L.A. Kings Post Game: Congratulations To Terry Murray, Mission Accomplished

Freud didn’t believe in coincidences. Neither does God, if you believe in him. I find coincidences revealing.

Tonight, Terry Murray finally got the L.A. Kings where they belong under his tutelage.

After tonight’s game, the L.A. Kings are the worst offensive team in the National Hockey League.

Let that sink in.

Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards (for all but 2 games), Simon Gagne, Justin Williams, Dustin Brown, Dustin Penner, Jack Johnson, and Drew Doughty and we are 30th out of 30 teams in goals per game.

This was not easy. It took painstaking effort to get us to this place. Please take a moment to give Terry Murray a round of applause. I’ll wait…

But, but, but, the bounces, we are not getting the bounces! Oh? That second L.A. Kings goal Justin Williams scored sure as hell looked like a damn lucky bounce off the glass to me. Didn’t it to you? The puck is small, the ice is slippery, the players are on skates, every team gets good and bad bounces. Good teams make their own luck.

Bad coaches (read: Terry Murray) deflect, talk about “effort”, “pucks to the net”, bounces, happy horse shit that he has regurgitated all season and which avoid the fundamental, indisputable and self evidence fact. The L.A. Kings are the worst offensive team in hockey.

Anyone in the media or L.A. Kings employee, Rich Hammond, have the courage to ask Terry Murray, “Coach, the L.A. Kings are 30th in goals per game. What responsibility, if any, do you place on yourself versus player execution?” Sounds like a fair question, no?

I doubt it. Perhaps Helene will.

You know what else I doubt? That anything will change. Are you reading, Mr. Lombardi? We are losing faith in you.

Categories: L.A. Kings News

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47 replies

  1. i was at the watch party and got to ask a question with fsw. my question was “in light of all the coaching shake ups in the league and the kings offense not producing when do you think its time the kings will look into new coaching opportunities?” and surprise surprise my question was not shown

    • ha ha. You never stood a chance.

    • Since you were there did you ask that sap who did get on TV how much he got paid to tow Murray’s line?

      • actually he was sitting right next to us and later i was like “tell me i didnt hear you actually defend TM and his system” and he backtracked a lil and was like nah i just said i didnt completely hate it. i dropped it at that point cause it was clear he felt stupid

  2. Losing? I’ve already lost it. Lombardi is now the biggest problem with the Kings.

  3. I decided to take a peak with 3 minutes left (to take a break from studying) and man I had a bad feeling when the announcer said one minute remaining. I was right. As you stated at the top, how can we struggle to score with those types of players on our team?? Its mind blowing.

  4. Only good thing I can say about Terry Murray, and I meant to write this after the Sharks game, was that when things go “right” there is something good that comes out of it. That Sharks game, very similar to the 3-0 victory last year, they completely shut down the Sharks for 2 periods. Thats one of the best forechecking teams in the laegue and they exited the zone better than anyone.

    It still took Quick stealing tthe game in the 3rd for them to win, granted, because Murray is terrible at coaching with the lead, but… I mean in a way that game is just as damning as any. Everything goes right, it’s the best game the team can possibly play under the coach, and the goaltender still has to steal it in the 3rd?

    That’s damning.

    But, for the first two periods, that was great, and I give Murray credit for that. The Sharks are extremely hard to exit the zone on. Having a good defense helps, but I saw specific tactical things Murray did that paid huge dividends.

    #1. Dropping a 2nd defenseman below the net on the weakside during breakouts. The Sharks forecheck so hard down the boards and basically “down” period, its very hard to exit it out that way. By putting a dman weakside behind the net, not only can the Kings reverse it while under pressure, but they can reverse it cleanly. Ive seen other teams try to stop under the Sharks forecheck and reverse it, and its a disaster. You can reverse it behind your net, but if someone isnt already there with their stick poised, the puck will rim around the boards for an extra second, and the Sharks will be there to muddy things up and create havoc. Murray in my estimation has the best strategy against that in the NHL. No one seems to be able to play a quieter game with the Sharks.

    #2. Having quick stop rimarounds like crazy. This has also stopped stimey the Sharks forecheck as insignificant as it sounds.

