This is how the L.A. Kings practiced today.
You may recall I have hoped / wished / dreamed of a Johnson-Voynov pairing several times on this site. Bluntly, I didn’t think I would get it. Well, somebody was listening or it was total coincidence…my guess is the latter. While I am excited to see those two together, I look at the forward lines and pull a Wil Wheaton sound effect…derp.
First, Brown should stay on left wing. The Terry Murray “he can adjust during the game” is dumb. Adjusting on the fly works on a few plays during a game, if the linemates are communicating and used to it, but Murray makes it sound like it’s a piece of cake. It isn’t. Brownie has shown the left side is his strong side, he is holding on to the puck, not releasing it like a hot potato from bad angles, demonstrating patience and resolve by going after rebounds. To switch back to the right unwinds two games of momentum he has built. That is not smart coaching. That is not using your assets where they perform at their best.
Instead, the top line should be Brown-Kopitar-Richardson. That is a quick line and Richardson has got to be itching to get back into things. His speed and fire-plug mentality will complement Brown and I do believe Richardson will be the beneficiary of some rebounds from Dustin’s new-found ability to find the net from the center of the ice. Remember also Brown is a right-handed shot and Richardson is a lefty so both will be on their forehands on their respective strong side.
The second line was Gagne-Richards-Stoll. Keep Gagne on the left, put Stoll in the middle and add Williams to the right. Gagne-Stoll-Williams. Gagne and Williams will have chemistry. They are similar players. Terry Murray should not place Penner on the second line and not on the left side anymore. That leads us to…
The third line should be Clifford-Loktionov-Penner. “Wait, what?” You would never know it, but Penner is a goal scorer. Penner is a left hand shot. The left side is not working for him. He looks lost. Put him on his strong side. Elevate his confidence by giving him more shooting opportunities as well as open up the center of the ice to cross ice passes down low and one timers. This keeps Penner on his forehand (not his backhand) when making plays and firing pucks.
The fourth line can be a combination of what we have left. My preference is Westgarth-Fraser-Lewis. No Ethan Moreau? No Ethan Moreau.
Categories: L.A. Kings News