Holy Smoke! L.A. Kings Lineup Lunacy Or Evil Genius?

Per Hammond, the Kings are skating as follows:

Well, The Great Lineup Shakeup of 2011 has taken place, with Andrei Loktionov moving to center, Jarret Stoll to wing and only the fourth line remaining intact. Here’s how the forwards and defensemen are lined up early in practice…

Brown-Kopitar-Hunter
Gagne-Richards-Stoll
Clifford-Loktionov-Williams
Moreau-Fraser-Westgarth
Penner/Richardson/Lewis

This is both fascinating and amusing because it’s as if Terry Murray reads this site and my wishes (yeah, right) but decided to mess with me and only give me part of what I have been asking for since the preseason.

I asked for Dustin Brown on Kopitar’s right wing – I got Brown on Anze’s left.

I asked for Gagne-Richards-Williams – I got 2/3 of that line and Justin Williams moves to the third line.

I asked for Stoll on the second line left wing if we are not going to go with Gagne-Richards-Williams. I got Stoll on right wing with that line.

I asked for Clifford-Loktionov-Kozun as the dream third line. I got 2/3 of that with Williams in Kozun’s place.

Last night, I mentioned in the post game article that we would probably see Trent Hunter on Kopitar’s left wing on the first line. Viola…well, kind of, we got Hunter on Kopitar’s right. That one had me laughing when I read Hammond’s post. Miss two glorious open nets, get elevated to first line duties.

Last night, I mentioned I would not mess with the fourth lines too much and he didn’t.

On defense, per Hammond:

Scuderi-Doughty
Mitchell-Voynov
Johnson-Greene
Drewiske-Martinez (no-contact)

I would have preferred Mitchell-Doughty, Johnson-Voynov, Scuderi-Greene.

Let’s address these lines or at least what I believe to be the theory behind them.

First, he is spreading out the skill, a common tactic among all NHL coaches when none of the lines are hitting on all cylinders and some are badly struggling.

Kopitar and Brown have history. Hunter becomes the wild card. You have two players who are capable of going to the net. The line is designed to create traffic in front of the net with Brown and Hunter while Kopitar and the defense fire away.

Gagne and Richards have history and chemistry. That is really the first line now as the addition of Jarret Stoll creates two players who are good at faceoffs (Mike Richards being a deity in that regard). Richards, the playmaker, feeds two scorers, Gagne and Stoll. Stoll has a hard one timer with a quick release. Gagne is a sniper.

The third line plays to Andrei Loktionov’s strengths at center. He, like Richards, is a playmaker. You have the sniper in Williams and the front of the net presence in Clifford. That is the theory.

Your thoughts…



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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24 replies

  1. November 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm
    I think DL needs to hire you Bobby as a creative consultant. I didn’t get Hunter at first, but agree with this and maybe Hunter on the 1st is just temporary until Penner is better, then he goes there.
    And /or DL told TM to get it done or he’s gone.
    Loki with Williams on the 3rd gives a speed and skill set and SToll is good defensivly and Gagne are Richie are excellent. They used to shut down the top iines in Philly, Richie would steal the puck, the’d break out, enter the O Z passi t around and score. So fast, so talented, they ‘get /’ each other.
    So that line can still be the shut down line and adds speed , so if they get caught, you have two (Gags and Richie) excellent backcheckers who are fast.

  2. NAYYYYYY

    Terry Murray must have picked his lines by playing a game of musical chairs.

    I don’t know how he expects any cohesion and chemistry by continually changing lines all the time and moving a player to the first line who is borderline 3rd or 4th line material.

    I’m not giving up, anything can happen, but it looks bad right now. I always have said I wish they would have called up a Kozun, etc. to play with the big boys. Not saying the young guys are the answer, but they can’t be any worse than a Fraser, Moreau, Hunter, etc.

  3. Richardson/(Penner)-Kopitar-Brown
    Gagne-Richards-Williams
    Clifford-Loktionov-Stoll
    Moreau/Richardson-Lewis-Westgarth

    Murray’s lines have no chance of being a long term solution. Murray’s line changes are just the actions of a desperate coach who can’t figure out post-lockout NHL hockey.

