Killer Instinct

What’s in a face? Do the eyes betray the soul? Perhaps in poker. This in not poker.

This is hockey.

Look into this man’s eyes. This man is a killer.

Photo by Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

What about Mike Babcock? Look in his eyes and you know that Mike Babcock will bite your fucking dick off if it helps his team win.

Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette

Dan Bylsma is a goofy looking guy, some may even say his eyes are sweet, but there is a steely reserve there and he will do what it takes to win.

Photo by John E. Sokolowski, US Presswire

Photo by John E. Sokolowski, US Presswire

Do you want to get in between this man and winning? I don’t. I don’t think he lost his hair naturally. He was practicing his death stare in the mirror one day and his hair just fell off, a casualty of his intensity.

Photo by David Zalubowski/Associated Press

And this man, Randy Carlyle, he of the unemployment line. He may look silly, his head horribly misshapen, but he has the distinct look of a man whose will to win supersedes ‘the bounces’.

Photo by Kirby Lee/US Presswire

And there are so many more examples. Google Pat Burns images, or Barry Trotz, or Dave Tippett, or Peter Laviolette. Shit, Guy Boucher looks like he just got out of prison. Joel Quennville, Jacques Lemaire, Patt Quinn, hell, Toe Blake looks like he was plotting murders with the mafia when he wasn’t coaching hockey games.

And then there is Terry Murray.

Photo by The Royal Half stealing from FSN Broadcast

A man who consistently looks like he is about to cry. Well, that’s when he isn’t looking perplexed.

His eyes betray his character.

Terry Murray will not do whatever it takes to win. He will try, and shrug if he fails.

Look, Murray is a great thinker of the game. Maybe thinking can win baseball games.

You may say that a coach doesn’t need a killer instinct, that it is something only the player’s must possess. So OK, let’s talk about the players. Does Anze Kopitar have a killer instinct? He makes killer pancakes, but that’s not really the same thing. Does Dustin Brown? He’s got a killer Kings tattoo on his ass, but I hope he’s not flashing it around the locker room. I’m not sure that they do and I lean towards ‘NO’. I know Mike Richards has it. I know Matt Greene and Rob Scuderi have it. I am positive Penner does not. Kopitar and Brown are sponges, they are the ultimate coach’s players. Show these two a coach who has a killer instinct and I guarantee you that he will imbue it onto these players. Give them a coach that will bite a guy’s dick off and I’ll show you two players who will rub their taints in his prickless face afterwards.

Look at some of the best players in the league. Is Crosby the best in the world without that look in his eye, the one that embodies his drive and tells everyone around him that he will accept nothing short of victory? I think not. Is Jonathan Toews the most talented guy on the ice? Not by a mile. But he’s fucking scary and there is ice in his veins and a burning rage within him that is only sated by being on the winning side.

A team takes on the attitude of its coach. Are you happy with a team sucking on the tit of a man with nothing but cold milk to give, or do you want a leader who regurgitates intensity? Should our team identity be molded in the light of lucky bounces, shot mentality and third period lead scared, defensive shells? Maybe, just maybe, a mantra of domination is in order. But for one to pass on dominance one must embody the killer instinct. It must be so a part of a person that it can’t escape the eyes.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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42 replies

  1. Great post, I’ve been talking about how a team’s attitude comes from their for a while. look at the Kings, they play emotionless, stoic, just like Terry. Now look at Pittsburgh, they’re full for fire, and jump, and energy, just like Bylsma. This is what is needed more than anything. The Kings have the tools, they are more talented than a team like Phoenix, yet Phoenix wins more and plays with more passion, why? It’s simply a change of attitude that’s needed, a new voice, new tone. A lot can be said about the “system”, but until a fire gets lit under some asses, no system will work. Hockey is a game of emotion more than any other, that will to win, that killer instinct is necessary. You can have all the talent in the world, but with out that fire and will you’ll fail. Just look at Vancouver, all talent, no heart, no cup.

  2. Boy, is JT going to have a good time with this article. I am grabbing the popcorn.

    • Look in this man’s eyes. Look in them. Intensity. This man is a killer! When the Boogeyman goes to sleep, he checks his closet for this man. When this man does push-ups, he pushes the Earth down.

      He’s even won a Stanley Cup!

      Oh wait. We had that guy. And nobody likes him anymore. :(

      • I had a paragraph in the article that I ended up taking out. It semi addressed this by saying Murray was the right coach at the time, a young dumb team that needed a coddler, a patient man. Murray was great at that.

        Ultimately very few coaches can keep going with a team forever. It takes the special blend the only the few have to not eventually lose a team no matter what style they employ.

