Surly & Scribe LA Kings Season Preview: The Suits

Before Surly gets to the bottom 6 forwards, I will finish my portion of the season preview with the suits. They comprise of Dean Lombardi, Terry Murray and Jamie Kompon. I am skipping John Stevens because he hasn’t been with the team long enough for an evaluation.

As to each one, we will break this up into the following categories:

1. The most praise worthy parts of his performance last season.

2. The most disappointing parts of his performance last season, which we hope to see changed this one or the coming seasons.

3. If only he was…

4. The biggest challenges he has coming up.

5. My realistic expectations for him this season and beyond.

6. If he lost his job here, the job I wish the most for him.

Dean Lombardi

1. The most praise worthy parts of his performance last season.

In no particular order, the happy accident of not signing Ilya Kovalchuk (30% credit only, the remaining 70% going to Jay Grossman selling his client to Jeff Vanderbeek’s folly), the signing of Willie Mitchell (who became the glue to the defense), and the continued patience he displayed with our prospects, including but not limited to Brayden Schenn, who had an incredible year in Juniors as a result and raised his value to become worthy enough to land Mike Richards (a certain reader of ours just rolled his eyes).

2. The most disappointing parts of his performance last season, which we hope to see changed this one or the coming seasons

The inability to sign the big free agents. While avoiding Kovalchuk and Brad Richards are likely blessings in disguise both short and long-term, the LA Kings’ history of not signing the big UFAs is nothing new. Perhaps only winning will solve that problem.

3. If only he was…

Less obsessed with former Flyers. Sometimes, it works out. Sometimes, it’s just maddening.

4. The biggest challenges he has coming up.

Immediately, the biggest challenge is Drew Doughty and, to quote our reader Steve, his “asshole agent.” Fitting him under what Dean considers a manageable cap hit is proving far more difficult than expected. Over the course of the season, if Gagne and Williams cannot remain healthy or Penner reverts back to past form, we will have some serious holes in our top 6 and Dean doesn’t have the winger horses in the bottom 6 or among prospects to fill that void.

5. My realistic expectations for him this season and beyond.

He will sign Zach Parise. Book it…although I didn’t say when.

6. If he lost his job here, the job I wish the most for him.

GM of the Philadelphia Flyers. I like Dean. I want him to be happy.

Terry Murray

1. The most praise worthy parts of his performance last season.

During the regular season, what he was able to do with the defense. It is amazing to me how intricate and involved his defensive scheme is. This is clearly Terry’s greatest strength.

2. The most disappointing parts of his performance last season, which we hope to see changed this one or the coming seasons.

There are four: (1) His inability to lead the team through the playoffs. The team’s greatest strength, defense, became its biggest weakness in the post season. While a part of that was the loss of Kopitar, that is still an excuse and it was the coach’s job to adapt and get the most out of his players (and system) with the handicap. (2) His inflexibility on the 5 on 5 offensive scheme. Terry Murray has “talked” about change so he clearly understands the deficiencies in his own system but he simply doesn’t have the patience or acumen to implement it. I am leaning toward the former, more than the latter. Too often, his mentality appears to be, “if it doesn’t immediately work, revert back to the dump and chase, cycle and perimeter hockey. (3) The incessant and absurd line changes – that lightning in a bottle approach which is no approach at all. (4) Forcing talented offensive forwards who don’t come with a checking and grinding game out of their strengths and into a checking and grinding game, thereby neutralizing any effectiveness they may otherwise have. Square peg, round hole. He just didn’t get it last season.

3. If only he was…

Adaptable. This is his biggest weakness and is the foundation for all of the items listed in number 2. You know what they say about an old coach and new tricks.

4. The biggest challenges he has coming up.

Winning in the playoffs with this line up without adapting. It’s no longer about the regular season with the Kings and, while many have us pegged as contenders, I am asking whether we have the coaching to take us there.

5. My realistic expectations for him this season and beyond.

Bluntly, I don’t know. Today, if you asked me, “is Terry Murray the right coach for this team?” I would answer, “don’t know and leaning toward, no.” I am not certain Terry Murray will be the Kings’ coach at the start of the 2012-2013 season. We can hope for the best though, as I do.

6. If he lost his job here, the job I wish the most for him.

The Kings’ assistant coach, focusing on defense. I’m serious.

Jamie Kompon

1. The most praise worthy parts of his performance last season.

His thick skin. Either that or he doesn’t read the internet.

2. The most disappointing parts of his performance last season, which we hope to see changed this one or the coming seasons.

[Insert his job duties here]. Seriously though, I hear he may be one of the lower paid assistant coaches in the league. I have wondered if that is true or not and, if it is true, does the expression, “you get what you pay for”, apply?

3. If only he was…

Not the assistant coach of this team and most certainly not running the powerplay.

4. The biggest challenges he has coming up.

Not being himself.