    #3. I cant put my finger on it specifically, but like I said, he gets them playing a quiet game. Normally against teams like the Sharks it feels like they are everywhere, and the game is moving so fast, and youre constantly under pressure. Its almost as if Murray finds some way to have the Sharks play sleepy. Of course theyre not but its how it feels.

    Maybe because I watch the Sharks so much I overvalue Murray in this capacity. He clearly doesnt do as well against other teams (and even against the Sharks he doesnt do that well in results, Im just impressed at how well he does when it is going right).

    Anyway, thats the one thing you lose with Murray, but yeah, its time for a new coach.

  5. Ah! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

  6. But, I also think its easy to pile on the coach, when who is the guy really behind everything? Dean Lombardi. He hired the coach. Hes the one who hasnt fired him yet. Hes the one obsessed with hard-working veterans and hard-working two-way players in general just as much as Murray (whether he’s signing every Ethan Moreau type guy he can find or failing to draft real top-end elite pure offense guys).

    He took over years ago, and this team still does not have a top line left wing (or right wing). No top line wings. Its hard to be good without top line wings. Thats on the GM. I can pick apart the 3rd line and Matt Greene and a few things, all of which have problems, but the #1 thing is having no elite snipers. Its hard to win without them. Thats Dean Lombardi.

    • 3Team, I remember responding to one of your posts the other day that spoke to me. Well, same here. I was personally a big DL supporter. But that’s changing in the last year.

      I totally agree with you. Some GM’s are plain poor, some are excellent. To me the problem with Lombardi is he hits extremes. Very good, then really poor. I’m not convinced that his coaching decisions have been very good. To his credit he’s made some excellent trades. JJ, JW, MR. All excellent.

      In terms of building the team, good to have a point of view to build from the back end out. However, to the almost total exclusion of attention to wingers? In thinking about it yesterday, only then did it come to me that as much of a priority as goal and d was, it should have been spread equally to finding someone to play with Kopitar. Well, he’s been here for five full seasons, yet Still, no one who really complements
      Kopi. One can talk about Toffoli as much as one wants, but no guarantee he’ll even be anywhere but Manchester next year. So you have to wait Seven years to get a goal scorer?

      My next points I’m gonna save for a separate post below.

    • Now to address more fully your comment: ‘but the #1 thing is having no elite snipers. Its hard to win without them. ‘

      Last night they showed a clip of David Perron’s first goal since coming back from a concussion. Was on Versus. WOW!! Vs. the Blackhawks. He has the puck to the right of the goalie. Not a great angle, about 3 ft out. So he holds on to the puck, shifts his position laterally like twice, shifts his weight and angle until he has an opening to shoot at, and then hits the
      small opening.

      Yay, I found it. You guys can see for yourself.

      That is what amongst other things you never see from the Kings. Not even close. Nevermind that the Blues also have TJ Oshie, Steen etc. But it’s not just the Blues. Seems like half to two thirds of the nhl teams have at least one player who is a pure goal scoring winger.

      And then when you see a 2nd round pick like Kyle Clifford not go 6 inches more to avoid an icing, it really makes one ponder the question: what exactly is DL’s philosophy in drafting forwards. You draft Kozun Acevedo even Moeller, smaller guys who are probably never gonna make it with the Kings. They don’t seem to fit the philosophy. So why bother.

      I believe it was you in fact who responded to my comments about the four first round picks that DL was responsible for turning into Lewis, Hickey and Dustin Penner. It’s coming back to me now.
      Yeah, that just isn’t gonna get it done. It’s simply way too competitive in the nhl and in the west with all the good teams there are to squander picks like that. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it. The team doesn’t have speed thru the neutral zone and the skill level isn’t up there with the best teams.

      Do the Kings have some good players. I think thats clear to everyone. Of course they do. But that isn’t enough to compete against teams that have been built like SJ, Vanc and Chicago.
      Yet somehow, someway Brian Burke manages to turn the Leafs around in three seasons, with astute trades and bold moves.

      • I think the Penner trade drained the resources necessary to complete the build. Looks like the Kings might squeeze half of a decent season out of Penner in exchange. As for the smaller players I can’t help to think they were chosen to be intriguing pieces to sweeten trade packages.

  7. Lets see…1 minute, puck pulled off boards, sent it up the middle, shot, save, faceoff, score.

    I’ve done that (the board thing, scoring not so much)…several times in fact..my first year of playing…

    One missing link is one timers…Kings defense always hesitates. Sometimes good, most times not.

