Game 20 – The Marker For Terry Murray’s Firing Or Lifeline

7 wins. 9 losses. 16 games have passed. Our next 4 are Wild, Ducks, Ducks, and Red Wings.

The Minnesota Wild should prove an interesting challenge. They are a good defensive team and boast a better record at 8-4-3.

The Ducks…well, the Anaheim Ducks are awful. You think we are struggling to score? Wow. Anaheim has a -15 goal differential. Only the Blue Jackets trail them in that department of suck.

The Red Wings. Ah, yes. They stumbled out of the gate but never count out the Dead Things. They have won 2 straight as I write this and are getting into a groove, especially on offense. They beat Colorado and Anaheim by scores of 5-2 and 5-0, respectively.

By the end of this 4 game stretch, we will know whether Terry Murray will remain the L.A. Kings coach. I am not stating he will be fired by game 20 if we lose all four…maybe I am saying that if we actually do lose all four games, but game 20 is the marker, the quarter mark of the season and a fair barometer of whether this team is on the right track or flipped over, metal mangled, windows broken, dead bodies scattered throughout, off it.

0-4? Murray is gone.

1-3? Murray is gone but not immediately.

2-2? He survives…for now.

3-1? He survives absent another meltdown.

4-0? I will happily eat crow.

That is not a tough schedule. The excuses are gone and Terry Murray may follow.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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38 replies

  1. Can the Kings score 12+ goals in the next 4 games? That is the question Lombardi should be asking. If the Kings go 3-1 and score 7 goals, the problems aren’t “fixed”.

    I’m still waiting for someone to show me a team with a bad offense winning the cup since the lockout.

  2. Since a team hasn’t won the cup with an offense out of the top 10, I decided to look at the finalists too:

    2011: Vancouver 1st, Boston 5th
    2010: Philly 8th, Chicago 3rd
    2009: Detroit 1st, Pittsburgh 6th
    2008: Detroit 3rd, Pittsburgh 7th
    2007: Anaheim 9th, Ottawa 2nd
    2006: Edmonton 15th, Carolina 3rd

    Offense still not important to anyone? 1 out of 12 teams outside of the top 10 made the Stanley Cup Finals. Edmonton was still at 3.04 in 2006 (15th), more scoring overall in 2006 than now.

    • It’s not probable. The new NHL (which is not all that new anymore) won’t allow it. It was my sincere hope the coaching staff would make the adjustments. Perhaps they still will but if a coach doesn’t acknowledge that any changes need to be made, it won’t happen. Murray’s days are numbered. He will be fired and I would be surprised if he makes it to the end of the season. We’ll see. Hey, anything could happen but if the Kings under Murray suddenly start scoring more than 2 goals per game, I will be downright stunned.

      Regarding Lombardi, he has two choices. Make a trade or fire the coach. But who do you trade? And who do you seek? If he does nothing and it’s another first round exit or, God forbid, we miss the playoffs, it may be his head.

  3. WILLIAMS: “Yeah, certainly. The bulk of the season is coming up here, huge, important parts of the season here. The offensive, and certainly myself at the top of the list, should be scoring more, getting to the net. I think we had a lot of chances tonight. We didn’t quite come through. But we need to find ways, when we’re down (in) games, to come back. I felt the spirit on the ice, when we were down a couple goals. We still had the fight, and that’s a real good sign, but we need to get a comeback win, just for our psyche, to know that we can come back, for our confidence. It was a good step, getting two, but it’s obviously not good enough.’’

    JW sounds to me there’s a bit of a confidence issue. Is it a confidence issue with them personally or with the team’s offensive system? CO vs Isles, CO went down fairly early 3-0 to the Isles. They fought their way back to win in OT. Yes it’s the Islanders but they fought back and won. I don’t remember if this squad has done that yet.

    • I didn’t see the spark of “we can do it” like you need to come back from a 3-0 deficit. There was some, especially at the end there, but nothing like what you’d hope for. I really feel like we should be able to confidently come back from 3-0 with 50 minutes left…

  4. 7 wins. 9 losses.

    … Jeet Christ, stop saying this. This is a fallacy. They’ve won 7, they’ve lost 7, and they’ve had a couple of ties. Yes, I know that those ties technically count as losses now because the NHL is really really dumb, but they’re not. They have a .500 record while playing actual hockey. They’ve scored 36 goals and have allowed 36 goals while playing actual hockey, exactly what a .500 team’s goal differential should look like.