        Also, not all killer instincts are created equal. As with any powerful force this earth has seen, it’s abuse can be a path to destruction. Lots of these guys eventually burn themselves out and their act gets old. Their style breaks down just Murray’s does or a player’s body eventually deteriorates. I know I am making a broad statement with my article, but one coach doesn’t negate that.

        I am not saying that any coach who yells is good. I left Bodreau out for a reason, even though before his act got old with Washington he did some great things. Just as Murray did some great things here. I am not uplifting anger and condemning calm in totality here. I am saying two things. An intense coach is more likely to achieve success than a less intense coach. The Kings are ready for and need that type of coach.

        • ‘Just as Murray did some great things here. I am not uplifting anger and condemning calm in totality here. I saying two things. An intense coach is more likely to achieve success than a less intense coach. The Kings are ready for and need that type of coach’

          There is the truth of it.. not that Murray is a bad coach..but he has outlived his
          time..
          GO KINGS GO!!!

  3. nice angle Surly..
    GO KINGS GO!!!

  4. That killer instinct , a seemingly unquenchable fire that burns inside is the best asset any leader (in sports or otherwise) can have. It’s not always the West Point Grad that is the guy who leads his platoon thru succesful battles. It’s the guy who instinctively knows how to lead. It’s something you’re born with, a gift that comes naturally. It’s a trait that is required for a great leader and on the field of sport, a prized commodity. It’s the main reason DL traded for Richards, because he’s seen him since 16 and Richards has played with the fire in his eyes since he was as kid. He’s not a pure skater like Gagne or a pure goal scorer like Giroux or Crosby, but what he has , that predator in his blood, you can’t learn , you either havfe it or you don’t.
    When DL said/says that Richards is oen of the elite competitors in this league, that is what he meant. When Danny Briere says Richards is a natural born leader, you can see it in his eyes , that what’s he means. When Pete DeBoer, his Junior Coach said the only fault he had with Richards during those years was the ‘the kid hated losing more than he liked winning; he’d brood on it long after a game. He’d get angry about it’
    It’ s funny that that ‘killer’ instinct is something that an OHL scout said recently was a reason Richards was a prized commodity in juniors. That it set him apart from other more naturally gifted players. That even then (like now) he struck fear in the hearts on those unfortunate souls who Richards was chasing down the ice after a puck. Nobody liked playing against him, because of what he brought, that beast unleashed. They still don’t. Because Mike Richards has a mean streak inside him a mile wide and when that nasty comes out, it gives the edge ot any team he plays for. When he’s pissed off , he’s one of toughest players in the league to play against. And there is no off switch, he doesn’t know how to quit.

    I do like that in a coach to a degree, but not when it’s overkill.. I lived thru the Keenan era and he let it consume him and it ruined him as a coach toward the end. It tuirned into a bully in his latter days with the Flyers and it demoralized the team. Sometimes that’s a hard line to walk, learning to separate the degree to which yoi turn that fire on if you are a coach. Scotty Bowman is an exmaple of a coach who was very smart and knew just the right degree to use it.
    TM doesn’t have it, but Richards does (and Green adn esp. Scuderi, I have noticed that. and that’s a great trait for Dman…you need to have the oppositon fear you and the zone)

    Richards usees it well, mostly due to the fact for him, that fire fuels his game, giving him Goals and assists, it drives his physical play and has turned him into the most lethal penatly killer in the league.
    The thing is, he uses it to lead, it’s his best trait in the leadership area. it’s what makes him a great captain, he will do anything to win and he doesn’t care who he as to go against or to what extent. He will defend hjis teammates to whatever means possible if they are wronged. That goes A LONG way in a locke rroom.
    I think it may have been the reason that so many of the Kings players were upset when he got hurt and acted on it. They know without question, Richards has their back at all times.
    It does affect the teams he plays for and usually, it binds them to him and they will elevate their play; they want to go to war for him.
    Since TM ,does not have this, and if there is no coaching change, Richrds will take it upon himself to do that.

    • You are right that too much of one thing is bad, even the killer instinct intensity. Byslma walks the line beautifully. It’s really fantastic. I just can’t think of too many coaches who have won Cups whose scales weren’t tipped more towards intensity than calm.

      • …Byslma walks the line beautifully. It’s really fantastic…
        Boy does he ever. I was awed and amazed at what he accomplished last year with his two best players gone for the better part of the year. He motivated that team on a nightly basis to be consistent and have a hunger. They simply wanted it more than the other teams. That’s why they are the best team in the league, not only hasn’t he lost that, but they are still playing at that level for the most part and now have Malkin and Crosby back. And he manages to keep them all playing for each other. Really good work.

        • And the offensive system he has implemented. Holy shit, does it ever play to the team’s strength. If you took the L.A. Kings and Murray’s system and turned it on its head, you have the Penguins – literally. It is attack mentality from the word go and he didn’t change a thing when Crosby was out. If anything, the D2 was activating. Watching Penguins games throughout the year (as many as I can fit in), I sit and wonder, isn’t this exactly what the NHL intended the game to become with the new rules? Fast and fierce at both ends of the ice?

