A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO JUDGING TERRY MURRAY AND HIS “SYSTEM”

Guest writer, J.T. Dutch brings us his view on Terry Murray and the “system” of which I often write. J.T., in many respects, disagrees with me and I look forward to engaging him in dialogue on the subject as I hope you do as well.

At some point, enough is enough.  I’ve heard so many complaints and so many grievances about the Kings’ lack of offense in the recently completed season, and the men who are held most responsible for that “offensive” offense – Terry Murray and Jamie Kompon.  99% of the complaints are completely subjective, not tied together with any analysis or fact-checking, and seem to be written more to garner a laugh or two than to actually get to the heart of the issue.  Most of the dissatisfaction seems to also be far more concerned with the manner in which offense is achieved, rather than the results – the Kings “don’t try backdoor plays” often enough, some say.  Others wonder why there aren’t any “tic tac toe” passing plays made in the offensive zone.  Which, of course, begs the question – is the object to win games and outscore the opposition, or is it to garner style points and provide ESPN with more highlight fodder?

Now, I will say right off the bat that personally, I am not particularly a fan of Terry Murray.  I’ll say flat out that he doesn’t seem to know how to handle goaltenders properly, that it’s like pulling teeth for him to give an unheralded young player much of a chance to see if he can raise his level of ability, and that his overall player deployment leaves quite a bit to be desired.  But – is it fair to say that his system and his hockey philosophy is poor, as well?  It’s a tough question.  But when I read something on this very site that the Kings’ system is “the elephant in the room”, I feel compelled to respond.  I’ve never believed that a hardcore and knowledgeable fan will ever be completely satisfied with his team’s head coach – that just goes with the territory.  But what I try to do, and what I will try to do here, is to look at what’s been done as objectively as I can … and that what I will show is completely based on results.  It’s cold and hard, it’s not easily understood, but it is unbiased.  I’m not comfortable approaching this in any other way.

I think that if we are to truly analyze Murray’s tenure here with the Kings, we have to start at the beginning – specifically, the state of the team before he arrived.  In 07-08, the Kings were terrible.  Their record, without the shootout, was 27-47-8.  They gave up the third-most total shots in the NHL per game that season, as well as the third-most total goals per game.  Their PK was abysmal; an absolute mess.

07-08 Kings defense, 5-on-5: 33.1 shots against per 60 minutes (NHL Avg: 30.0), 2.72 goals against per 60 (Avg: 2.19), .918 save percentage (Avg: .927)

07-08 Kings defense, PK60.5 shots against per 60 (worst in the NHL by far, next highest was 55.1, average was 49.3), 8.32 goals against per 60 (worst in the NHL, Avg: 6.56), .863 save pct. (Avg: .867)

Now, most fans might have already known this.  What might not be known is that the Kings’ offense was actually below average on the PP, and average otherwise:

07-08 Kings PP: 6.23 goals per 60 (average was 6.56), 50.3 shots per 60 (Avg: 49.3), 12.4% shooting pct. (Avg: 13.3%)

07-08 Kings 5-on-5: 2.19 goals per 60 (Avg: 2.19), 28.5 shots per 60 (Avg: 30.0), 7.7% shooting pct. (Avg: 7.3%)

So, with an offense that was average at best and a VERY poor defense, the Kings looked to Murray to show them the way back to respectability.  And, it is not hyperbole to say that in most aspects of this requirement, Murray couldn’t have done a better job in his first season at the helm.

08-09 Kings defense, 5-on-5: 29.3 shots against per 60 (Avg: 30.9), 2.21 goals against per 60 (Avg: 2.27), .925 save pct.  (Avg: .926)

08-09 Kings defense, PK: 44.9 shots against per 60 (2nd in the NHL; average was 53.1), 6.12 goals against per 60 (Avg:  7.05), .864 save pct. (Avg.:  .867)

I bolded the shots against on the PK for both 07-08 and 08-09 to highlight the huge change from one season to the next.  The Kings went from the highest rate of shots allowed on the PK, by far, to the second lowest – shaving off almost 15 shots (and more than two goals) per 60 minutes.  They did this with nearly the exact same quality of goaltending that they had on the PK the season before.  Remember, this is before the days of Rob Scuderi and Willie Mitchell in Kings’ gear.  It’s an incredible feat, and it warrants mention.