    The Western Conference is bunched up. No one is running away and hiding. The team in first place, Dallas, is giving up 33 shots per game. Do you really think they can win consistently with no defense? Didn’t they do this shit last season? Obviously, they’re coming back to the pack. Do you really believe Edmonton’s the real deal? Don’t you think that teams will be better prepared for them the next time around? Khabibulin being the best goalie in the World is going to last? Come on. There’s over 80% of the season left to go.

    I have a question. Where did you expect the Kings to be at this point? Or better yet, where did you expect them to be at the end of the season? Do you really think the Kings are superior to Detroit, Chicago, San Jose, Vancouver? Really? Think of where the Kings are now. Don’t you think the Kings can get to where you expected them to be in the 66 games they have left? To say the twenty game marker is “a fair barometer of whether this team is on the right track or flipped over” – really? You believe this? After twenty games last season, the Kings were 10-7-3. Was that a barometer? Nope. They finished 36-34-12. Pretty much a .500 team. Which is – amazingly enough! – almost precisely where they are now. A .500 team.

    Now, there’s a few reasons to think that the team will finish above .500, and they have a lot more than “the next four games” to achieve that.

    I’m still waiting for someone to show me a team with a bad offense winning the cup since the lockout.

    … Did you really see this team winning the Cup? Is anything less than that going to count as a failure for this head coach? If they go to the second round or the Conference final and lose, is that underachievement? Who the hell cares how many goals they score in the next several games? If they win, who gives a shit? If they scored twenty goals in their next four games and lost two of them 7-5, and split the four, would you think all the problems are fixed??? Think about it.

    • To me the point is, we’re nowhere close to where we should be offensively. If we were 12th or even say, 15th, there would be a lot less to complain about. But 28th? The problem is that there is an issue, there is something fundamentally wrong with how we’ve been performing offensively for a while now, and the coach doesn’t seem to think it’s an issue. The coach doesn’t want to change anything except for the amount he invests in rabbits feet.

    • You can ignore the shootout all you like and discredit it as ‘not actual hockey’, but those points matter BIG TIME when factoring in playoff position. Losing is losing whether its in regulation, OT, or the SO, the point is that you are leaving points on the table. Sure, there is no shootout in the playoffs, but the shootout matters in a big way in terms of WHO YOU PLAY IN THE PLAYOFFS, so really, the shootout does matter, both in the regular season AND the playoffs. You may hate it, you may think its bogus, but its a fact of life and when you lose a shootout, you are leaving points on the table the same as when you lose in regulation or in oT.

      • I hate the shootout, everything about it, I would rather see a tie…but, hey, that’s just me.

      • You can ignore the shootout all you like and discredit it as ‘not actual hockey’

        … It’s not actual hockey.

        but those points matter BIG TIME when factoring in playoff position.

        … That’s nice. We’re sixteen games in. Playoff seeding and position are things I can think about in fifty or sixty games or so. Right now, I’m trying to get an idea of how my team is playing the game. I’m not concerned with “wins” or “losses” that are really ties. I’m concerned with what they are doing in actual hockey situations.

        You may hate it, you may think its bogus, but its a fact of life and when you lose a shootout, you are leaving points on the table

        … So what? I mean, really – so what? Shootouts aren’t something than carries any tendencies. There’s no way to apply strategy to a coin flip, is there? Either the coin’s going to come up heads, or it’s going to come up tails. Within an actual game, within all of the actual games in a given season, there are so many relevant factors – strategic line matching, chemistry between linemates, specialized skills for certain game situations, etc. For a shootout, there’s none of that. It’s a few moments of randomness. To say a coach or a team is underachieving because two shootout losses make the team’s record look poor is asinine. What in the World do you expect Murray to do? “Hey, you moron, you lost two coin flips! What the hell?!?! Stop coming up short in random situations!” How is that an indictment of Murray’s coaching ability?

        I know the shootout points count in the standings, because the NHL is stupid. I said as much in my initial post. What I’m also saying is that I’m not concerned with luck and random shit when I’m analyzing a team and what they’ve done or what they haven’t done or what it is they need to do. Maybe the Kings will lose a playoff position as a result of shootout points. Oh well. They can’t fight lady luck with anything except winning games in regulation or the five minute OT. And that’s the main objective anyway, so what’s the difference? If the Kings want to show they’re truly worthy of a spot in the playoffs or home ice advantage in any of the playoff rounds, they will have to rise above any random points that other teams around them accrue. Why concern yourself or judge someone or a group of players based on anything but that? Why say something like “hey they’re at 7 wins and 9 losses grrrrr Terry Murray” when it’s plain to know that statement in and of itself is misleading? I don’t see where that’s constructive.