5. My realistic expectations for him this season and beyond.

I expect more of the same from Jamie Kompon so it’s not even worth going there. Let’s change the question to what we “hope” for – he takes what he did last season, does not repeat it, somehow manages to do exactly the opposite and establishes a power play designed around puck possession away from the boards, players skating to the scoring areas, lateral passes and one time shots (I know, the nerve I have!) and ideally one whose entire plan is not to dump the puck, get the puck to the half-boards, eventually to the point and shots off shins, sticks and bodies that cause nothing more than a change of possession.

6. If he lost his job here, the job I wish the most for him.

Assistant coach, in charge of the powerplay…for the Anaheim Ducks.

GO KINGS!



Categories: L.A. Kings News

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

21 replies

  1. “Assistant coach, in charge of the powerplay…for the Anaheim Ducks.” GOLD

  2. Bobby, you are diseased and require medication. The Dawn of Greatness is blinding your vision AND your judgment.

    Before TM the team had no identity, except as a disorganized collection of nondescript spastic juniors, sans defense, sans goaltending, sans heart, sans EVERYTHING.

    Now the Kings are approaching full erection — a stiff, diamond-hard dick, loaded with sperm and the drive to discharge it in full pelvic thrust.

    When was the last time hockey commentators discussed us as a contender and weren’t immediately arrested on 72-hour holds for psychiatric evaluation?

    It’s not just the player personnel, but the suits who did this. Lombardi, Murray, even the cruelly denigrated Kompon — all of them contributed to the beginnings of our nibble at success.

    You’re right that the one place where we fell down in the playoffs is precisely where we should have been at our strongest — 5-on-5 defense. But that’s not wholly Murray’s fault.

    Keep the faith, Roberto. Once our heads and testacles are wired together we shall defeat teams on ice all over the league, we shall beat them on the beaches and on the landing grounds. We shall march up their asses, sword in hand, and claim the Cup which has been denied us for too long.

    Bah-lum ah-nee roh-toh nah-hee.

    • I was with you until the “loaded with sperm” reference…

    • I like your style – but I have seen too much of Terry Murray and know his style too well. I watched last season as his coaching and decisions in the regular season and playoffs cost us games. Perhaps he was overcompensating for what he perceived to be a lack of sufficient talent but a coach is supposed to get the best out of his players. I am generally a very positive thinker so I am giving Murray a clean slate for the season.

      • Me too. I am approaching this season with a very open mind, the Doughty situation notwithstanding. This year he has a lot to work with. Murray is often limited by his dogmatic approach to the game. I hope for the best.

      • I understand what you’re saying here, but I really feel like we can’t get a completely full and accurate evaluation of TM until we get rid of Kompon. But if TM is one of the reasons JK is still around, well… maybe that says enough.

        • If you do a background check on Jamie Kompon, he has NEVER played in the NHL. So you might ask, what credentials does the man have? Simple. ROLLER HOCKEY. Yikes. Since I played both ice and roller hockey, maybe I should have been a GM in the NHL by now!

  3. Great thread, and the thinking here is very creative.

    I do disagree with you on the DL signing DD to a manageable cap hit being a problem, because if you think DL’s problem is that he can manage 6.8 mill for 7 years, but he can’t manage 7 mill for 7 years than your selling him short. If he can’t manage that extra 200,000 than someone prove it to me, because I just don’t see it. He very much can, and I think that excuse is a smoke screen for the real problem in why we can’t sign DD. DD is being crusified by Kingsfans right now and DL should be concerned with that also.

    I agree with you on Murray for the most part, and believe Murrays biggest problem is that he is a believer. He believes in a coaching phylosophy that is bigger than himself, and he’s perfectly willing to become a marter for it. I hope with the change in players it compliments his systsem better, but I have concerns with moving forward. Adjustment and flexability have been his weakness because he believes that his system will yield the results he needs over the long haul, thus he won’t adjust during the time he needs to make adjustments and holds out hope that it will average out in the long run.

    Kompons weakness is that he is a yes man for Murray.

    • Note that I wrote what Dean considers a manageable cap hit but it is more than $200K. Negotiations like this are of course about ego but I can see Lombardi’s perspective. You don’t make a kid with 3 seasons, one of which was his rookie year and the last one where his performance dropped & issues regarding fitness arose the highest paid player on your team absent something in return – i.e., UFA years. There has to be a give and take and 5 years at that kind of salary is not it. That is why I said if I am Meehan and term is most important, I don’t go beyond $6.8 million and I offer 5 years, $6.5 and force Lombardi’s hand.

      • Except $6.5 for 5 years isn’t a “win” for Meehan. He needs to beat the Kopitar contract to show future clients that he is the best agent. Meehan doesn’t care if Doughty plays, he wants the $7 million AAV, a shorter term than Kopitar would be a huge bonus.

