Home Plate Fails Far From Home

Besides being the base of the design for the Kings latest logo, the home plate is also the foundation for Terry Murray’s entire hockey system. A shape that is supposed to allow 5 players to maximize their coverage of the ice, keeping the opposition from entering the area in the middle. The idea being that much like the logo, only LA is allowed, no villains in between the dots and certainly nothing but a crown in the crease.

In losing 4-2 to the fierce Buffalo Sabres today in Berlin, the Kings were more than willing to let Luke Adams, Paul Gaustad and any others who asked politely to waltz through the blue paint and overwhelm the area in front of it. One can never expect to score a bunch of goals on Ryan Miller, who I believe is the best goalie in the league, so to hit our 2 goal quota is practically an overachievement. However picking up right where we left off in last year’s playoffs, the Kings failed to contain an offense just brimming with adrenaline. I must say I found myself marveling at the way the Sabres play the game. Energy throughout all four lines, nearly indiscernible between them. Lindy Ruff’s team proves that you don’t simple need to be a big bodied brute to muscled your way to the high scoring areas, all you need is a mentality pervasive throughout a lineup. One that does not say cycle and shoot from the point, one that screams crash and swarm like bloody murder. The best feeling this game leaves me with is that we don’t have to play the Sabres again this season. Though in a sense, that is a shame, because we might learn a thing or two from them.

On the bright side, our top line of Gagne, Kopitar and Williams shined. These three are hitting their stride quickly and powerfully. Kopitar is off to a world beater start and Williams is starting the season doing his best impersonation of Adam Oates. Gagne, meanwhile, fires the puck hard and often and compliments the other two well. The second line, though rendered mostly ineffective – today more a normalcy than an aberration – showed some of the promise that was on full display yesterday against the Rangers. However I find myself wondering if the Kings don’t have a first line and a second line, with then 5th and 6th lines behind them.

While Jarret Stoll played with ferocious tenacity, his wingers, Parse and Moreau, were non factors at best. Kevin Westgarth on the bottom line, made one nice play in his first shift and then proceeded to make me yearn for the lackluster performance of Trent Hunter. Meanwhile, Trevor Lewis needs to show us something beyond vanilla. Even my man Kyle Clifford can’t seem to find a stride amidst an awkward line. What are these two lines missing? Speed and skill, plain and simple. With Kopi and Richards taking much of the big defensive responsibility, there is little use for a low talent grinding line in the 4th and a line with zero identity in the 3rd. I am starting to think Bobby wasn’t too crazy for slotting in Brandon Kozun on the third line during training camp.

I guess I could talk more, about how Doughty played pretty well, Martinez showed some grit, Scuderi played another trademark unnoticeable game and Johnson did what he does best, exemplify the term bipolar. Or perhaps Bernier’s ill timed very soft first goal against and then the inability to make the big save for the rest of the game. However it is probably best to just go with the tried and true ‘it’s only the second game of the season’ and add in a dash of ‘it’s in fucking Europe’ and cap it off with ‘that Polar Bear mascot made me chuckle, albeit mockingly.’

Now we wait until Thursday to play the Devils. While this sucks in the sense that we just got teased with hockey and now have to wait another 4 days, it is good in that such a time basically eliminates any preconceived notions of excuse due to jet lag for the next outing.

2 points in the bag, back to American soil.

Go Kings Go.

Categories: L.A. Kings News

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18 replies

  1. I’m liking that first line chemistry hopefully when penner comes back from his tummy ache TM puts him with Richards and brown and some chemistry happens

  2. Buffalo is for real. A coach that allows his team to play between the dots and allows all five players to attack at all times. That is a thing of beauty and they now have an owner that will spend money. They could be strong for a very long time.

    Murray changes nothing during games and teams seem to always come out stronger in the second with their adjustments. The Kings play strong in the third, especially when they are behind and can play a more attacking style. Why can’t the Kings play as an attacking team from the firs second to the last?

    It’s only 2 games, but all of the same Murray issues were on full display. It’s just sad. More talent, same restrictive system. :(

    • Last season the Kings usually scored first (then grew more impotent as the games progressed). I believe in this category they were near or at the top of the league..

      I don’t know if the problem today was coaching, the way the coaches and management used the preseason (poorly) to organize, or if the Kings simply had no gas in the tank.