    The team had become too fragile to play a period like that and loose…more so after the Montreal deflation. More and more this looks like a coaching issue.

    How ironic that Penner and the Kings continue to move in opposing directions.

  8. I have been a Kings fan since 1977. I have never been more discouraged about the Kings than I am right now! Thanks Terry! Thanks Dean!

  9. Went to KingsInside for some vintage post game Murray…looks like the site is as down as the Club.

  10. The 2 goal output would be no problem if the most any team could score on us was 1.

    Also forgot to give praise S&S to another gem on a previous post. Something about a dude getting his cock cut off then said prickless dude rubbing his taint on somebody.

    • Typical Californian. A little snow and he goes ape shit.

      • @Bobby and/or Surly

        Guys, I don’t like to call attention to my posts. They are what they are. But, the little clip that I embedded – the goal by David Perron, to me says so much. It’s not just him. I see great goals scored lots on tv…. Bruins, Leafs, Pens, Philly, even NYR, SJ, Chic, Det and so on.

        And many of them are sort of quick strike goals the result of not just carrying the puck to the net, but also the skill to create some magic with it once you get it there.

        And that’s the frustration for me seeing an offense that looks in need of an enema. It’s rather sad, not to mention boring to watch.
        So I just thought that clip was an example of what it would be nice to see once in a while.
        What was the last time (other than a Richards one timer from his knee) that we saw a Kings goal and said, wow, great goal?

  11. As I said previously…

    The Kings gain Mike Richards and Simon Gagne…and are LAST in the entire league in scoring.

    The Flyers lose Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, which is 60-70 goals per season, and they are FIRST in the entire league in scoring. (Yes, they did add Jagr, but he will not make up for the goals lost from Richards and Carter alone…and besides, fuck Jagr)

    Just look at these two things for a second. Kings add potentially 50-60 goals to their lineup…but are actually doing WORSE in scoring goals…
    Philly lose 60-70 goals from their lineup, and IMPROVED.

    Hmm. What could this mean?
    Even Lombardi can’t be this blind.
    This has gone beyond the point of being ridiculous. We are entering insanity.

    • Ryan, I’d like very much to think that even Lombardi can’t be this blind. And, while I always point out that he has done some great things for this team (unlike the people who don’t like him), he also has to take imo a lot of responsibility for A) never having really found a fit on the wing for Kopitar, and B) for the third and fourth line mixes that are some combination of Lewis, Richardson, Fraser, Hunter, Moreau, and Clifford.

      I mean, if he isn’t responsible for them then who exactly is?
      I agree entirely with you that it’s gone beyond ridiculous when each game you think it will take a virtual miracle for anyone of the above mentioned six players (seven including Stoll) to score a goal. Beyond TM there is clearly something not as precise as I’d like to think in his evaluation of players at some level.

  12. Other teams formula for beating the LA Kings…The simple 1-2 punch.

    1. Score 2 or more goals.
    2. Go back to #1. Even though they’ve got some really talented players, they find it extremely difficult to put more than 2 goals in the net.

    Last in the NHL for scoring and TM will still have a job and things will go on business as usual. Fucking gayer than a 3 dollar bill.

  13. Terry Murray: “We’ve got to get through it. We’ve got to get back to work tomorrow. We’ve got a big game coming up now. We have to move on and get ready for Minnesota.’’

    Oh great. Who’s looking forward to that. Maybe I can schedule my root canal then.

    Blurry Murray – time to scurry.

  14. The flukey goal on a strange bounce giveth;, the flukey goal taketh away

    If you can’t score more than 2 against the Ducks, you deserved to lose. We deserved that loss.

    Why does being a Kings fan have to hurt so much? (And, not in the John Cougar Mellancamp way.)

  15. I have a theory about Terry Murray. As a D-man in the NHL, he scored 4 goals on 1.5% shooting, which equals approximately 266 shots. To him, a goal is an ephemeral thing. Shoot hundreds of times, and 4 will go in. To him, there is no influencing a goal. You shoot, and if the hockey gods smile, it goes in. This is his offensive philosophy in a nutshell: “We shot plenty, good game, hope some of them go in next game, they’re bound to, right?”