        • Hey, look, I hate the shootout too, but “the NHL is stupid” only takes us so far in a discussion and takes us nowhere in terms of the playoff standings. YOU may not be thinking about playoff seeding right now, but that in no way discounts that the points right now mean just as much as the points in March. I’m not even talking about the Kings’ plight right now, those 2 losses aren’t the end of the world… right now. Last season a few of those SO losses were the difference between facing San Jose and Phoenix (if memory serves) and it doesn’t matter where in the season those points are lost in the end.

          As for your insistence that it is luck and random and has nothing to do with coaching, I strongly beg to differ.

          A) It’s not luck, or a coin flip. It’s goaltending and skill. It’s not a TEAM thing, but something not being team-centric does not make it random luck.

          B) The coach chooses who goes out there. How many times has Murray in the past thrown out players that make you go “why the fuck is he taking one of the first 3 shots?” So the coach isn’t completely without blame in shootout losses or praise in shootout wins.

          Again, I hate the shootout too, I prefer ties, I wish they didn’t count for points, but they do, and it’s flat out wrong to say that the shootout is just luck.

          As for saying the Kings are eve-.500 or 2 games below .500, it makes no difference to the fact that the Kings aren’t ABOVE .500, like they should be. Saying they are 7-9 merely illustrates more clearly how many points they could have had that they don’t have.

          • As for your insistence that it is luck and random and has nothing to do with coaching, I strongly beg to differ.

            … I find that funny because there are no tendencies in the shootout. People pissed and moaned that Brown was chosen over Johnson in the last shootout, and I’m thinking “don’t they know that Brown was better in the shootouts than Johnson was last season? Not by much, but he was.” Nothing in the shootout carries over, any more than a few random coin flips would carry over to the next set of random coin flips. It’s completely the product of luck. Agree to disagree, broseph.

          • I was happy to agree to disagree, but then you had to go and call me broseph, so now I can’t let that happen. :)

            If you want to say it is random in a large statistical sense, sure, fine. I guess… but I didn’t realize you were defining luck and random by the fact that you can’t use a metric to predict it. In each instance, it is not random, it is not luck. It is the will and smarts and skill of one man against another. That’s not luck.

            Perhaps we just don’t have the metrics to predict it yet. Such as goalies tendencies to drop to butterfly, their reaction speeds, and shooters tendencies to deke versus shoot and the quality of their shots. Just because we don’t have the right systems in place (nor should we) to measure something, doesn’t mean its random.

          • In each instance, it is not random, it is not luck. It is the will and smarts and skill of one man against another. That’s not luck.

            … You are mostly right, there, although I dunno how much “will” it takes to beat a goalie in a penalty shot; either you beat him or you didn’t. But, basically, yeah – certain abilities will help a player in a shootout, for sure.

            But, let’s look at it from another angle, here. You can’t build a team designed to succeed in the shootout, otherwise your team is going to be one or two shining stars and a bunch of losers. You can’t really put together a structure within a team that will put a team in better position to win a shootout than it would ordinarily. If you dress your skill guys, you’re in the best position you can be, and it’s not like you weren’t going to dress those guys anyway, right? So, from a team perspective, it really isn’t any more than choosing a few of the skill guys and hoping for the best, right? I mean, I’ve seen Marek Malik score in a shootout, I’ve seen guys who were incredibly bad picks for a one-on-one battle come out on the winning end.

            I’m saying that each individual shootout is made up of so few elements. It’s such a small part of the essence of winning hockey that it’s not significant enough to base anything on. You can’t draw up much for it, you can’t really do much at all but hope that that coin lands on what you wanted.

          • Fair enough. The one thing you can do prepare is to have guys in your lineup like Kissing Jokinen. Serviceable players who are also Money in the shootout. And your point about Malik actually helps make my point about coaching in the sense That as a coach, knowing yours players is important in terms of who has the hot hand that night and what players have that skill that you may not think would have that skill. We saw with the Letang last week.

            Also This concept of luck illustrates a big point of mine and Bobby’s about Murray. His offensive system is similar to ur view in the shootout. You say with the shootout you Pick em, send em out and hope for the best. Well similarly Murray’s system is get it to the point, fire and hope for the best.

          • Kissing Jokinen. Lol. Obviously that should read Jussi if Not for autocorrect.

          • I was wondering what the fuck you were talking about.

    • The Cup is the goal and you have to score goals to win it. Sitting in the bottom half of the league every season in offense means you are not competing for the cup.

