L.A. Kings vs. Calgary Flames Open Forum: Scowls At The Ready

My wife has sometimes said that our daughter is the exact reflection of me when she does one thing – scowl. I remind her it is not a scowl but an intense focus. Like her dad, she comes with that gift.

Tonight, I bring focus…and a scowl.

Brother vs. Brother. Shut the hell up general media idiots. Nobody wants to hear about this overused, beat to death and irrelevant story line. The real story is about two hockey teams who want to make the playoffs. One (the Flames) who have some injury issues and another who can’t find its ass with both hands in the offensive production department.

Trent Hunter is gone. Addition by subtraction. Jarret Stoll is not ready. He’s been as unnoticeable off the ice as he has been on it. The kids cooled off their youthful exuberance. That happens with children. Surly will be willing them to rekindle their juvenile spirit.

One area I will watch carefully is the breakouts.

If you are unclear what breakouts are, it’s the moment the Kings recover the puck in their own zone and turn it the other way. Nothing is more important to the breakout than that “first pass”. A trend I have noticed in the past couple of weeks (it started just before the road trip) is the L.A. Kings making too many passes after that first one and that first pass not advancing the puck into the neutral zone. This would be alright if there was tight forechecking pressure on us but we are doing this even when that pressure is light to moderate. In short, we are taking too long to get out of our own zone, through the neutral zone with speed and we are not backing off the defense.

I recall Terry Murray often commented it was almost impossible to enter the offensive zone now days because the opposing defenses stacked so many players at the blue line. That was the “effect” of which he spoke and didn’t appreciate the cause – the breakouts – and not allowing the forwards (primarily the wingers) to leave the zone early (goodness forbid doing that in a defense first, defense last philosophy) so they can receive the puck on a stretch pass (either directly but more commonly off the boards). This “backs off” the defenseman and also increases the gap between our rushing wingers and their D. Hence, you don’t have the problem of being stood up at the blue line each time.

When Darryl Sutter first took over I noticed the Kings trying to move the puck up the ice faster. It tailed off. I want it back.

Our reader, Sydor25, will joint me at the game. He will buy me a beer while I give him shit about his biased dislike of Jack Johnson.

Finally, the L.A. Kings are honoring Charlie Simmer tonight, my second favorite left wing in team history. I will applaud loud and proud for Simmer and wish we had a young version of him to Mike Richards’ left.

This is your open forum.

Categories: L.A. Kings News

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32 replies

  1. Kings 4-2. im calling it.

  2. I have a different take on the breakout, slightly.

    Last year, I felt the Kings primarily used the methodical breakout, with D-to-D passes setting up the swooping center for a pass as he came circling back to gain speed. Then the center would have speed exiting the zone and would either carry as he faked the first checker or pass it to a winger also at speed. This was vulnerable to Detroit and Nashville, for examples, who do a five-man hold-the-blue-line-with-two-guys-deep forecheck. In that case the Kings had a guy stationed at a half-wall, so the D would pass or ring-around to him, and he would pass or bunt-pass it to the swooping center.

    This gave most teams the time to set up in the neutral zone, hampering speed. The Detroits and Nashvilles would interrupt flow out of our zone, hampering speed.

    Murray started trying a new wrinkle, which was less D-to-D and more immediate outlets to any available winger. He wanted “quick ups.” So did Marc Crawfish, by the way. They wanted a quick pass to a forward, any forward, or else the D was supposed to advance the puck if the forecheckers were hanging back in the neutral zone. That’s how I remember it.

    This year, my impression was that Murray tried to convert to a speed game as far as breakout goes, to generate more carries into the zone instead of so many dumpins, and as I understand it there became the idea of short and long breakouts. When asked about system changes causing struggles after a loss, Dustin Brown was quoted as saying that just they had to learn the difference between the two breakouts and when to use which one. I am paraphrasing that, but the gist is there.

    The result I saw was confusion and ineptitude as they struggled to adapt.
    Nobody knew who was going to carry out of the zone, or which side of the ice the play would be on. In the older way, when the center would carry, play would start mid-ice and get moved to an open winger. The new way, it could start in any of the three, center or either wing, giving the carrier a decision like an option play in football. Maybe some guys just aren’t suited to making decisions like that as easily as others, and it took time to be assimilated.

    Also, the D then started to carry the puck, but when met with resistance in a clogged neutral zone many of the times the only open guy was the our other defenseman. So now, you have the forwards bottled up trying to stay onside, and the second defenseman (the non-puck-mover if you will) ending up carrying the puck.

    It went cluster-fuck hot and cold for most of the season until Sutter came in. As I remember it, the interim where Stevens was coaching was when the Kings started to figure out the two choices and began to use them better. They would use the traditional swooping center more again, which opened up room so they could then use the quick outlet style, too. They complement each other, depending on opponent and how the puck is won to initiate the breakout in the first place. I just think it was the conversion that was confusing, with first learning how to do a new breakout and then needing to learn when to do the new breakout.

    • One thing that was done was eliminating a seemly mandatory three passes between defensemen before moving up ice. Not only did that allow time to clog the neutral zone, teams were so used to seeing the pattern they didn’t bother to shift to the far side.

      Because the only option left to the Kings was the Blue Line tip in the opponents would instead drop one man back to prevent puck recovery by the Kings.

      There is a special frustration that comes with watching opponents repeatedly recover pucks behind their net and move into the Kings’ zone faster then the Kings are able cross the neutral zone.