    • It’s what you get when you think you’re ahead of the curve by using stats to predict behavior, and totally miss the point. Simply getting more shots on net isn’t going to make this team more successful, especially when you can’t get into a position with the puck to get good shots on net.

  16. How do you score 2 goals against the Ducks??

    1 ) Penner will backcheck into the Neutral zone, body up and strip an unsuspecting duck player of the puck, then quickly chuck the puck EAST/WEST to the far weak side of the neutral zone.
    2 ) Kopitar will be designated puck recoverer in the neutral zone and will drive centerlane, while Penner will charge into the offensive zone wide, keeping up with the speed of Kopitar, to recover any missed shot wide of the net.
    3 ) When Penner recovers such wide missed shots, our Defence activates and drives to the net down the middle for a wide open shot.
    Do any of these tactics resemble our current Murray / Kompon,
    30th best offensive scheme???? So we can say the goal at the end of the 2nd period was totally created, improvised and carried out by our PLAYERS. Players 1 Coaches 0

    1 ) Turn over the puck in the offensive zone, one player chase their defenseman around the backside of the net, everyone else clog the neutral zone and yell ” Look Out ” at their defenseman. This will cause the glass to shake and vibrate!!!!
    2 ) This also will cause the defenseman to panic and clear the puck off the glass rather than skate or pass it out. The vibrating glass will kick the puck back into the play where the player chasing will recover the puck and drive to the net.
    3 ) One player will be needed at this point, to enter the zone for a backhanded flip pass, that needs to bounce!!! This will distract the Duck defense, because they like juggling circus acts…..Stoll may be perfect, so practice your puck juggling!
    4 ) Now we try a real special move, the puck flipper will wheel behind the awe struck Duck defenders, and keep his stick down.
    5 ) Do not go behind the net, do not try to screen the goalie, do not in any way set up for the offensive zone cycle. Stoll will stop the juggling and pass it backdoor before the gleeful Ducks know what happened.
    By design this makes about as much sense as anything Murray / Kompon could draw up. Players 2 Coaches 0
    BUT….they do draw shit up and it didn’t result in a fucking goal against the easiest team to score against, with a new coach who, hasn’t been turned inside out by our offensive prowness.


    Ok I have calmed down a bit now but I believe my point has been made. Now what are the answers to these questions? Bitching and moaning is not going to make us a better team, so what do we do moving forward? Maybe they need to go play paintball or go get ice cream as a team. Maybe a shot of Patron before the game to get them to relax.

    DL has done his part now the boys need to do theirs.

  18. What Sickens me most about the game last night!!!!!

    Benching Loktionov & Clifford in the 3rd period!!!!!
    WHY does this sicken me????

    Boyle, Purcell, Moulson, Moller

    We have lost these and soon to be many more young talented players due to our Coaches rath and standards.
    Penner brought his best for the Duck rivalry game, and within the short amount of time spent on the ice, I saw Clifford playing with a higher than usual intensity , and was rewarded by sitting out the entire 3rd period to play Moreau and Hunter, who have scored as many goals as Clifford combined. That should help the Big Red Dog’s confidence.
    Loktionov had Penner on his wing to start, but was quickly moved up to the Stoll line in the 1st period since he was obviously not liking the playing in Europe idea next season, and was inspired.
    Now Lokti has Moreau and Hunter flanking him, and during one offensive zone entry…see’s both of these guy’s comparing Orange County chicks to LA Chicks, and our weakside defenseman covered. He then does the unthinkable, he moves his feet and improvises to draw the man covering our d-man to him or get a centerlane drive…..the result….puck knocked out of the
    zone, but yet recovered easily by the stealthy Lokti.
    NO TURNOVER, NO HARM, NOTHING that we don’t see over and over from our multi-million dollar players, or our veterans, except they usually don’t recover the pucks themselves.
    But because Lokti tried something outside the box, which is his most attractive asset, and broke loose from the system, he was benched for the rest of the game, for the grinder Fraser.
    All these years of waiting for Lokti’s development and chance to get him into the offensive scheme, and he’s benched for loosing the puck, chasing it down himself, and resetting and starting over.
    Just like Boyle…Just like Moulson…Just like Purcell…and Just like Moller.
    We’ll label him Soft, not an NHL player, just like the rest
    We’ll throw him into a package deal for another tired veteran who at one point won a cup, scored 20 or threw a check.
    We’ll maybe package in Clifford, for another past 30 goal scorer and ulimately get NO value in the long run for the players we teach, build and hope for.
    We’ll marvel at how quickly they thrive on their new teams, with their new system and their new coaches.
    What we love about these prospects and young players is the fact that they possess something the team lacks, and that hope and talent are waiting for their chance in the wings.
    Why? Do we give up on these kids, because our current Coach does, has and the proof of this can be seen on other teams!