      Lombardi thought he brought in the players in increase the offense and they are actually worse right now. You don’t think that is a concern? You really think the Kings would be better with Smyth, Simmonds and Schenn in their top 9 instead of Richards and Gagne?

      Who gives a shit how many goals they score if they win? Well, history does. You win in the playoffs with an offense that is built through the regular season. That is a fact since the lockout. You can try and deny that it exists and believe that Lombardi and Murray hold the key to winning, but they haven’t won anything in the NHL. I will go with the 11 of 12 teams that made the finals with a top 10 offense. You can hold out hope for the 8% chance that the Kings afre the next Edmonton Oilers of 2006.

      • You’re missing his point Sydor. His point is that there is no way we compete for the cup with OR WITHOUT Murray. He doesn’t believe in our roster the way we do and his expectations are low and therefore, so is his metric for satisfaction.

      • You can try and deny that it exists and believe that Lombardi and Murray hold the key to winning

        … LMAO! You do know who you’re responding to, right? I’m like the Chief Dean Lombardi hater, and I’ve never said Murray was anything resembling a great coach.

        I’m not even denying that offense wins championships, or more specifically, a balanced team wins championships. I totally recognize offensive firepower as essential to a Cup winner, and have said so many times. I tackled the myth that “defense wins championships”. So, you’re preaching to the choir on that.

        I’m saying that I don’t believe this team can win a Cup, or that it’s even a real Cup contender. I think a lot of things are gonna have to go just right for the Kings to even have a shot at the Cup. I can’t plan on that.

        I’m saying that if you’re going to say that Murray isn’t the answer here, that someone else could just step into the head coaching spot and -poof- the team is going to be a Cup contender despite its obvious flaws, then who would that be? If you bring in someone who will improve the offense, how can you be sure that you’re not losing anything on the defensive end? How can you be sure you’re not losing some of the essential structure of the team, and how can you be sure that a team which has been practicing a certain system of hockey for so long is all of a sudden pick up something else and not lose something in the transfer? I don’t think it’s that easy. What Disco did in ’09 with the Penguins was very much the exception, not the rule. In most cases, the team stays stagnant or gets even worse. I’m saying be careful what you wish for, because you may get it.

    • The team in first place, Dallas, is giving up 33 shots per game. Do you really think they can win consistently with no defense?

      I don’t know enough about Dallas to opine on this. From what I have seen of them, they have more structure at both ends of the ice and they are getting good goaltending. Going into the season, I didn’t see them as being this competitive. But, there are one of two of these teams, every season.

      Do you really believe Edmonton’s the real deal?

      Same answer.

      Where did you expect the Kings to be at this point?

      10-4-2 or thereabouts but in my heart, I knew they would not get there because of coaching.

      Or better yet, where did you expect them to be at the end of the season?

      Top 4 in the West, possibly winning their division with the same caveat regarding coaching. My head told me it won’t happen with Murray.

      Do you really think the Kings are superior to Detroit, Chicago, San Jose, Vancouver?

      Are? No. Not with Murray behind the bench.

      Don’t you think the Kings can get to where you expected them to be in the 66 games they have left?

      Not with Murray behind the bench.

      To say the twenty game marker is “a fair barometer of whether this team is on the right track or flipped over” – really? You believe this?

      Yes. Absolutely.

      After twenty games last season, the Kings were 10-7-3. Was that a barometer? Nope. They finished 36-34-12. Pretty much a .500 team. Which is – amazingly enough! – almost precisely where they are now. A .500 team.

      So, they were 3 games over .500 (disregarding the shootout losses) after 20 games last season and they ended the season 2 games over .500 (disregarding the shootout losses). Relatively speaking, where they were after 20 games last season is pretty much where they landed. Take away the shootout (which I despise), and the Kings don’t make the playoffs last season. How are we doing on shootouts this season?

      Now, there’s a few reasons to think that the team will finish above .500, and they have a lot more than “the next four games” to achieve that. Did you really see this team winning the Cup?

      Not sure if this was directed at me, but no, not with this coach.

      If they go to the second round or the Conference final and lose, is that underachievement?

      Depends. Is Murray still the coach?

      • So, they were 3 games over .500 (disregarding the shootout losses) after 20 games last season and they ended the season 2 games over .500 (disregarding the shootout losses). Relatively speaking, where they were after 20 games last season is pretty much where they landed.

        … Except that’s not at all true. If they’re 10-7-3 after twenty, then that’s a barometer for 40-28-12 after eighty. That’s a helluva season. I’ll take that. That’s top four in the Conference for sure. The barometer was that the team was looking pretty sexy.

        The Kings were on pace for a top four season after 20 games, and had a record of 26-27-9 thereafter. So, the first twenty wasn’t at a barometer at all. Right?

        Depends. Is Murray still the coach?

        … Ouch. Well, if you feel he has THAT much of an impact on the team’s fortunes, then we’ll agree to disagree. I think you’re overstating it. But, who really knows? It’s not anything we can quantify.

        • “Well, if you feel he has THAT much of an impact on the team’s fortunes, then we’ll agree to disagree. I think you’re overstating it.”

          Are you discrediting the importance of coaching?

          • Are you discrediting the importance of coaching?

            … Ahhh yes, putting more words in my mouth, I see. Of course I think that coaching carries tangible significance. I don’t think coaching carries the same weight that you and Scribe do. That’s all.

          • Guy, it’s not putting words in your mouth to ask a question for clarification. Touchy.

            You can put less emphasis on it, that’s fine, but I think coaching is paramount to success. You recently said the Predators are as good a team as us or better. Well, that ain’t because of their roster…

          • You recently said the Predators are as good a team as us or better. Well, that ain’t because of their roster…

            … Well, that’s a whole ‘nuther situation right there. I think they have a pretty damned good roster. It’s balanced and they have enough star power to make it work, they have a dynamic duo in Weber and Suter, a super, elite number one goalie, and yes – their head coach is better in my opinion. They play better as a team. They skate, they have excellent role players, they’re versatile. That’s just as much a result of the balance on the roster as it is a result of their coaching. They’re better than the sum of their parts.

        • I disagree on the barometer. You see everyting as linear. I don’t. I look at the record, the level of play, the types of games they are winning and losing, how the O and D are playing and how goaltending is doing. 20 games is a damn good indicator for all of those. FWIW, I do believe 40 games is even better than 20 and 60 games is better than 40 but we are talking forecast and that doesn’t come with certainty. Every season has ebbs and flows.

  5. Who replaces him? Davis Payne? Mike Kennan? Mike Milbury?

    You’re not going to get an employed NHL assistant, nor an employed AHL head coach, nor even a college head coach. Maybe you could steal a CHL head coach…

    The only real options are not employed as coaches — typical they’re talking heads on TV. And, in all likelihood, that means pre-lockout dudes… No thanks.

    So, let’s fire Dean and Terry and replace them with Pierre LeBrun and Barry Melrose.

    We’re stuck and we’re fucked.

    J

    • Hey, Barry Melrose brought us to the Finals.

    • I may be in the minority, but if Murray gets fired and Stevens replaces him, so be it. He did a lot for Philly in his short time behind the bench and I don’t buy the “he’s Terry Murray 2.0″ argument because even if he was, this team needs a kick in the pants right now, and I don’t think a few roster moves will kick hard enough. A coaching change, even if you are changing to someone who is the same, still provides a jolt. I also doubt that the offensive system would look the same under Stevens.

    • “Mike Milbury”

      You stop right there motherfucker.

      I don’t even want to hear him commentetatoring on our team.

      This guy is perhaps the dumbest motherfucker to ever be in charge of an NHL team.

      Excuse my profanity.

  6. Will the Kings be better with their next coach if Murray is fired today? Nobody knows, but I do know that they can’t compete with Murray at the helm.

    Doesn’t matter if Parise and Suter sign with the Kings and they somehow fit them under the cap. Murray won’t get the Kings where they need to be.

    Fear of the unknown shouldn’t keep you from changing coaches. The roster is significantly different than when Murray arrived and the Kings have the same horrible offense. You can only change so many players before that becomes counter productive. The biggest change you can make is the coaching staff; they are the identity of your team.

    Will Stevens be the next coach? Probably, at least for the rest of this season. If the Kings fail to make the playoffs with Stevens, then Lombardi (if AEG keep him) can look to find a completely new direction for this franchise. Keeping Murray just to keep him does nothing.

    The Kings will never win a Stanley Cup with Terry Murray at the helm. Lombardi? Maybe if he allows the next coaching staff to play a balanced game. The Kings have the players to do it, you may not agree, but I see solid players throughout the Kings lineup. Let them play between the dots.

  7. I met Dustin Penner today. I was too nervous too chew him out on his lack of performance.

    I gave him a hug (not weird cause I am a girl) and a “Go Kings!” Also directed him to the nearest ATM.

    I guess I was too hockey player star struck cause I’ve never seen one in real life before.

    What would you have said to him??

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