        This the same thing he tried to pull on the Ducks with Ryan. Meehan wanted to have a higher AAV than Perry and Getzlaf and would have had Ryan “hold out”, but Ryan told Meehan to fuck off and negotiated with the Ducks himself.

        I would have thought Doughty had his own brain, but it looks like Meehan has complete control. Doughty has zero benefit for missing camp. Dean is not going to cave. Drew is the only loser in this.

        • In my hypothetical, I was a rational and client focused agent. Also, there is another loser. Us. We lose out on Drew if he holds out and the team being better with him. Actually, there are two: his teammates but for whomever replaces him. That person wins from a personal gain perspective

          • Sure, his teammates suffer, but they also learn how to win without their “#1″ defenseman early in the season. I have faith in the team to be able to get some wins before 12/1. It’s not like Drew played 82 games last season.

            Could Doughty be dumb enough to lose an entire season? That’s some stupid principles if he does.

            The biggest danger with Drew coming back in December is how long does it take him to get back in shape? He will be replacing a defenseman who has probably been playing well.

            Your hypothetical doesn’t work with Dean and Meehan. Two lawyers. Lawyers don’t like to lose, even if it is better for their client.

          • That last sentence is just flat out silly. I hope you had your tongue firmly planted in your cheek when you wrote it.

          • You know I have take a shot at your profession whenever possible.
            :)

          • The lack of coaching evolution may be timing. According to Lombardi the Kings exceeded projections and are ahead of schedule. The Lombardi Calender most likely already had Murray and Company inked for this season with the shopping trip scheduled for the next. Thus the team is saddled with offensively retarded coaching staff.

            Doughty: Doughty is good enough to not to dismiss out of hand, but hey, what’s the real story? Currently I have concerns and so oppose an excessive “potential contract” for a 21 year old unproven player who twice in three years allowed personal indulgence to come between him and the game.

            A pattern?

            Did he sign yet?

        • As time goes on I am starting to side with Lombardi. Meehan is asking too much, and as discussed above, for the wrong reasons. If Drew keeps holding out, his position weakens substantially. December 1st will be here before he knows it–67 days and counting.

          This may evolve to the point that Drew could really fuck up his career and blow 6.5, 6.7, or whatever million dollars that he won’t be able to make up later.

          I am past the point of being angry about this. The team is more important than Drew, and the Kings have enough depth to win.

  4. Depth on the wing is the Kings’ weakest link without a doubt. I kind of expect them to hang onto Hunter until the last possible minute before making a decision on him as he at least has some touch and experience.

  5. including but not limited to Brayden Schenn, who had an incredible year in Juniors as a result and raised his value to become worthy enough to land Mike Richards (a certain reader of ours just rolled his eyes).

    … That’s sweet of you, and all – If only it was a straight-up swap, Schenn for Richards. I personally still wouldn’t make that trade, anyway. It just sends the wrong message.

    I like Dean. I want him to be happy.

    … I think his dream job would be a two-hour radio show where he takes no calls and does no interviews, just talks about himself and his brilliance for the duration of each show.

    Not the assistant coach of this team and most certainly not running the powerplay.

    … Kompon has done alright running the power play. The pucks just didn’t end up in the net. Shit happens. Jamie’s been on the PP job for three seasons, right? Over those three seasons, I’d guess they’ve had an above-average power play. On a Terry Murray-coached team that has had a considerable lack of talent on the wings, that’s not too bad at all. Kompon’s a good guy; he doesn’t deserve the abuse he gets.

  6. Another great write up.

    To me TM’s biggest problem is that he is no longer capable of being relevant as an NHL coach. Our best hope with him behind the wheel is that our talented team just tunes him out towards the end of the season and play hockey the way they all know how.

    TM is never going to outcoach an opponent. He is never going to be the guy to come up with a change or a scheme on the fly in a manner that will win us a game let alone a series/season. He hasn’t shown the ability to be able to so far and I just can’t see him doing so this year.

    Can we win with him at the helm? Yes but it will not be because of his abilities. As much as I like TM the person and I truly do, great person and really knowledgeable but his time has come and gone. Hopefully he will listen to his counterparts and realize when he is outmatched allowing them to try and come up with something.

    We have an exceptionally talented team this season, it would be a shame to waste such a great opportunity to find out we needed a better coach at the end.

  7. the hole in my argument is that I have no replacement to suggest, but we must boot TM now before he again proudly, righteously and firmly guides this burgeoning team to the upper echelons of mediocrity, in accordance with what feels like a Calvinist theology wherein our Kings are not amongst the elect, possibly due to some blasphemy in the arrogance of the team name, and do best to nobly accept their predestined road to damnation by remaining disciplined in their approach to playing well enough to lose when it matters most.

  8. Yes Drfnord, yes.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,044 other followers

%d bloggers like this: