough to call from his offseason home in Maine.

Why would Dean Lombardi deflect the interview? Helene wanted to hear from the guy who traded him. Murray didn’t trade him though, in my opinion, he was a big part of Teddy’s lack of success here. This bothers me but if I am going to be objectively critical, it also tells me Lombardi didn’t want to talk about the subject which, naturally, fuels more questions…for now, I will keep those to myself.

“I think that’s always tough to answer anytime you see a player moved and he finds a way to get it done, and Teddy has fallen into that category,” Murray said. “Sometimes it’s a change of scenery. Sometimes it’s a change of team and circumstances for a young player.”

He concedes Teddy’s success. Change of scenery and change of team is the same statement. Change of “circumstances” is pretty broad. What circumstances? System?

“It just didn’t happen for Teddy with the L.A. Kings. There were long stretches he went without scoring — he went 25 or 30 games between scoring goals. Sometimes it takes a change to deal with it emotionally. As an individual, you’re constantly trying to push yourself. It looks like he’s starting to sort that part out.”

Yeah, he already said that. This is saying “change of scenery and change of circumstances” all over again. He also adds the emotional part and he is right. In hockey, as in life, one learns from failure.

“You look at the two goals he scored [in Game 6]. One was right off a faceoff, and he took a shot that went in, and the other was on the power play from the far side. We put him in all those situations. He just wasn’t able to get the job done.”

Bull &*^%^&*…but I digress. More on this later.

Murray said that in a case like this, “you always think maybe you could have done something different,” but said he gave Purcell ample chances to produce. Purcell did have Anze Kopitar as his center sometimes and also played alongside Michal Handzus and Wayne Simmonds. “He was on our power play every game,” Murray said. “There was a lot of opportunity for him to find his game and important minutes, critical minutes, to do what he’s doing now.

I was angry when I read the bolded part. That is a flat out lie. After I pulled the stats, I noticed my colleague Quisp already covered the topic and I could not have written it any better. From Jewels from the Crown:

Out of the 13 Kings forwards who EVER got a regular shift on the power-play,Teddy Purcell was 12th in terms of power-play ice-time per game. The only player who got less ice-time per game was Oscar Moller. Purcell got 1:32 per game, on a team that had 5:59 power-play time per game. So, on average, he was out there about 25% of the time. That’s not even “second-unit” minutes.

This is what pisses me off about Terry Murray. This revisionist history is nothing new for him. It’s the same garbage we hear about Alexei Ponikarovsky and Wayne Simmonds’ diminished offensive numbers falling 100% on them despite ample “opportunity” according to Murray, even though he consistently places them in defensive / shut down roles against the opposing team’s top lines. It’s maddening.

“Should we have stayed with him longer? I guess so, but we were trying to find secondary scoring. Scott Parse had the same good hands and more speed and grit to his game. … At the end of the day, Scott Parse fit better for us, though it was unfortunate he missed the whole year with his hip labrum [injury].”

Scott Parse is not a checking line forward, coach. If you expect him to play your half boards cycling style that suffocates speed and creativity, Scott Parse isn’t your huckleberry either. He is your new excuse.

Categories: L.A. Kings News

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19 replies

  1. Give the coach a break. He’s returning Helene’s call FROM HIS HOME when he’s frankly not obligated to talk to anyone. I doubt he researched his stats on Teddy before commenting and is making some general observations based on memory. Did Purcell get PP time? Yes. Did he get critical minutes on occasion with star players? Yes. Is Anze Kopitar Vinny LaCavalier or Marty St. Louis? No. Did he get it done? No. Could we have waited longer to pull the trigger? Yes. Who made the decision to pull the trigger? DL. Rather than bashing Coach Murray, let’s take Deano to task for being unwilling to accept responsibility for a decision HE made., at least publicly.

    Is the more likely answer that Teddy Purcell wasn’t the best fit for the Murray/Lombardi “defense first” system? YES. As long as we operate under the assumption that EVERY player has to be equally effective on both side of the puck, we’ll never have a true scoring “sniper.” Defense is not what they do, at least not principally.

    Hindsight is always 20-20, so it’s ridiculous to spent too much time looking at these decisions in the rear view mirror. Let’s move forward and get on with it.

    • If this was an isolated incident, you would be correct. It isn’t.

      This is the third young player in three seasons we have given up on in large part because said player could not succeed under Terry Murray. As such, I will not give him any break and I will primarily not do so to bring to the light these salient facts in the hopes that if enough people talk about it (including Helene who has the greatest voice here), perhaps Lombardi will pay attention to the person he has trusted behind the bench.

      It’s easy to look the other way and say, let’s move on, but that is exactly how incompetence festers. Ignore the problem, fail to address it, and look forward to the same ones in a different setting.

      Do you want to see Vey, Kozun, Toffoli, etc. also be sent to other teams because their offensive skills don’t translate to this team? I don’t because this team has already been set back years by our coach through the loss of Moulson (a 30 goal scoring LEFT WING), Boyle (a 20 goal scoring, big skilled CENTER) and now Purcell. Enough.

      As for Lombardi, he gets the blame for hiring and trusting this coach whose history speaks volumes about why he didn’t “fit” here or in any NHL team that intends to succeed in the post lock out era and for allowing him to bring a system that is not shared by A SINGLE other playoff team, not one. He has been taken to task for bringing in this dinosaur and will continue to be, hopefully by each and every Kings’ fan and media who has a voice to do so.

  2. Refer to the second paragraph of my comment. The “system” is exactly the point, and you and I are in agreement that it’s a problem. Defensively sound is one thing, but defense only with no offensive explosiveness or creativity of any kind IS a problem.