    Kings were 30th in 5-on-5 scoring in 2008-09, Murray’s first season. They are now 29th. Almost a completely different roster with the same results. Coincidence? Or the coach?

  4. My dream 3rd line is:

    Clifford-Loktionov-Toffoli

    I kind of hope Toffoli’s junior team gets bounced in the playoffs so he can join the Kings late, I feel bad for wanting that though.

  5. Hunter on with Kopitar and Richardson is nowhere to be found? TM has lost his marbles.

  6. Hunter on the first line is just laughable. Penner can’t return soon enough.

  7. Hunter was good for 15+ goals a season when he was playing for a really bad Islanders team. He seemed to be paired with Mark Parrish (Ex-King), and they were the most productive of all the Islanders.

    I would like to see that 4th line with Richardson/Penner/Lewis once Penner is ready. I figure maybe Richardson and Penner might get that monkey off their backs, because we all know both are in serious need of a slump buster.

    @BLUECOCONUTS

    As long as “Tommy” is the coach, when Toffoli is ready, which is doubtful, Clifford would need to become very quick to keep up with Loktionov. Toffoli would also need to improve his skating, and overall game if he was going to be on a line with Clifford and Loktionov.

    DL is of the you need to earn a promotion, do your time in the minors mold. One thing DL has done consistently, is refrain from rushing a player too quickly. He learned this lesson with Bernier. He has also seen too many GM’s rush a player too fast, killing their confidence sometimes forever.

    Unless, Toffoli makes it very clear he is ready for the jump in skill, speed, and size, he’ll be earning his bones in the AHL for awhile. I don’t think they project Toffoli as a 3rd line wing, more as a 2nd line wing.

    You forget Linden Vey also another leading scorer of the CHL another projected 2nd line RW.

    The only player that did make that leap was Clifford, who almost made the team 2 seasons ago, but Lombardi felt one more of junior would be better. Clifford was projected as a 3rd line defensive forward, who could also score, and this is why he made the team out of camp last season.

    Someone must have sent subliminal messages about putting Voynov back with Mitchell. Why the hell he broke up the Mitchell-Voynov pairing on defense is beyond reason. I mean Voynov was pretty much paired with Mitchell in almost every single pre-season game and when he was up playing with the Kings.

    I mean, it’s not like they were comfortable playing as a pair, or they knew where the other would be in most situations. It’s not like Voynov knew Mitchell had his back when he would rush the puck, or that Mitchell knew that Voynov would bust his ass to get back if he turned the puck over.

    I’m pleasantly pleased to see you have a offensive d-man paired with a stay at home d-man.

    Scuderi-Doughty
    Mitchell-Voynov
    Johnson-Greene
    Drewiske-Martinez

    I hope something becomes of these changes. I’m all for anything to give the Kings more firepower, improve the defense, but part of me also would like this to fail.

    I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but things are getting pretty bad, and these changes could be seen as hopefully generating more offfense, while on the other side, the acts of a desperate coach trying to save his job.

    I heard an interesting statistic, that has proven to be pretty accurate. Any team in a playoff spot at the start of December is something like 80% likely to make the playoffs. Any team that is out of a playoff spot on Dec 1st, only has a 20% chance to make the playoffs.

    As of today the Kings are 10th in the Pacific.

    • Totally agree about the desperation bit. Feel kinda bad for him because its like his plan is “I’m gonna throw shit at the wall and Hopefully it sticks!”

      • On the bright side, this made tomorrow’s game against the Sharks far more interesting. I hope our boys pull it off and gain some confidence. If they are blasted or again struggle to score…actually, I would rather not think about that.

        • Shouldn’t the coach be determining, more or less, the player’s abilities and skills during practice and then pair during games? Sometimes the line shake ups during games are necessary that’s understandable but TM has had most of these guys for years now.

          Don’t get it….

  8. Richardson should be in hunters or even morons place whats wrong with tm he wants to prove that he didnt sign 2 fails this season?

  9. What’s that gesture a cartoon character makes with his finger going up and down on his lips when he’s completely dumbfounded??? Insert that gesture here! Frankly I’m starting to think of Terry Murray as hockey’s equivalent of Elmer Fudd.