  5. There was a lot of dick biting references in this article…what’s up with that Surly? You say it once to make a point. The second time, one has to wonder if you are implying something more.

    • It’s a call back. When I write something that makes me laugh I try to use it again. It’s not randomly used the second time. That would be troublesome.

      “Mike Babcock will bite your dick off.”

      Yada yada yada.

      “After a game I bet Penner just wants to bite into a good dick.”

      Or maybe.

      “Guy Boucher looks like a chewed up dick.”

      Then you would have cause for real concern.

  6. That’s it! I’m punching Murray in face, and putting him on the IR. If Dean won’t do anything, I will. I will bite his dick off if I have to.

  7. Under every Terry Murray pic you could fit the caption “What, me worry?”

  8. I keep trying to ignore it, but this whole “I won’t motivate them” philosophy is really starting to bother me. I understand the position, but that doesn’t mean I agree with it. I suppose his feeling is like that of conditioning, at this level it is their responsibility to be well conditioned, that is part of their job— as is motivating yourself. But leaders motivate the men under them, that is the nature of leadership. There’s a reason great leaders give great speeches, it’s part of their nature. In time of war, do generals and heads of state say “Let the grunts motivate themselves”? Hell no, they say bold incredible things that motivate men to go slay some krauts. Men need to be motivated, be it money, pussy, or glory but men need outside stimulus beside themselves. The Kings need a man who’ll scream about the “six inches in front of your face” not the man who says “figure it out yourself.”

    Hell, remember when Melrose dumped huge chunks of change on Tony Robbins to come in and motivate the team? And motherfucker had the greatest player in the history of the game in the dressing room and still knew that guy needed motivation. And the result? Our only trip to the finals. (for argument sake, we’ll ignore the next two years)

  9. “Stealing” is such a bad word… I prefer misappropriation.

  10. I caught this rare photo of TM in a one on one coaching session with one of our players!!

  11. Really good article. I also like Guy Boucher.
    For many reasons (the tiny little blurb I saw from 24/7 home box office special) I don’t care for Bruce Boudreau. I think there is a big difference between intensity and spewing invectives all over the place.

    As for TM, more than the lack of intensity, there are sometimes when it doesn’t seem to me that he’s totally comfortable behind the bench. In practices and even interviews he seems comfortable. But I don’t get that same feeling all the time during the games.

  12. I think Laviolette was photo-worthy. ;-) It’s fun to watch Laviolette flip his shit too. He does yell and sometimes it makes things more interesting.

    http://media.philly.com/images/20091205_inq_fside05-c.JPG

    http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/09X8dH27CTcCd/x610.jpg

    Either photo is good. =D

    (For the record, as a Carolina Hurricanes fan, I love Lavi. And I miss him. And I know what it is to have a sucktastic coach. Y’all have my deepest sympathy.)

  13. Whenever I saw Scotty Bowman on the bench, I always think of this:

    http://www.nxfansite.net.au/indexpage/mutley.jpg

  14. Brown isn’t much of a leader as far as I can tell, but to say he doesn’t have a killer instinct is a huge stretch. He definitely has a very killer instinct IMO.

    • I’m willing to say he does, or that he can. Like I said, I’m not sure with either of them and just lean towards no.

      By saying I’m not sure he does have a killer instinct, I don’t mean to say that he is at the other end of the extreme or even close to it.

      • I definately think he does..he just shows maturity and Leadership by maintaining composure a team needs to have and witness. But I often see Kopi or Green going out to talk to the refs. I personally think this is to keep Brownie from going off on a Ref for some of their awful calls amd rulings. He is as competitive as they come with Booko instinct. IMO.
        GO KINGS GO!!!

  15. I think Murray is a better teacher than he is a leader. When these kids (Kopitar, Brown, etc.) were young, they needed a good teacher. But now, school is over and this team needs a leader. Murray isn’t it.

  16. Seems to be unanimous then. TM more a teacher than a leader.
    Ed Olczyk on Versus was talking about the Montreal Canadiens asst who was fired this year, and said the guy is really good and someone who has a lot to offer. Yeah, it’s Perry Pearn. Don’t know much if anything about him.

  17. I think Murray always looks like he is trying to remember if he left the oven on. “Did I leave it on?” <—— Most of the game.
    "Oh, dang it. I did. Shucks" <— this is the face he makes when one of the Kings takes a bad penalty.
    I want to shake him. Smack him around. Scream at him to do something. Aaarrrggghhh!

  18. Bows in awe of brillant post.

  19. My wife says Terry Murray looks like this

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