As for the Kings’ offense in 08-09, obviously it suffered at even strength as the Kings turned their focus toward playing better defense.  But what most forget is that the PP, led by Alex Frolov and Jarret Stoll (and Murray and Kompon) actually improved from the previous season, and was above-average in the context of the league:

08-09 Kings PP: 7.13 goals per 60 (Avg: 7.05), 52.6 shots per 60 (Avg:  53.1), 13.6% shooting pct. (Avg:  13.3%)

08-09 Kings 5-on-5: 1.81 goals per 60 (last in the NHL, Avg: 2.27), 29.8 shots per 60 (Avg: 30.9), 6.1% shooting pct. (Avg: 7.4%)

In 09-10, Murray’s second season, the Kings were able to improve their defense at even strength, but saw their effectiveness on the PK decline significantly – this decline was mostly due to their rotten goaltending in those situations:

09-10 Kings defense, 5-on-5: 27.8 shots against per 60 (Avg: 30.9), 2.04 goals against per 60 (Avg: 2.29), .927 save pct. (Avg: .926)

09-10 Kings defense, PK: 49.7 shots against per 60 (Avg: 53.0), 7.19 goals against per 60 (Avg: 6.72), .855 save pct. (Avg:  .873)

And, for those with short memories, the Kings’ offense was anything but anemic in 09-10, as they were 9th in the NHL in total goals.  The Kings’ acquisition of Ryan Smyth helped, but it was the improvement of nearly every key offensive player that accounted for their overall rise in production.  A little luck might have helped the PP along, as the Kings’ had an abnormally high shooting percentage in those situations.  At 5-on-5, the Kings were still below average offensively, but their offense did improve from the previous season despite posting slightly fewer shots on goal – again, this was due to better shooting percentages:

09-10 Kings PP: 7.86 goals per 60 (6th in the NHL, Avg: 6.72), 53.9 shots per 60 (Avg:  53.0), 14.6% shooting pct. (2ND BEST in the NHL, Avg: 12.7%)

09-10, Kings 5-on-5: 2.19 goals per 60 (Avg: 2.29), 29.4 shots per 60 (Avg:  30.9), 7.4% shooting pct. (Avg: 7.4%)

This brings us to the present day.  And, while the Kings’ PK was seemingly better than ever, the main reason for the rise in that department was the resurgence of their goaltenders playing more effective down a man.  However, the Kings saw their defense look a bit less impressive 5-on-5 (although it was still good), and their goaltending has continued to hold at merely average in those spots:

10-11 Kings defense, 5-on-5: 28.6 shots against per 60 (Avg: 31.0), 2.11 goals against per 60 (Avg:  2.25), .926 save pct. (Avg: .927)

10-11 Kings defense, PK: 49.3 shots against per 60 (Avg:  52.3), 5.28 goals against per 60 (Avg:  6.57),  .893 save pct. (Avg:  .874)

So, now we come to the offense.  And, for the third straight season, the Kings improved their 5-on-5 scoring, although less dramatically this season than they did last.  And, as for the PP, their shots on goal DID decline, but what really did the Kings in was a poor shooting percentage, exactly the reason for their success the season before:

10-11 Kings PP: 5.64 goals per 60 (Avg:  6.57), 51.3 shots per 60 (Avg:  52.3), 11.0% shooting pct. (tied for 26th in the NHL; Avg:  12.6%)

10-11 Kings 5-on-5: 2.21 goals per 60 (Avg:  2.25), 28.6 shots per 60 (Avg:  31.0), 7.6% shooting pct. (Avg:  7.3%)

Enough numbers for you?  I promised I’d do this systematically.

It’s a losing battle, in my view, to say that the Kings materially altered their game plan from last season to this one.  I haven’t seen it.  And, they’ve continued to improve their offense when they’re not on the power play, although it’s still slightly below NHL average.

So, what happened on the PP this season was the culprit behind their overall offensive decline.

Did they run a bunch of backdoor plays and pretty cross passes on the PP last season?

Nope.

So why the massive decrease in shooting percentages?  Is it merely attributable to luck – perhaps rebounds just didn’t go the Kings’ way as they had before?  Perhaps the goalies were better against them?  Is that the fault of the system?  This season was the first in the Murray Era where the Kings’ PP wasn’t above average.  Did they just forget how to run it?  Not likely.  It might have been just the breaks of the game.

Murray is a defensive coach.  We all know this.  He has been solid at this aspect of the game, from an overall team standpoint.  The Kings are far more above-average on defense than they are below-average on offense. However, the reason the Kings’ PK was so impressive in 10-11 might have been the reason that their PP was so bad, when you think about it:  low shooting percentages.  The Kings’ goalies were excellent on the PK this season, yet they have been decidedly and consistently average at 5-on-5 for the last three years.  Were the goalies just lucky on the PK?  How come the success they had on the PK didn’t translate over to even strength?

Now, think about what Willie Mitchell said.  “You can give up two goals against and lose a game and, for us to be successful, we have to hold a team to two and under to give ourselves a chance to win a lot of nights.”  Well, isn’t that obvious? The cutoff between winning and losing has been three goals for almost 15 years now.  Of course, the Kings have to hold opposing teams to two and under to have a chance to win; that’s the idea for every team in the NHL.  Look at the goals-against averages throughout the league.  The best was exactly two (Tim Thomas), the worst were hovering around the three mark.  This isn’t news, is it?  Unless and until the Kings have better than average goaltending at 5-on-5, the Kings are going to have to play a defensive-based system to keep their opponents’ scoring at a reasonable enough level.  That’s just the way it is.  And this is what Murray was hired to do.  Regardless of the way he handles the other aspects of his position, his primary mandate was to keep the goals-against down at the start, and to maintain that while steadily bringing offense into play.  And that, whether you like it or not, is exactly what he is doing.



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17 replies

  1. Lateral passing, one timers, getting the puck to the high percentage shooting areas is not just pretty. It’s effective. Every single NHL playoff team plays the game with a systematic design to get the puck to the center of the ice. Even Nashville, touted as a defensive minded team, used its speed and often set up in the offensive zone and, when the Ducks’ D scrambled, used the lateral pass to force the goalie to move lateral. Look at their goals against Vancouver. Where did they come from? Better yet, look at the goals San Jose scored against us. Jesus, if it wasn’t 75% lateral passing that forced Quick to move left or right and ended up in the back of our net.

    This simply does not exist in Murray’s system. It’s not even an option. TM has our boys programmed so well that each time they cross the blue line, they try and make the same play – each time, without exception. That play is getting the puck to the half boards, down low or to the point, the latter being the ultimate goal because that is where the shots on goal come from – often through sticks, legs and bodies, come hell or iced water (the cliche high water seemed odd here).

    That is why we are 24th in offense. That is why, despite a talented team, we could rarely muster more than 2 goals per game.

    I don’t mind the boards play, I don’t even oppose the cycling and getting the passes to the point men. Many teams cycle and the point shot with traffic in front is a long and time honored way of scoring the dirty goals. But, for that to be the ENTIRE offensive scheme is short sighted although expected from a coach like Murray. It is why I disliked the hiring from day 1 and proclaimed it so from day 1. I feared what we were getting and we got it. Give Terry Murray tremendous credit for the Kings’ defense and his development of Kopitar into a two way player. Give him his share of the blame for a system that simply doesn’t fit into today’s game, not if the Kings intend to, using Lombardi’s words, “play with the big boys”

  2. Why would any skilled offensive player, who can skate fast, with good hands choose to play for Terry murray? As a free-agent why choose this team? Thats the real question. Why would you want to play in this “system?”

    What offensive player is the prototypical TM player? I’ll give you a clue. Those kind of players don’t score 100 points in a season and they don’t score 50 goals, and so far they don’t win cups. His system works to shackle talented/creative players by forcing them to the boards so they can attempt to score with their backs to the net and their chins on the glass the whole game.