    I agree with your comments on Moulson. I have trouble putting Boyle in that same category, only because he was far from an instant impact player for the Rangers. It took him a couple of seasons and almost being sent down to the minors to find his game. Respect that not every team has the time or the money the Rangers do to wait around for something to happen.

    And Helene Elliot is far from the only intelligent voice covering the Los Angeles Kings. I personally find her coverage of the team one sided and negative, but that’s a different argument for another day.

    • I don’t understand. You want to give it a rest but you agree that Murray is the problem. So, you don’t want to speak out about it? Is that why you have an issue with the article? If so, let me disagree with you further. I am not a casual observer of this team. Neither are you. The day I can look the other way when I see poor decisions have a present and predictably future impact on my team and no sign of the team addressing the cause for those mistakes is the day I stop being a fan. That day won’t come. Not for me, and it should not for you.

      As a side note, Helene is the best at what she does. She is not negative nor one sided. She is not afraid to utter that the emperor has no clothes and also praise him when he does something right. She has done both objectively. Just because people don’t want to hear the former doesn’t make her coverage any less relevant.

  3. I take the same stand, although I’m in the minority. I don’t hold DL responsible for collecting youth that can score, but to some degree agree that is his choice who tends to that youth.

    Looking back in hindsight doesn’t apply all the time, but in this case, looking back can give you an insight into where your having trouble developing. Regrets are going to happen every once in a while.

    If the problem was a defensemen here, or a winger there, no big deal. The problem has one common theme. The guys let go (that are under question), and under developed were scorers. Not just any scorers, but offensive minded scorers, who do not play a 2 way game. I believe Moller could be added to that list as well (he just hasn’t had a chance to play for another NHL team yet).

    With more players coming in who are offensive minded players, the question of whether, or not, TM is the proper man for the job. I’ve had those who believe he is just as offensive as defensive, but I find that pill hard to swallow.

    He could open it up this season (we’ll see) and show everybody, but I believe he is concentrating to hard on defense. This concentration is the core reason why were losing scorers in devlopement, and not grinders, and defensemen.

    PP coach sucks regardless, but the Goalie coach is absolutely awesome.

  4. All I’m saying is move forward and fix it, rather than worrying about lost opportunities with players long gone. And the problem is more than Terry Murray, as I’m sure you would agree.

    And by the absence of a counterpoint comment, I’ll assume you agree with me about Boyle ;)

    • There is no signs ahead of the problem being fixed. Murray is still coaching this team. Until that changes or he changes (don’t hold the proverbial breath), this will keep happening. As such, it is incumbent upon us to keep talking about it.

      …and I don’t agree with you on Boyle…so there…

  5. You look at the two goals he scored [in Game 6]. One was right off a faceoff, and he took a shot that went in, and the other was on the power play from the far side. We put him in all those situations. He just wasn’t able to get the job done.

    … During Purcell’s 27-game goalless streak in 09-10, Purcell saw fewer than ten minutes of ice time in 12 of those games, and fewer than 11 minutes of ice time in 15 (over half) of them. So, I have a hard time believing that Purcell was in those sorts of situations with any type of regularity.

    But … whatever. The discussion is going to go on and on and on with the players that the Kings have cast aside. Terry Murray sounds exactly like those online who say “well, Purcell received opportunity after opportunity and didn’t do squat”, and the same simple (and incorrect) explanation is often used in Moulson’s case as well. It’s like fighting the tide to combat that mindset on message boards and other sites.

    • Well written. The fact TM echoes those sentiments is disconcerting. It speaks of denial or deception. Hopefully, it’s just firmly entrenched myopia. I don’t like to assume that our coach is deliberately falsifying facts that he knows to be untrue although I struggle to find the basis for his statements that, on their face, were so blatantly incorrect.

  6. Meg,
    I used to look in from time to time on your website, but lost the link when I upgraded to a new computer. Post your link for me.

  7. FYI folks, I sent an en email to Hammond a few days ago, underlining the fact Teddy P deserved at least a couple lines in his blog. No answer.

  8. Write this article right after Purcell was traded. Now its 20/20 hindsight.

    • Well, I wrote this article to use your words before he was traded. Some of us saw this coming, as we did with Moulson. I will let you in on a prediction you may already know. So long as Murray coaches this team, it won’t end with Purcell.

  9. Wow this is somewhat heated. First, regarding Purcell, recall that at the time he was competing for left wing with Williams, Brown and Simmonds for a spot. At the time, the others were better choices. Should the organization been more patient with Purcell, given him more time to mature, more ice time etc? We know now the answer is yes. Okay, but you have to move on.

    I guess at least a critical mass of us feel that TM is not the best coach for this team. I respect what he has done, but at this point I feel that way too…

    • ooops I meant “right wing”

    • If you think about it, had we kept him, it still would not have worked with TM as coach. The practical fact is he would have been gone regardless, just like one or more of Kozun, Vey, or Toffoli will likely go if TM is still coach. Lombardi has placed himself in a difficult position. He already blew it once with Crawford. If he fires Murray, that will be his second coaching failure in 5+ seasons. I know he is a smart GM, he must be watching these playoffs and thinking, Jesus, we don’t resemble any of these teams in system or execution but to fire Murray now would cause his critics to have a field day and it will only call into question his own competence. The only way this is fixed is if the Kings have a good season and get past the first round. Absent that, we may be seeing the end of both our GM and coach and that would suck. I like Dean. He just can’t pick a coach to save his life.

  10. Murray is a fool. It took him 3 years and one of the most embarrassing losses in Stanley Cup Playoff history to learn how to properly utilize the timeout… He doesn’t belong in the modern NHL.

  11. Hey, what’s with all the doubting of a man we already shamed by booing him after he coached “over 3,000 NHL games”???

    Have you no decency?



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