      I’d give it three or four more games to see what jells.

      The real problem, one which everyone missed it the new uniforms. They suck big time and slow the team down.

      The cut of the sweater is beyond awful. The curved cut of the tail makes the players look like a bunch of fat ass plumbers in hockey trunks who can’t keep their shirts tucked in.

      If they look like fat asses they play like fat asses. Just that simple. Bet those black sweater costs players a half step.

      Oh, and PS, considering Buffalo nailed LA much the same way last season should this game kinda makes sense.

    • I also have observed same..
      Is there a ‘suggestion’ box?
      would anyone listen :0
      GO KINGS GO!!!

  3. Im losing faith in TM’s system. looked great the beginning of last year and the year before. looked like we could beat anybody. We used to wear teams down with our tenacious cycle. It seems now that just about everybody can counter that pretty easily. We dump the puck, they cut it off behind the net or at the half wall and their D passes to their wingers taking off back up ice and we are back on our heels. Repeat this procedure ad nauseum. We’ve got to with a more of a drive the net type mentality and stop dumping the puck, more drop and lateral passes.
    Once the puck is in the zone use a cycle to keep it there. Dumps are for toilets and PK.

    Im not a huge fan of Lewis either. Big mistake not keeping Lokti on the team, he’s much more creative.

    Johnson is a mess of a D man, good offensive instincts but shaky on D.

    Sabres with their D pickups and Leino are gonna be a force this year.

    • Well, there’s no more excuses this year. DL has given TM a team that should never be out of a game so if this team tanks then TM should be out of a job.

  4. Its early in the season and we are going to win our fare share of games. Still, TM is who he is and before we go making gods of the “new look” Sabres lets remember that they aren’t really all that new and while good they aren’t the best team in the league either.

    Gramaw Murray’s “system” for lack of a better word has three major holes in it and I could go on waisting time covering them again, after having done so over and over and over and over and you get the picture I would much rather just leave it to the pro’s.

    TM is not a Stanley Cup winning coach. His time has past if it ever was actually there. THE FUCKING 1/3/1 WHEN WE ARE DOWN TWO FUCKING GOALS GRAMAW? REALLY?

    Sorry, I lost it there for a second. Fuck TM. Fuck his lack of vision. If we win a cup with him at the helm it will be in spite of his good efforts as opposed to because of them.

    A really nice and extremely knowledgeable hockey person who should have retired awhile ago. At least the heat is on him for this year. We have that going for us.

    We will win our fair share of games so again, no biggie. But will we win a cup with TM? Like I said, only in spite of him, not because.

  5. I did find it sort of ironic that Al Don’t ever change your playbook Davis died today (from what a football fan told me) and we watch Terry “I am just like Al Davis” Murray give away a victory for us.

  6. Enjoyed watching Sabres play – kind of thing I was hoping to see in this game…

  7. Youd hope that with the talent capable of changing plan mid-game we’d have a coach capable of making the changes. This feels like the playoffs all over again. How long until TM proves to the administration that he just can’t make it happen?

  8. I have seen a few changes in TM’s system. Offensively the Kings are trying more cross ice passes. Yesterday we ran into a really good goalie, and it’s going to be a few games to see where we really are offensively. I have confidence that the peices are in place to start scoring, but we’ll see how consistent the guys are as we go.

    Yesterday was a defensive nightmare. Buffalo had their way through the nuetral zone, and they had their way cycling through the middle in the offensive zone. The home plate mentality that is usually a strength for the Kings, was nonexistent from the Kings all through the game.

    The day before the Kings ruled the nuetral zone in the 1rst period, before New York turned the game around and made it a level playing feild by penatrating the nuetral zone better. The Kings won that game, but against a possesion team like Buffalo, the Kings got burned by their attack through the middle of the ice once Buffalo gained the zone.

    The Kings transition game needs some work too. Coming out of the zone after a hard forecheck from Buffalo, the Kings couldn’t connect a single pass through the nuetral zone. More stretch passes will push them back I think, and maybe catch them out of position better.

    Once the Kings did forecheck, I liked what I saw. The Kings seemed to manufacture chances well, but didn’t have the finish I was hoping for.

    Let’s take it too Jersey and make them pay.

  9. Talent, schmalent!

    Last season we had BIG motherfuckers who could climb into the crease — every line. We made the playoffs and weren’t crowded at the net, even in road games.