    I loved watching Williams/Stoll/Smyth at the beginning of the season cycling their way to lots of goals, but around December the league caught up with them (that and injuries) and knew what they were up to. Its lame to incorporate a system that treats every play, every line, every player the same and requires the same positioning. A second line that spends its time grinding out goals is beneficial to be sure, but where is the scary scoring line? They have the talent, but its wasted with TM. Instead talent is forced to the fringes.

    The San Jose series was the penultimate example of what watching lots of tape can do for you. The Kings spent their time swarming the puck carrier on defense, ignoring every other player on the ice, especially trailers that would score easily. The by-product of this aggressive style was the Kings had no answer on offense. Their system isn’t dynamic enough to score bunches of goals and push teams back on their heals. Instead, the Kings are stationary in the offensive zone and hope for a deflection on a bad angled shot.

    Face it. There really is no offensive system, there is no creativity (ehem…power play for example) its simply an overall defensive style that focuses on puck possession. Thats fine, just don’t get two goals down. If you do. You’re dead.

  3. Wow J.T.,
    Enough is enough. 5 on 5 Murray has only once been better than average at generating offense in his last 6 campaings when you stack him up to the rest of the league.

    98′-99’……..8th……….SF 13th
    99′-00’……..18th……..SF 17th
    00′-01………28th……..SF 21rst
    Fired
    08′-09………30th……..SF 17th
    09′-10’………19th…….SF 22nd
    10′-11’………17th…….SF 23rd

    There’s nothing wrong with looking at the process because the shot totals are going down, and the shot selections are getting more predictable.

    Power play has suffered because of this predictability. Also the PP had good totals from last season, but saw extreme drouts all season long (for instance going 0 for 25, then getting 5 out of 12, before going 0 for 10 again. Yes the numbers were OK as a whole, but the offense was concentrated in one small time span at a time) .

    Those drouts mannifested themselves this season in longer drouts, which exposed the Kings PP for what it truely was. The Kings playoff numbers were really good which added to those skewed numbers, but that was more Vancouver just sucking on the PK, and our numbers getting a real big boost because of it.

    Frolov leaving also hurt the PP because he basically did the same thing as Kopi from the left side, which gave us a 2 pronged attack from both sides, with deadly D-men at the point. Without a quarterback on the left side it made it easy to isolate the pointshot, or Kopi. That isolation also manifested itself in more blocked shots from the point, and more misses high and wide, as the opposition became more agressive challenging the points.

    Scoring for defensemen was down, but replacing Jones for Martinez, and Mitchell for O’Donell should of made the numbers go up. It didn’t. All in all trying to look at the process helps to understand why things seem better statisticly, when they should be better.

    I would like to note that I’m not personally advocating firing TM, just asking for change. Some are asking for a firing because TM won’t.

    • I suck at typing! Should be OD for Mitchell, and “when they should be better” should read “when they aren’t system wise”.

    • Enough is enough. 5 on 5 Murray has only once been better than average at generating offense in his last 6 campaings when you stack him up to the rest of the league.

      … I understand that, but he wasn’t brought in to be an offensive-minded coach. What did you expect, here – Glen Sather? This isn’t his style. The Kings needed defense when Murray was brought in, and he’s given the team that in spades, as well as improving the team’s 5-on-5 offense by small increments over the last couple seasons. The Kings have outscored their opposition at even strength and on the power play despite very average goaltending because of those improvements Murray has been directly (or indirectly) involved with to the defense AND the offense. The Kings’ shot totals might be going down, but the Kings have out-shot their opponents at even strength as well as on the power play every season Murray has been here. I’d rather my team have it that way than the other way around.

      If we still had an offensive-minded coach here, I’m sure there would be incessant crying over how bad the defense and the goaltending is, relative to the perceived talent of the players in those roles. I’m of the mind that Murray is an average coach – no more, no less – and I also am of the mind that 75-80% of all head coaches in the NHL fall into this category. The Kings got what they paid for, in that regard.

      The Kings scored at a higher rate 5-on-5 than the Capitals did this season. Are you going to say that the Kings have more offensive talent than Washington does? They scored at a higher rate than Dallas and Anaheim while playing 5-on-5 hockey. Those teams have quite a bit of offensive talent, too – don’t they?

      The Kings really didn’t have a good left wing to play on the first line all season long, and when they got Penner, he disappointed offensively because it was clear he wasn’t in good shape – that’s not a “system” issue. The Kings lost production from Handzus, because he was feeling his age – that’s not a “system” issue. Jack Johnson forgot how to play offense (and defense for that matter) after the month of December this season – that’s not a “system” issue. The Kings (and you) overrated Willie Mitchell’s ability to play offense, and were predictably disappointed – that’s not a “system” issue.

      Frolov leaving also hurt the PP because he basically did the same thing as Kopi from the left side, which gave us a 2 pronged attack from both sides, with deadly D-men at the point.

      … I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you’re not making things up here, but in 09-10 Frolov was a distant 6th among Kings’ forwards in PP ice time and he only played5% of THAT limited amount of time with Kopitar, so I find it hard to see how the Kings could have missed those oh so magical 9 or so minutes that Frolov played with Kopitar on the PP last season.

      I think it was more of a case where guys like Handzus played 222 minutes on the power play and had all of 10 points, Smyth 242 minutes and 14 points, Brown 243 minutes and 15 points, Martinez 105 minutes and 5 points. THAT’s the part that’s unacceptable. And while I expect Martinez to get better with experience, and understand that Brown’s not necessarily a PP performer – I tend to believe that the system had less to do with the decline in PP scoring as it did with the fact that two Methuselahs were out there. I also do feel that the Kings didn’t get the lucky bounces in 10-11 as they did in 09-10, and that made them look worse as well.

      • “The Kings got what they paid for, in that regard” I’ll give you that.

        The needs have changed though, and has been there for a couple of years now. The question is a fair one moving forward. Can Murray be the leapard that changes his spots?

        I think the general point I was trying to make from past posts is that with Murray coaching the way he does, no matter how many offensive weapons we aquire, the system that Murray uses to gain offense will always be too defense oriented to generate offense.

        As Vancouver proved this season, and others have proved every season for years, it is that the right balance in the system you deploy, gives you offense and defense without sacrificing one for the other.

        I contest that JJ didn’t forget how to play offense since he was tied for 4rth in points by all NHL defenseman this season. 5 on 5 he’s used as more of a shut down defenseman to handle the other teams best forwards, where as DD handles those match ups too, but is used to provide direct offense against those match ups 5 on 5. That’s why JJ can’t bring his +/- up. Where he is used offensively doesn’t effect his +/-.

        Washington? That kind of proves my point. Washington porposely supressed their offense for more defense (they changed their system), and look where it got them. Offensive talent doesn’t matter if you don’t play offensive.

        Your Handzues’ scoring being down is not a “system” issue? Very true. Everybodies scoring being down at the same time? “System”.

        Power play? Not much I can say to convince you there. We just watch with different perspectives. I see the same raggedy perimeter passing, with no lateral plays from the 1/2 boards down. A strategy that’s easy to defend, and you see “Methuselahs”.

        • The needs have changed though, and has been there for a couple of years now.

          … They have??? The object is to score more goals than the opposition. The Kings are doing that, and in order to keep doing that, they have to continue to play solid defense. The team’s goaltending has been average for the last three years in 5-on-5 situations. If the Kings compromise their defense to score more goals, they will give up more goals – and the net results will be the same, possibly worse than they are now.

          As Vancouver proved this season, and others have proved every season for years, it is that the right balance in the system you deploy

          … I think all Vancouver has proven this season is that they have superior talent, quite frankly. The Kings aren’t quite close to that level, and it remains to be seen whether they can ever get there.

          I contest that JJ didn’t forget how to play offense since he was tied for 4rth in points by all NHL defenseman this season.

          … Umm, wait a sec. Johnson was 23rd in the NHL among defensemen in scoring, right? Not 4th.

          5 on 5 he’s used as more of a shut down defenseman to handle the other teams best forwards, where as DD handles those match ups too, but is used to provide direct offense against those match ups 5 on 5.