  3. I’ll be there tonight! Let’s start a winning streak boys.


  4. Just enter the zone with speed. The kings always do one of three things. They dump it, turn it over at the blue line or do the little drop back pass. Just skate the puck in with speed like they did the first few games under sutter.

  5. Sutter: “(Penner) went out of the lineup because he was horse(crap), so he’d better step up to the plate or he might not get another look.”

    Did he really have to say “step up to the plate”?

  6. This will be the 2nd time I attend a game this year. First one was new year’s against the Nucks. Hopefully we shut the Canadian fans up again. Go Kings.

  7. … Well, damn. Missed the first ten minutes or so.

    One of the great things about Kings’ games this season is that I don’t have to feel too badly about it because there’s usually no score.

    • Kings had brought the game the Flames, then got a power play, did nothing with it except give the Flames momentum, then the Flames had the puck for a while. Then nothing happened. Now you’re all caught up.

  8. This game is soooo booooring. Maybe this power play will yield something other than a yawn.

  9. Jim Fox: “Well, Darryl, it was good to see that front of the net presence.”

    Darryl Sutter: “I … I lost ya.”

    … That’s the Kings of 2011-12.

    • Fuck here we go again down 1-0 with 11 minutes to go. Brutal brutal And cammy get it

      • … Well, the Kings have activated defensemen over the last several shifts, and we haven’t even hit the 5 minute left mark. They are pressing for that equalizer.

        • God forbid they press to score before being down at the end of a game.

          • … They had more chances than Calgary had when the score was tied 0-0. Don’t see where they haven’t been trying to score tonight, at any give point in the game.

          • They were throwing pucks at the net. They were not sacrificing and outnumbering in front of the net.

            Credit the Flames and Kipper some, but there wasn’t a single second chance all game and that is more to do with our puck support than anything.

          • They were not sacrificing

            … They outplayed Calgary by a wide margin tonight. They had second chances off of rebounds, they did set up guys who were open for good shots, they got traffic in front of the net on many occasions.

            Richards had practically another open net chance, but Kiprusoff stoned him. The rookies looked like rookies as they shanked and fanned on a few shots. And, of course, they got their healthy helping of bad luck, because there can’t be a Kings’ game without any of that.

            All I can ask is that the Kings out-chance the opposition. They did that. It’s unfortunate that they couldn’t get the win, but I don’t see where they didn’t work hard enough and I certainly saw the Kings more aggressive offensively at certain points.

          • Well I didn’t really see the second chances. I saw a combination of Kipper playing well, as he tends to usually do, the Kings not getting to the prime scoring areas for shots and in general, not being able to set up more than a rushed chance. We may have out chanced them but we did not really take control of the puck in the offensive zone.

  10. Well its official, the kings suck. Fire lombardi.

  11. 7th to 9th in 2 games by being shut out at home twice in a row.
    And the teams they lose to are the ones jumping them in the standings.

    This team is the definition of pathetic.
    Fuck them, I’m taking a week off. No god damn reason to watch this atrocious shit-show.

  12. What a frustrating game to watch! I don’t think I ever saw a third forward pinch in around the net. Three red jerseys in front of Kipper and only two purple jerseys circling around the net. The puck inevitably bounces to where a King should be and no one is there because they are back behind the blueline anticipating the Flames conversion.

    ARGHHH!!! Why would they be playing this way? I’ve been thinking for a while now that the Kings are just in a slump, that they’ve been playing well and the puck just aren’t going in, and that sooner or later, if they keep playing their game, the pucks will start going in, and they’ll go in often, and this will seem like some test that our team had to face on the way toward the Cup.

    But tonight, the players looked scared. Especially after the Flames got the first and only goal. They started playing as if they were afraid to fully commit offensively because they knew that if they broke down and let the Flames do a rush that they could go down 2-0 and then there would be absolutely no chance of climbing back in.

    And that just drives me crazy!!! There is NO CONFIDENCE here among the players, especially the forwards. They have bought into this prevailing idea that they can’t score, so once they go down a goal, they buckle.

    FUCK THIS TEAM! They play awesome defence, but once they get into the opposing team’s zone they just fumble around, pass the puck anxiously around the boards, flutter passes sensely around the net but no one is there, or take these slapshots from the blueline right into big crowds hoping that it’ll bounce off someone and in. ARGH! Those distant shots from the blueline! How many times did they do that tonight only for the puck to bounce off the shin of a Flame standing right in front of them?! Credit to the Flames for always being in the way of the puck, I guess. Especially in the third period, I don’t think a single shot from the D made it’s way even a few feet before being harmlessly deflected either out of the zone or into the corners.

    And fuck’s sake Richards loosing all those face offs to Cammeleri! He’s got to win those.

    And two offsides with a minute left and Quick on the bench?! CMON GUYS!!!

    That’s it, I’ve been really against trading someone to get a sniper, but fuck it, blow it up, bring in Nash. If they do that and still don’t make the playoffs, it’s officially Lombardi’s pink slip.

  13. Said “FUCK!!!” really load in front of children at the end of this one and didn’t care. I’m frustrated and baffled by this team. Two home games in a row at staples 0 goals. Bummed.

  14. Also I kept seeing 25 and thinkIng it was 26 cause of throwbacks.

    Missing Zus and Voynov :(

  15. Went to the game last night. Each game I went to this year, about 7, I saw a loss, with the same old story, inability to score.
    The sooner Lombardi is gone, then, the sooner the team can be rebuilt for offense.
    If I have to watch a losing team, at least let them lose with some goals scored.
    Losing 5 to 4 looks awfully good to me right now.


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