  19. … What disappoints me is the almost celebratory attitude I see here in the wake of a loss to the Ducks, of all teams, and the posts I see where people have stated that they are happy the Kings lost and will cheer for more losses until Murray is fired. I can’t really relate to that.

    The Kings gave up three goals last night.

    One of them was a giveaway from Quick. Obviously that one’s easy to forgive, because Quick has been so good this season, but it’s still tough to watch.

    The second goal was off of a faceoff in the defensive zone, where the Kings couldn’t change up due to an icing on the previous play, brought about by Clifford simply failing to execute a fundamental and not gaining the red line before he shot the puck into the Ducks’ zone.

    The third one was a crazy play I haven’t seen in years off of a faceoff that never would have been in the Kings’ zone in the first place had not Stoll started the Ducks’ attack late in the game by turning the puck over when he had time to look and clear the zone.

    I don’t know how someone can walk away from this game complaining about Terry Murray, but there it is. I’m sure I’ll hear (and have heard already) a number of reasons that have nothing to do with last night’s game or the game before or the game before or the game before about why he should go, and go immediately. The Kings lost this game because players failed to execute and the opposing goalie was very good – the story of this season, really. That’s how they lost the game against Montreal. That’s how they’ve usually been losing games.

    If the Kings had executed simple plays properly, and you throw out all the luck and goals off of crazy bounces, it’s a 1-0 win. I’m sure people would have still bitched, but a win’s a win.

    It’s amusing that I’ve been looked at as the “Murray apologist” when I’ve said time and time again that Murray is an average head coach, nothing special and nothing terrible. It’s not like I will shed a tear if he his let go, but I will also say and have said that the team will not find an instant solution by letting him go. As ever, I have had problems with the personnel moves he’s made with the roster he has, and how he’s handled the goalies. But – I know his system of hockey works. I’ve seen it work, time and time again. And, once the players start executing it on more of a consistent basis, they will see better results. Perhaps the players are in league to not play the game correctly in order to get the coach fired. I brought about this possibility earlier in the season. It would be sad if it was true, and reflect terribly on the professionalism (or lack thereof) of the players, but it might explain some of the funk they seem to be in.

    Or – it could just be one of those seasons where the puck just doesn’t seem to want to go in the net. I remember seeing a season like that, about twelve years ago, and it got a coach fired back then, too – a guy I admired, who was personally my favorite Kings’ coach of all time – Larry Robinson. What’s old is new again, I guess.

    • You honestly don’t see anything wrong with our overall team play? I don’t think this loss was Murray’s fault, but it’s frustrating to watch this team struggle offensively game after game. IMO it’s just another straw, although not yet the one that’s broken the camel’s back.

      Even during our latest wins there wasn’t really all that much to be happy about offensively. We won, but the problems that haunt us in our losses are still there.

      Also, how fucking retarded was it watching us go into a 1-3-1 type neutral zone trap when we were already down 2-0?

  20. All star break and then the real push for the top 8 seeds. DL believes the time is now or just around the corner, if not this year than if the Kings don’t at least reach somewhere near the cup finals in the next two seasons, AEG just spent a shit load of money for nothing. That seat he’s sitting on has got to be getting hotter and hotter.

    This team doesn’t need to be ranked #1 in the conference. Total # points doesn’t equal cup run. Caps blow shit up in the regular season but haven’t been back to the cup finals since 1998. The Flyers lost to the Blackhawks in 2010 and they were seeded 7th conference wise.

    If after the All star break or soon thereafter the Kings can’t find more ways to score more goals, any thoughts of going anywhere near the cup is just a fantasy.

