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.