L.A. Kings Defense > Tampa Bay Lightning’s Offense

Dustin Penner. Pencakes. I should criticize him more often. What a game from the flying fridge. Hustle & heart, getting in front of the play, aggressive on the forecheck, back checking for goodness sake and burying one off a work, work, work play by Mike Richards who fed Penner the puck. I am going to enjoy this game for a couple of days but I still don’t believe he has it in him to do it on a consistent basis.

Anze Kopitar. Kopistar. Big Kop. Our young Joe Thornton. That deflection took a deft touch and kudos to Justin Williams timing his shot so well. It almost looked like a set play. Let’s see if we get that again.

Kyle Clifford. Redemption. After an aggressive but still undisciplined penalty, Cliffy made that breakaway look easy. Deke, tuck, and the patented Clifford goal celebration. Cliffy has looked like a different player under Sutter. Catch fire, Kyle. Our young Adam Graves.

But despite these three scoring the goals, the player that gets maximum love is Willie Mitchell.

Mitchell single-handedly broke up three great scoring chances and was the white on Stamkos’ rice when 91 got anywhere near the net. Willie has been the L.A. Kings’ anchor on defense and deserves tremendous credit for keeping the front of Jonathan Quick’s net cleared.

Tampa is a good offensive team but they came as advertised. When the Bolts started falling back below the top of the circle in their own zone and guarded nobody, they gave us options. Point shots, lateral seams, open lanes to “fall in”. Penner fell into one of those lanes and got his…someone help me out here, how many goals does Penner have? 5? Kopitar exposed the Lightning by sneaking behind their defense.

If there is one gripe I continue to have with every L.A. Kings player, it is the hesitation in the offensive zone. On D, our players are quick acting. The passes are short and without thought. When we have the puck on a breakout, there is no pause, the skater is either moving his feet or passing the puck. When we get in the offensive zone, we stop skating. The moment our feet stop, the defense closes in. When the passes connect and the recipient (especially the wingers) have the puck, they hesitate too much. Have lane, shoot the puck. Don’t have lane, move your feet with it or make the pass until a lane opens up. So often, “fast” teams aren’t fast skating. They just move the puck quickly which gives the illusion of speed. L.A. does not move the puck quickly enough. When you give the D and the goaltender time to set and they wait for your shot, your odds of scoring drop with every passing 10th of a second. Get pucks to the middle of the ice and then pass, shoot, score. That’s the cardinal rule to a consistent offense.

Scribe’s Three L.A. Kings stars:

3. Dustin Penner

2. Anze Kopitar

1. Willie Mitchell

Tonight’s obligatory babe of the evening, Zooey Deschanel

Next up on Thursday, the other Florida team.


Categories: L.A. Kings News

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31 replies

  1. High five for Willie..he is so solid..love that guy!
    Very cool for Cliffy..nice skate..nice puck handling.
    Pens..how can that not make you smile!
    Good lead protection in the third.
    GO KINGS GO!!!

  2. … It’s funny that the broadcasters mentioned Tampa as being poor defensively. Maybe they meant it in a simplistic way, combining defense and goaltending, but Tampa actually has a pretty damn good defensive team 5-on-5, and the Kings only got 18 shots in the game today in those situations.

    The Kings were pretty fortunate to get the Kopitar goal – I don’t want to call that one fluky because it DID look like a planned play, but that’s the kind of goal you get once or twice a season.

    I thought Scuderi’s brilliant heads-up pass to Clifford and the resulting goal turned the game around. It looked like things were slipping away, and the Kings were headed for another 2-1 loss.

    Richards did make a nice play to keep it alive and get it over to Penner. It’s nice to see that line get one for a change.

    Next up on Thursday, the other Florida team.

    … Florida’s weaker defensively but better in the net. They dominated the Kings in L.A., even though they came out on the wrong end of the score. They have a lot of speed; I fear them more than most teams as they’re the proverbial “bad matchup” for the Kings.

    Our young Adam Graves.

    … Hmmm. That’s a really good call. I do think Clifford is on that career path, and if he can develop the way Adam did, the Kings should be thrilled.

  3. I hope we resign WM and Scuderi. They are the key to our defense imo.

    • … I think the Kings would be better off not signing Mitchell. He’s not getting any younger, and making room for Martinez and Voynov to play on a permanent basis makes more sense to me. Martinez is ready and I like his game; he’s not going to dazzle offensively but he can chip in here and there, and he’s better defensively than his basic numbers would suggest. Bumping Martinez up also means Drewiske would be the seventh defenseman and also leaves options open for some other guys to be promoted from the minors.

      • I think you’ve gotta re-sign Mitchell for at least 2 more years. The guy is a rock and I don’t think the kids are nearly at that level of maturity and decision making ability. The experience from years on D that Mitchell brings is huge and DD and Jack can still learn from him. If you loose him youve just gotta replace him with another solid experienced D. I’d resign Scuds also but it should be for less $$. If anybody on D goes it should be Green, we’d just need to replace his hitting. Otherwise I think the D is very solid

        • … Scuderi’s signed for this season and next season. Greene’s signed for another two seasons after this one. They’re not going anywhere, unless the Kings feel like getting ripped off in a trade again.

          The Kings might be able to trade Johnson if another team is silly enough to give back something of any real value.

          If Johnson stays, there’s four defensemen already. There’s Martinez and Voynov, who you’d like to develop. There’s Hickey, who will turn 23 tomorrow; how long do you want to wait before giving him an opportunity?

          Mitchell will be 35 in April. He’s seemingly always banged up physically. He has experience and hockey sense, but how long is the body going to be able to do what the mind tells it to do? The Kings held on to guys like Matty Norstrom and Aaron Miller too long, and saw them decline. They don’t have to do that anymore.

          • I hear ya, I would just try to keep Mitchell for 2 more years. Same with scuderi when his deals up, if he’s still playing well. Hickey I dunno, he may be a late bloomer, seems to be doing pretty good this year. He could end up becoming the guy they thought he’d be but they are going to have to make a decision with him too I think his deal is up?

          • I really like that guy, and just like Handzus and Simmonds being missed, I think WM would be greatly missed. Especially, I’ll repeat that….. especially if JJ and DD still make ‘young’ mistakes.

            Mitchell settles that d down big time, makes the key tape to tape pass on outlets etc. He’s just a very stabilizing influence back there.

            JT… you mention playing Amart and VV on a more consistent basis. But then you start having a really young defense, with JJ (even if he isn’t that young, he still plays a bit young ) and same with Doughty.

          • JT… you mention playing Amart and VV on a more consistent basis. But then you start having a really young defense, with JJ (even if he isn’t that young, he still plays a bit young ) and same with Doughty.

            … Having a young defense would be a bad thing???

            And, what you would call having a young defense, I’d call having a balanced defense in terms of experience and youth. Next season, here would be the Kings’ defensemen:

            Scuderi – 34, 7 years experience
            Greene – 29, 7 years experience
            Johnson – 26, 5 years experience
            Martinez – 25, 2 years experience
            Doughty – 23, 4 years experience
            Voynov – 23, 1 year experience

            I think that’s a pretty good blend, myself. Two guys with 7 seasons, two others with 4-5 seasons, and two guys starting out, with only one guy over 30 in the bunch. I like that. Plus, there’s the option to have Hickey as a seventh defenseman if and when someone goes down with an injury or otherwise needs time off.

            Looking at it realistically, I don’t see the Kings contending for the Cup anytime soon; certainly not this season or next season. People constantly talk about the defensive depth in this organization – well, now’s the time to see what they actually have. I’m not going to be happy to see more prospects bolt off to Europe because the organization isn’t willing to give them a shot here.

            If the Kings want to become Cup contenders, they are going to have to improve their offense. As the Kings attempt to upgrade their wingers, I like the idea of backing them up with four defensemen who are able/expected to chip in offensively, instead of only three.

            Yes, they will struggle more often in their own end, but if Quick is the elite goalie everyone seems to think he is, I don’t see too much of an increase in goals allowed per game. Boston is the defending World Champion and they give up 31.3 shots per game. Last season, the Bruins allowed 32.7 per game. Vancouver allowed 30.1 shots a game last season, and they’re at 31.1 this season.

            The Kings were at 27.9 per game last season and 28.8 this season. I think that now is the time to sacrifice a little defense to produce more offense, and to give the younger defensemen on the team time to gain the experience they need. I’d rather see the Kings become a team that expands the talent base by developing and then using their young players, rather than a team that exploits the existing base to maximize current production.

          • Amen to that last paragraph

          • My only problem with what you say is that I’d rather keep Mitchell and dump Greene. Greene could fetch a decent winger to a team on the cusp with too much offense and not enough defense or is too soft.

            I love Greene for his toughness and leadership on the ice, but I think it’s time the Kings go in a different direction. Greene is making a bit too much and it is easier to fill the role of “tough ass motherfucker” from youngsters than it is to replaces the steely eyed veteran patience and wiles of Mitchell.

      • I think Mitchell will be given an O’Donell/Handzus deal. Kings will let his contract run out, offer a couple mill, and let the chips fall where they may.

        Mitchells’ future as a Kings will then be up to Mitchell. DL can definately use him, but he is covered if Mitchell decides not to stay.

      • Disagree with you on this.. Willie is Solid and not ancient..
        He has life left in him.. He is the one D man that you can count on night in and night out..KMFJ was just awful with Mitchell.. that pair did not work.. or he had an off game .. Willie was on top of it as usual speaks to his vaule…. Even Scuds who I Like very much is not as consistant..Martinez.. good kid .. tries hard.. having a lackuster year like many.. and with reduced games to play he looked shaky in Tampa..I was watching him especially to see what kind of game he would have..
        GO KINGS GO!!!

        • I’m with ya. That is not mt recomendation. That is just my opinion on how I think DL is going to handle Mitchells contract extension. If it were up to me, I would love to see him stay 2 more years.

          I certainly understand Deans position though, and think the Kings need to start pearring down the price tag on what we spend on D.

          The big 3 stay at home’s in the next 2 to 3 years is the most logical answer.

  4. the only bad part about tonight’s game is that we gave steven stamkos the opportunity to finally add the kings to the list of teams he’s scored against. great game and fun to watch! also, glad to see “pencakes” caught on. i worked really, really, really, really, really hard on that one.

  5. Good analysis Scribe. I thought the bolts looked like shit in their own end. While I’m happy with the 3 goals, some of that was the bolts giving us room. But we’ll take it

    That pic is really something

    • The Bolts looked flat and slow. They got the benefit of a couple of calls but didn’t get many bounces. There was a brief period however when they had several 3-2s, 2-1s that Quick handled.

      Key? The extended puck possession of Loktionov’s line

  6. Mmmmmm Zooey! If she had her eyes slightly open, It’d be time to rock the sock. lol

    Good thing my girlfreind doesn’t live with me, cause I’d wake her ass up right now.

  7. We need to trade Doughty and his ridicolous contract, sign Weber or Suter to a reasonable deal and trade Doughty to Detroit to replace Lidstrom.
    We also need to trade Bernier and sign Quick to a long term deal while we still can.
    Let Penner walk and hopefully we can get Gagne back next year.
    Jaime Kompon still sucks!!!

  8. Nice lips Zooey, the mouth isn’t bad either!

  9. WHY am I the only guy that see’s how BAD Jarret Stoll is Sucking!!!!!

    We never hear any Stoll suck’s comments…….he is contributing NOTHING!!!!

    Win’s a few faceoff’s….OK….not as many as he used to, and now playing the wing he’s far to be removed.

    He turns over the puck more than any other player, makes bad passes, horrid decisions causing turnovers, cannot forecheck effectively…..WTF!!!!

    Nice hit on Hedman…..but can’t bury the puck on a perfect setup by the fully stacked Pancakes……He’s been Killing the Richards line……Hot Potato anyone

    Stoll Sucks!!!!!

    • Prior to this season, Jarret Stoll had played in 515 career NHL games. Of those 515 games, would you care to guess how many games Jarret has had to play on the wing?

      • Exactly my point……

        Maybe 3 before this season!!!!

        He’s been replaced at center, on the point during the powerplay….after last night he may not even play wing on the powerplay anymore……

        He’s more valuable to another team as a rental, and more valuable to us as the deadline approaches…..teams may overpay for a guy like Stoll, we have guy’s that we can bring up, move up in the lineup or flatout replace him.

      • From center to wing for a veteran in this league is not that difficult. From wing to center is the difficult part. Clearly, some don’t take to it because they are pure playmakers but Stoll is not that. Also, I don’t remember him playing too hot when he was center this season. He has regressed.


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