          … Johnson’s quality of competition at 5-on-5 was fourth among the regular six defensemen that the Kings used this season. Mitchell and Doughty faced the opposing team’s best more often than anyone else, and they were usually up to the task. Johnson, simply, was not – at least not after December.

          Everybodies scoring being down at the same time? “System”.

          … But that’s not the case. At even strength last season, Kopitar had 42 points. This season, he had 54. Brown improved from 39 to 42. Smyth improved from 29 to 33. Williams went from 22 to 44. There were players who declined (Simmonds, for instance) but those stemmed more from being used improperly than from the system – and as for player usage and deployment, well that’s a whole ‘nuther story right there.

          Power play? Not much I can say to convince you there. We just watch with different perspectives. I see the same raggedy perimeter passing, with no lateral plays from the 1/2 boards down.

          … But that was the system that had the 6th most efficient power play in the NHL in 09-10. What changed? Was it just the other teams adjusting to the Kings? Maybe – but if that was the case, how come the Kings’ PP has been so good in the playoffs both this season and last? Didn’t Vancouver and San Jose know how to break down video and look for trends, and adjust accordingly? I’m sure they did, but yet the Kings PP still got the job done.

          • Goaltending has been great. Quick has become even better this season. 5 on 5 defense is fine,

            Sorry, I meant JJ is tied for 4rth in scoring on PP with 28 points. Those points are excellent offensive numbers. Doesn’t help his +/-.

            Your right, the power play doesn’t have any problems.

          • “Your right, the power play doesn’t have any problems.”

            haha. I really don’t like it when the entirety of one’s analysis is statistics. Great, you can look up numbers; watch the game. It is blindingly obvious that our power play is awful. I mean fercryinoutloud we can barely hang on to the puck and make a few passes in a row without losing the puck or the zone. And we can barely get in the zone. It’s usually one and done for us, and by one, I mean one dump in, not a scoring chance.

          • I really don’t like it when the entirety of one’s analysis is statistics. Great, you can look up numbers; watch the game. It is blindingly obvious that our power play is awful.

            … I really don’t like it when people who use numbers to illustrate certain things get accused of not ever watching the games.

            Why would I even give a shit about hockey’s numbers if I didn’t give a shit about watching the game of hockey? Answer me that. You have from now until the end of time – go.

            And if the power play was so awful, why was it so effective in the playoffs? Why was it so effective last season in the regular season AND in the playoffs? You watch the games, right? What was the difference? What were the changes? Enlighten me.

          • Alright, let me apologize for coming off so harshly. I realize you watch the games, but I see very little analysis of actual game play in your analysis and that’s what I don’t get and I see it often. I think stats are just a part of the picture, and there are far more aspects of the game that are unquantifiable. As an aside, in your analysis, it would make the statistical analysis more complete and telling to also include how league averages improved in certain areas to see how we improved relative to the league as a whole (e.g. are the pucks juiced or is it the dead puck era).

            Back to the power play. For one, most opponents put hard pressure on the puck carrier against us, and also pressure hard up high. I think it is because we are fairly predictable, don’t move around a lot, don’t always have as many passing options as we should, and have 1 player pretty much unavailable for a pass at all times getting position in front of the net. I also think some of the preoccupation with getting in front of the net is unnecessary because about half the time we barely have solid possession of the puck.

            Because we don’t move much, don’t get open that well, aren’t able to play keep away, etc, the puck carrier has limited outs and can be herded by the pressuring defender. He can make the puck carrier turn his back on a passing option, or cut off a lane with his stick and force him to 1 option while still hounding him. This allows other defenders to cheat more to his few remaining available options. If we had an option available to the side/behind the net on that side (more often) and a far side point man who was a threat to sneak in through a seam, the player on the half boards would have more options, could make that pass before the defender closes in on him, and it would also prevent that defender from hounding him hard all the time. The puck moves faster than a player can skate, and we need to use that to our advantage initially to establish solid control of the puck and dictate the play. The cliche that you can’t score by passing is a gross oversimplification and it’s just downright stupid. Great passing leads to goals as well. And it’s hard to score a goal if you can barely maintain possession well enough to be able to string together a couple of passes. It’s tiring to hound somebody hard only to have to stop and get back because he’s already dished it off to someone who was open. They can’t do that forever and to every puck carrier before they get caught overcommitting or end up dead tired on a long kill.