    We need another left winger than what we have in Penner. If we can package Penner and some guys to get a good left winger that can play first or second line minutes until we get Parise next year, then we should do it. Cuz whoever we get will get to play on the left with Lokti on the 3rd line next year and that doesn’t sound so bad does it? I think Brown belongs on the 3rd line but that’s who we got.

    Next year Parise/Kopi/ Brown, Gagne/Richards/Williams/ LW traded for/Lokti/Kozun, Clifford/Fraser/Richardson (Lewis/Westgarth/n whoever else makes the team)

  10. Man I hope Lombardi is calling Bodreau this morning. We already has a defensively reaponsible team and maybe this guy could inspire offensive creativity.

  11. Call up bodreau! tm should be gone with these whacky line combos

  12. so many coaches fired and none of them named Murray…

    I understand rewarding Hunter for his effectiveness in front of the net on the power play. certainly he will break Anze out of his slump, since Kopi does best when forced to beat two guys draped on him while Brown slides along on the ice having fallen over “hitting” someone and Hunter comes in alone on the wing, with the goalie praying he gets the puck to set up the “stop the breakaway and get an assist on the rush the other way” play.

    fuggit just hope Gagne-Richards-Williams works and skate Kopi with 4D. the Lakers might take Penner’s expiring contract.

  13. Wow I very much hope Murray can catch wind of this article because his thought process behind these lines was pulling names out of a hat and hoping he finds chemistry. I feel that the idea of these lines are intresting but at the end of the day will the get us the scoring chances/goals we need?

  14. “Brown-Kopitar-Hunter
    Gagne-Richards-Stoll
    Clifford-Loktionov-Williams
    Moreau-Fraser-Westgarth
    Penner/Richardson/Lewis”

    … In the last five years, Hunter has played 292 games, the equivalent of 3.6 seasons, and has averaged 16 goals and 39 points per 82 games played. His shooting percentage over those five years has been 7.9%. This is the first-line right wing for a team that wants to believe they can contend for the World championship. Remember the Dwight King experiment last season? I do.

    The highest shooting percentage this season of any of the top three projected right wingers is Justin Williams’ 5.1%. That’s a bit of a concern.

    Richards and Stoll are two centers. Richards takes more faceoffs than anyone on the team, and Stoll nearly takes as much as Kopitar does. Together, Richards and Stoll take about 56% of the team’s overall faceoffs, and now they’re going to be on the same line.

    That’s a bit of an issue when you consider that Loktionov and Fraser have taken a grand total of 50 faceoffs for the Kings this season (and have won just 23 of them), and those two make up half of the centers dressed tonight. Meanwhile, Richardson – who’s been amazing on the draw this season and who’s taken nearly 700 of them in his years with the Kings (and winning over 50% of them) will likely be scratched.

    I don’t know what Murray is trying to accomplish with this. That line of Moreau-Fraser-Westgarth … I just don’t see where an opposing team looks at that and thinks “wow, we might have to watch out for those guys.” I don’t get it. I’ve gotta wonder what the players themselves are thinking about this. It all looks and smells like desperation, to me.

    I’ve tried to give Terry Murray as fair of a deal as I possibly could. I knew this team would have trouble gelling as a cohesive group, and that the adjustment of certain roles would not be easy to overcome. But, this sort of player deployment has never been Murray’s strong point, and it’s fair to say that this element of his coaching has reached its nadir. It might be time to go behind the woodshed and do what needs to be done, Old Yeller style.

    • Hey man! Welcome to the dark side (or the light side depending how you view it)!

      Look, it’s baffling to me as well. I hate being a negative nancy (fire Terry Murray) but in reality, I want to see these changes improve the team, I really do. More often than not, Murray’s (shitty) style of coaching and (lack of) motivational speeches to his team just don’t seem to be cutting it anymore.

      I loved him for what he did with this team, we just need someone else who can take this team to another level, that’s all. I don’t hate Murray, I appreciate what he has done. Like school, you have to grow up and move on every few years. You don’t stay with the same teacher your whole life, you don’t stay with the same coach as well. New ideas, new energy and a different frame of mind can and would hopefully change some things in Lalaland.

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