  21. Can’t fire the players. Murray has done all he can do and his time is up. Yes, you can claim bad bounces and that the players aren’t executing or whatever. Fact of the matter is if Quick hasn’t been standing on his head the Kings would be right around where the Ducks are. 8-0-0 when scoring 3 goals this season. 0-9-1 when not leading after the second. PP is atrocious without MR which shows Kompon really had nothing to do with it. Soon as MR is gone they go right back to the outer perimeter bull shit they have been doing the past two years. Bottom line is when TM took over they were last in 5 on 5 scoring. 3 years later they are last in overall scoring. If you think this is all the players, you need to remove your head from your ass. This is a post from the Insider that cannot sum it up any better….

    ere are the Los Angeles Kings career average goals per 82 games, including this season:

    Gagne 31
    Kopitar 29
    Richards 25
    Penner 24
    Brown 22
    Williams 20
    Stoll 17
    Hunter 17
    Moreau 13
    Richardson 9
    Clifford 6
    Fraser 6
    Lewis 3
    Westgarth 1

    Doughty 11
    Johnson 7
    Martinez 7
    Mitchell 3
    Greene 2
    Scuderi 1

    Total 254 (3.10 per game)

    If everyone was just AVERAGE, that would be 3.10 goals per game over 82 games.

    Hunter and Moreau are the only ones that jump out as unrealistic, but Voynov, Loktionov and Parse should have been able to make up some of the 30 goals. Even if you cut them in half to 15 goals combined for all 5 players, that still results in 239 goals over 82 games or 2.91 goals per game.

    The Kings currently sit at 2.26 goals per game, dead last in the entire NHL. It’s not the roster. They only had to be average to get where they need to be, yet they are last in the NHL. Nobody had to have a career year or even a breakout season. The team has too much talent to be 30th in offense. It’s not just bad luck. It’s the culture that Lombardi has built and AEG needs to wake up if Dean is unwilling to.

    Do I want to see Dean go? No, I like what he has tried to build, but he is an extension of his coach and if he keeps the coach, then he is failing his players, ownership and fans.

    • … Welp.

      We have reached critical mass. This is it. The worst post.

      But at least it covers all of the silly LGK talking points! Perhaps it should go there. They would absolutely love this. LOVE it.

      There’s so much wrong with this, I don’t know where to begin. I should print this out, frame it, and hang it on my wall – with a little brass label over it that says “THE LGK FAN”.

  22. I’m really, really looking forward to the S&S reaction/response to the Dean Lombardi interview posted on kingsinsider today! Tear it apart Bobby! Get mad at it Surly!!

  23. I never got around to coming back here and seeign the responses to my comments and others. I just got finished reading 1/5 (so many comments on your blog Surly and Scribe!).

    Before I read the rest, just wanted to quickly respond to one person refuting my claims that the Kings dont have an elite goal scorer, who told me to check Gagne’s goal totals.

    <bSimon Gagne has 7 goals so far this year in 25 games. That means he is on pace to play 80 games, and the goal pace he is on for 80 games is 22. THAT IS NOT ELITE.

    I know some people want to believe the best in their team no matter what, but we cant ignore reality here. It will be a very good season from Gagne if he gets 25 goals. Its just a fact, thats not elite, and it doesnt qualify as top line wing production unless its accompanied by a ton of assists. For example, in only 73 games last season, Patrick Kane had 27 goals. Good, not amazing. But he had 46 assists, and a point per game for the season. Gagne is on pace for less than 50 points this season. Thats poor. Thats disappointing even for a 2nd line winger.

    So hes not the answer. Hes a good complimentary speedster/scorer. At this point in his career i would characterize him as a great guy to have as sort of your 7th forward, kind of like the Sharks used Devin Setoguchi last year, or the Bruins used Michael Ryder. But by no means is he a top line winger.

  24. Drew — great comments.

    You see other teams score more highlight or “sniper” or “skill” goals than the Kings because thats not how the Kings are built. Doesnt mean the Kings have no talent, which you mentioned, its the type of talent. Lombardi likes to talk about the Flyers a lot, and so does this blog about modeling play after them, but you cant because the teams are nothing alike. I think looking at the Flyers top line center vs the Kings, Claude Giroux vs Anze Kopitar, is a good metaphor for the differences between the two teams as a whole, actually.

    Claude Giroux is smaller, faster, more skilled in finesse, a better shooter, just a better player off the rush, period. Really a better player. But specifically, he is faster, he makes things happen through the neutral zone, creates offense off the rush, and really headlines and facilitates that whole high-octane offense the Flyers have.