            Our M.O. is basically always to dig the puck out, pass it up the half boards and then on to the point to get a shot and screen. Most teams neutralized this strategy by putting the points under more pressure, blocking shots, and getting into shooting lanes. A good way to exploit this strategy is to play more down low and force those defending forwards to cheat down low. They can’t be everywhere on the ice, if they are cheating somewhere, they are leaving somewhere else relatively less defended.

            Anyways, I could go on and on, but this is already turning into a rambling mess. I still saw the same problems on the power play this offseason. I don’t think being results-oriented over such a small sample size is really the best way to say how well our power play worked. There is so much luck and variance involved in hockey. Who can say if that puck is even going to stay flat on the ice? There are many times where our power play was great, but we didn’t convert. There were times where it was fairly weak and we still converted. I’d take the former over the latter any day of the week, because if you keep playing that way, the pucks will go in.

            And 2009-2010 is over, it is the past. Teams adapt and subtle things change. And to be honest, I wasn’t able to watch as many games at work. :)

  4. A well layered out argument JT.

    My contention is that your premise is based off a reaction to fans wondering where the offense went under Murray. As if to say we were satisfied with his offensive schemes up until this year, whereas I believe most of us on the bus you are trying to derail believe that the offense has never really been there under Murray, or at least not where we want it to be or believe it needs to be in order to have post season success.

    I would think, you would be with me on this point, if we are looking solely at the post season, as you have often expressed great discomfort and disbelief with the saying “defense wins championships”. Those of us clamoring for more offense out of Murray’s system are aligning with that attitude that defense doesn’t win championships out of hand, that a dynamic offense that can break through the adjustments other team’s make throughout a playoff series (such as Vancouver destroying our PP last year after game 4 by realizing pressuring our points meant we had nothing happening otherwise) is what wins championships.

    However this is kind of a queer time to be having this discussion, as the real elephant in the room is that our offense was pretty darn good against San Jose this year. Our defense shit the bed and whether that is because Murray’s stringent system and inability to adjust either offensively or defensively led to that, or our player’s being too green to handle the pressure/stick to the system and trust each other is the main culprit and the true big fat ugly pink elephant in the room with a snout that looks like it spent too many days shoved up someone’s ass.

  5. Defence wins cups? Who was the last defence first team to do this. Detroit, Pitsburg, Chicago. These teams had decent defence but I would consider them to be more offensive than Defensive system wise. Yes you need a good defence to win cups but these teams had an awful lot of offensive threats on the team. In the old NHL defence won cups I dont know that it does now. What D first team has won the cup in the new NHL?

  6. It is not the offense or the defense that wins games, it is scoring than the other team. Goals for / goals against. Would you rather win a game 2-1 or lose a game 6-5? Kings were 1.07 (10th)last year and 1.05(13th) this year. The Caps before this year were the best team in scoring but could never win in the playoffs where defense seems to matter more.

    The issue I have with TM’s system is that, to me, it seeems make the safe play every time. Put it in the corner and hold it there until you can make the short pass or get it to the blue line. This is true at either end of the ice. Kings make the defense turn around but never make the other goalie go side to side. If an offensive player makes a cross ice pass that gets picked off, he is benched for the rest of the game and maybe traded (see Sully, Cammi, Purcell, and maybe more).

    The question is, can the Kings increase goals for without increasing goals against? Penner was suppose to help in that regard and he came to Cali and went on vacation (at least offensively).

    • DG,
      I’d rather lose one game 6-5, figure out what mistakes were made that allowed 6 goals, and come back the next game playing better D, than scoring 1-2 goals every night. It’s a lot easier to fix defensive mistakes than it is to create offense. Good defense is more of a product of good defensive habits than pure talent, and is more teachable. Scoring often cannot be taught, some players just aren’t going to turn into a scoring phenom or improve offensively no matter what.

      Sure, offense may come down a little bit after tightening up defensive play, but it doesn’t necessarily have to and there isn’t a direct correlation. It may go up too.

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