    This year, we reduced the number of BIG motherfuckers. We went for scoring punch and creativity instead.

    Last year Buffalo had skill galore, but a dearth of BIG motherfuckers. Now it has BIG motherfuckers who had their dicks up our ass in the crease throughout the game. The Sabres look like a different team, don’t they?

    I heard Foxy talking about our “average” height and weight exceeding those of the Sabres. Is that how it looked to you?

    San Jose spent an off-season picking up BIG motherfuckers — even trading away scoring punch and creativity. In fact, the Sharks have picked up one our our BIGGEST ex-motherfuckers. I hear them picked to win the conference.

    There’s a moral in this. Is it, “I never met a doll as dependable as aces back-to-back”? Or is it something else?

    • Sorry to disagree because I like your views from a players perspective. Especially your views on defense.

      We traded some girth, but the exchange was worth it (I think). If you match up what we lost, and what we gained, I think most would agree the trade off was worth the gamble. Using it the same way as when we had that girth is my main fear, but that’s a different subject all together. We’ve actually added more hitting potential than before, even with the decrease in size.

      Simmonds wasn’t that big either, he just played like he was. Zues and Poni were big, but Zues doesn’t hit as much as Richards, and Poni wasn’t even in the line up all season last season. Their D will be missed most, but Gagne hopefully is a bigger impact player than Simmonds, or Poni.

      Easy trade off.

      • I won’t even try to compare what we gave up to what we got in return — especially after watching Richards pull a virtual Deadmarsh in that opening game against the Rangers.

        And I agree, he does hit. But for some reason Richards was NOT hitting the Buffalo goal-scorer when the two of them were fussing just outside the crease.

        Zus would have draped on that Sabre like a coat of paint.

        I’m reminded of an old L.A. Ram player — Cullen Bryant — whose skills were far less than his bulk. Yet it was he that we turned to in short-yardage situations. Given his SIZE, all he had to do was fall in the right direction and we’d pick up that first down.

        I don’t care how fast the game has gotten or how finesse oriented it’s become. There will ALWAYS be a place in it for brute force. And simple physics will tell you that — other things being equal and the bodies not being in motion — the BIGGER motherfucker will be the odds-on favorite to bop the SMALLER motherfucker off the puck.

        Losing Zus is one thing. Was he going to play wing for us? Or fourth line center?

        But we lost more than just him. BIG motherfuckers vanished from our line-up in a herd. Who are the BIG motherfuckers left on the shelf? Loktionov? Kozun? Even Voynov?

        How long before Forbert and Deslauriers make an impact?

        Like it or not, SIZE does matter. I hope we don’t learn that lesson too well this season.

        How far off are Forbert and Deslauriers?

        Like it or not. There’s no substitute for SIZE. I hope we don’t learn that lesson too well this season.

    • Buffalo’s forwards are on the smaller side…. Couple of bug guys but not a big forward lineup. They got to the front through speed, team crashing, jumping defensemen and spreading out our defensemen. Willpower helped too. It wasn’t from some big size advantage.

      • The rush of Sabre defensemen to the net helped the skilled mice work their skill magic. It wasn’t simply the spunk of the tiny forwards that enabled them to succeed where we failed.

        Those Buffalo defensemen are not minute.

        The real question is this: If, indeed, we still had the immensities that have now left the team, would that have mattered to the outcome of yesterday’s game?

        I’m not saying necessarily that it would. But nothing that I’ve seen or read persuades me that it would not.

        • That’s certainly true about the Sabre defensemen, but it doesn’t really cancel out my point so much as add to it. As for the real question…. maybe it would have, and the loss of size is definitely a legitimate question to raise… we’ll see how it affects the team long term. However it does not mean that we can not succeed without it. If we continue to play a style that necessitates having size throughout the lineup, then yeah, we are in trouble, but if we can adjust to playing a more skilled game then we should be fine. I like size as much as anyone in a lineup, but its not the only way to have success, it just depends on how you utilize what you do have.

          To me, the lack of a third line with a real identity is the biggest problem. Last year it’s identity was size, that can’t be the case now so it needs to find a new identity. Should be speed and skill, or two way game, but Parse screws up the two-way part and Moreau screws up the speed/skill part. Its a lost line right now, which to me is the team’s biggest problem. Getting Penner back might help that.


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