    Kopitar, in terms of style of play, is a lot more like joe Thornton. Great along the boards, but more of a passive player who slows the game down. You wont see Kopitar score much off the rush, hell usually look to slow up rather than take it to the net, and when he does got at the net he doesnt have the best release or shot compared to Giroux. Hes not a high-octane player, Hes a player with more of an all-around skillset headlined by his size and puck-protection, combined that with great two-way hockey sense, and you have someone who can kind of control the game at both ends of the ice, play it at his pace, etc. And thats the whole Kings team, at least it was last year. Smyth also slowed the game down, dumped it in, and worked it behind the net. So did Handzus, Simmonds, basically the whole team, that was Terry Murray’s offense. Dump it and in and work the boards. Now the Kings have lost a lot of their size though, so I feel like they are in between. They have a bit more finesse skill than last year, but still not enough to play like the Flyers, and they have a lot less size than last year, so they cant play the size game anymore.

    Why dont the kings have enough finesse sill to play like the Flyers? Like you said Drew, it’s Dean Lombardi. I mentioned this too. He always drafts the gritty two-way guy instead of the all-skill guy. The Flyers go for all-skill. Dany Briere, Claude Giroux, the Kings have no one like these players. Holmgren just brought in another one in Matt Read who is very good. And its not just the forwards. Pronger, Timonen, Coburn, Carle.

    Giroux is a great sniper, 40 goal guy now that he has the opportunity. Briere has a 30 goal skillset. Jagr is still a monster talent, even without his top speed he still has elite size, hockey sense, hands, and a good shot. Another 30 goal guy. Thats three to the Kings. Riemsdyk is fast and we saw his talent last postseason, another guy who can do it off the rush (although he also has size). Voracek didnt put up big numbers in Columbus but hes a european skill guy (with size too). Hes another flashy type of skill player that the Flyers have a lot of and the Dean Lombardi seems to make a point to avoid. Matt Read plays almost the exact same way as Claude Giroux, just a lite version (but still very good). Hes been playing on their 2nd or 3rd line all season, but hes on pace for 37 goals.

    And then the defense, the Kings have two top offensive defenseman who create offense on the rush (and Voynov now I guess), the Flyers have four. Not that Coburn or Carle are as good as Doughty and Johnson, but the Flyers still have a more offensively oriented defense as a whole.

    But Drew, to really distill the issue, it’s too many two-way guys with good not great skillsets, like Dustin Brown, GOOD offensive player but nowhere near elite at really any skill on offense. Is his speed elite? Its good, but nowhere near tops. Hands? Doesnt have bad hands, but not elite. Shot? Pretty good shot actually, but probably not elite. And if it is thats the only area. Goal-scoring instincts, offensive hockey sense? Nothing standout there. Playmaking, passing? Same. Size? Hes gritty but hes not huge by any stretch of the imagination.

    So if he doesnt have an elite skillset, why would he be an elite offensive weapon?

    So when you look at the offense, or you compare this team, 30th in the NHL, to Philadelphia, 1st, the way I see it, the simplest way to sum up the problem is this: Dean Lombardi drafts/acquires all Dustin Brown’s (when we’re lucky), Paul Holmgren drafts/acquires Danny Briere’s.

    That and obviously having a scoring third line vs not having one.

    Last thing Ill say is, having Dustin Brown type players is great. There are many teams that really need a Dustin Brown and cant find one because they are rare. Its good to have them. But it cant be all you have. You need a mix of gritty Dustin Brown type two-way wingers, big two-way centers like Kopitar, and all-skill players like Briere and Giroux. Right now the Kings are missing that mix in their top 6, as well as anything in their bottom 6.

    Like I said in my other post, there are things I would like to nitpick on defense and stuff like that if I was running the team, but for the sake of simplicity, you can just leave it at needing better goal scorers on the wings, and a better third line. Its not even a subjective thing. Just look at stat line for wingers on contending teams, and the stat lines for the Kings top line wingers. 57 points from Justin Williams, etc, does not compare to the 80+ points contending teams get from their top line wingers.

    And thats it. Anze Kopitar needs at least one PPG winger to play with, preferably two. Right now he has zero. Whenever you talk about the Kings offense, that has to be #1 on the list. You can blame the coach and everything else too, but I dont necessarily think everyone realizes how big of an issue that is. A top line is where a team gets so much of their offense. The Vancouver Canucks coasted to #1 in the league last season in offense basically on the backs of their top 3 forwards (Ill just call them the top line even though Kesler played on the second). Your top line is extremely important. Just look at the Leafs. Why are they all of a sudden great at offense? Phil Kessel and Lupul are playing great. They went from having one top line player, Kessel, who underperformed, to two, both performing like top line players. And now they’re a top offense. Other top offenses in the league, Chicago with Toews, Kane, Hossa, Sharp — their depth is shit after that, they have Dan Carcillo playing in their top six because they have no more top 6 forwards, but theyre still fourth best on offense because of their top-end talent (who are also extremely speedy and skilled ala the Flyers). Washington with Ovechkin and Backstrom.

    So I think its pretty clear. The Kings are a team with good size (at lesat they were last year), and a good defense, and they play a good structured game with a lot of good defensive forwards as well.

    And thats why they are as good as they are.

    But the reason they arent any better is because they are also slow as hell, possibly the slowest team in the entire league, they have no elite snipers (not a single forward who scored 30+ goals last season), and a bottom-six with absolutely no talent on offense whatsoever past Jarret Stoll.

    9/10 hockey experts would probably tell you that speed is the single most important aspect to creating offense in the NHL. The Kings are terrible there as a team. Those experts would also mention depth; the Kings have a terrible bottom-six. They would also tell you its important to have goalscorers, guys you can rely on regularly to chip in goals even when things arent going well, who just find a way to keep putting in the net. The Kings dont have that either.

    So what do you expect? Really, for me, its no mystery why the Kings are a bad taem offensively. Its because they are a bad roster offensively. Dean Lombardi prioritized his team building from the goal out, and thats what hes done. This is a good defensive taem and a bad offensive team, just like its a good defensive roster and a bad offensive one. This is not a talented team offensively. I think some are having trouble realizing that because they are attached to their players, and this is more offensive talent than the Kings have had in awhile, so they think that means its good now. No, it used to be terrible, now its a little less bad, but still really bad.

    Thats how I see it, anyway. I actually dont think this team is that much more talented this year on offense than it was last year. Richards and Gagne were added, Smyth, Handzus, and Simmonds were lost. Richards is a clear upgrade over Handzus, but Smyth has actually been better than Gagne this year so far, and losing Simmonds it turns out was pretty much the same as losing the whole third line. If the Kings come out on top of that exchange despite losing an entire line so to speak, its still not by very much. And they were bottom 5 in offense last year, I see no reason why they shouldnt be this year.

  25. Ryan J. The Kings didnt add 50-60 goals. They added Mike Richards who scored 23 last year, and they lost Ryan Smyth who scored 23.

    They add 0 in that exchange.

    Simon Gagne is on pace for 22 goals this year, Simmonds scored 14 last year.

    That’s 8.

    And then there’s Handzus, replaced by Colin Fraser it would appear, where the Kings are probably going to lose 10 goals in that exchange.

    So the Kings really added 0-10 goals, maybe, in that exchange. But also because Simmonds managed his 14 goals without much PP time and Gagne doesnt, Gagne (or Richards) will actually take the PP time of Brown or someone like that, so for the goals they add, Brown will score less as a result (or if not Brown, Penner, or whoever, if you get the general idea).

    I think that right there is the key point a lot of Kings fans are missing. The Kings also lost players this offseason. Everyone focused only on adding Richards and Gagne, but people forget Smyth was one of the Kings best goal scorers, Handzus usually chipped in around 15 goals, Simmonds was one of the best third line players in the NHL.

  26. Ros SD,

    You cant take career averages. Goals used to be easier to score in general, not to mention injuries, players aging. Trent Hunter wont get you 17 goals from the third line or fourth, he might get you 5. Gagne hasnt gotten 31 goals since 2008-2009. Jarret Stoll gets you 17 goals when he gets more PP time and has decent wingers. Now his wingers and PP time are worse.

    Dustin Penner put up 25+ goals playing shimmy in Edmonton, for the worst team in the league that didnt bother playing defense.

    So you cant look at career averages. Its very misleading.


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