The Dutch Perspective: Make No Mistake Where You Are …

… So, on the evening of the Leap Day, and headed into March, I don’t know if there’s much to say here without feeling like a broken record.  The same things I’ve said about the lack of scoring all season long are still in focus from my point of view.

- I still think the Kings’ shooting percentages, both at five-on-five and with the man advantage, are abnormally and unsustainably low. At some point, they will improve. The chances have been there all season long, with rare exception, and it’s a matter of time until those chances will be converted.

- I think that the lack of leadership in the front office can’t help but have a certain impact on the overall mood of the team, and with it, the play of the team. Unrealistic expectations, which were in place before the season started, have clouded everything this team has done and has tried to do this season. Instead of fostering a mindset of “We are still looking to improve, and still building”, the mindset was “We have everything built and in place, and all that’s left is the formality of playing out the season”, when anyone who’s been around this game (or any sport, really) for any length of time can tell you the season is never a formality. There was such a lack of respect within the organization for how difficult it truly is to even MAKE the playoffs, let alone succeed in them. If it were the first season that this management team was in place, it would almost be forgivable, but it isn’t – it’s their sixth season, and they should have known better. A lot of Kings’ fans should have known better, as well.

- Replacing a defensive coach with a more defensive coach certainly didn’t look to shake the Kings out of their offensive funk, and surprisingly enough, it hasn’t. Although the Kings have had more games where they’ve scored 3-4 goals than they did under Terry Murray, they have also had more games where they’ve scored 0-1 goals as well. Presently, they are more inconsistent offensively than they’ve been all season long.

- The Kings opened their season with a top six that was largely brand new to the team, and a bottom six as thin talent-wise as I’d seen in years. How people could expect the Kings to score at any kind of acceptable pace out of the gate was utterly confounding to me, and showed a clear lack of understanding how hockey works.

All that being said, I will say the Kings have made recent progress. The deal for Jeff Carter was a real shake-up; trading away someone like Jack Johnson, who was thought of as a core player here, was a definitive acknowledgement by this organization that they didn’t feel the team had enough offensive talent up front to be successful. That acknowledgement, in itself, sent a clear message to the team and the fans.

With the deal for Carter in place, the Kings were able to drop Dustin Penner into a role where he could build his game and his confidence back from the depths. Playing alongside a center in Jarret Stoll who will win the vast majority of faceoffs and thus ensure puck possession, and with a wing in Trevor Lewis who will bust his ass and play all two hundred feet of ice – Penner seems to be ready to turn his season around. With the chances that line is creating, along with real threats on the wing in Carter and a rejuvenated Dustin Brown, teams can no longer simply look to shut off the center of the ice against the top two lines, and as such, the Kings should reap some benefits there.  A permanent home on the blueline for Slava Voynov adds yet another new dimension to this team, and I personally believe there’s something very special about this rookie.

I’m not really interested right now in how many points the Kings will supposedly need at the end of the season in order to reach the playoffs. I’m more interested in seeing if this team can maintain some level of consistency in the challenging games which await them. Ten of their next twelve games are against conference rivals who are looking to either solidify their playoff seeding (Detroit x2, San Jose, Nashville x2, Chicago, St. Louis, Vancouver) or trying to get in the picture (Anaheim x2). They have another date with the defending World champions; this time in our house. The games will let us all know if the Kings are worthy of being included in the playoff discussion, far more so than any projections. All of our questions will be answered.  The trade deadline is over; the organization has served notice that they haven’t given up on this season just yet, and now it’s time to let the team do what they’ve been assembled to do.

You think that maybe it’s over? Only if you want it to be. Are you gonna wait for a sign, your miracle? Stand up and fight.

This is it.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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29 replies

  1. - I still think the Kings’ shooting percentages, both at five-on-five and with the man advantage, are abnormally and unsustainably low. At some point, they will improve. The chances have been there all season long, with rare exception, and it’s a matter of time until those chances will be converted.

    If you take low percentage shots, you get a low shooting percentage.

    Kings have some good matchup problems for other teams now with carter in the top 6. 9 goals in 3 games is a good sign with only 2 against.

    I thought the kings were ready to turn the corner with that blowout against vancouver and instead they faltered.

    The Johnson curse is gone. Time for a winning steak.

    • If you take low percentage shots, you get a low shooting percentage.

      … Do you really believe the Kings’ shot quality on offense is worse than last season?

      The Kings shot 8.5% at fives last season, good for 9th in the league. This season, they’re at 5.8%, which is of course dead last.

      The Kings have 30.2 shots per 60 minutes at fives. That’s 1481 shots. 8.5% of 1481 is 126. So, if they had last season’s shooting percentage at 5-on-5, the Kings would have 126 goals in those situations instead of 86.

      They would be at 174 goals in all, which would tie them for 13th in NHL offense.

      Let me say that again. If the Kings had last season’s shooting percentage at 5-on-5, they would have close to a top 10 offense to go along with their top 3 defense.

      With those numbers, it would be far easier to accept the notion that this team could attain a high seed in the playoffs, and do real damage once they got there.

      • Yes, I believe that the Kings are taking lower percentage shots this season. The Kings are taking far more point shots this season. Fewer players in front of the net for rebounds and screens too. Something Smyth and Simmonds were good at, the Kings needed to adjust their system after adding Richards and Gagne.

        At least King and Nolan go to the net, but they haven’t been ruined by Murray. Hopefully, Sutter is better at getting them to keep going to the net.

        The Kings have 23.5% more shots by Kings defensemen this season, according to NHL.com stats. Only 0.9% more shots by forwards this season. That leads me to believe that the Kings are taking lower percentage shots since the Kings defense are rarely below the circles.

        • But it *is* more shots by the forwards. Obviously the ratio is still out of whack. I think what this really says, though, is they’re not generating any 2nd and 3rd chances off the point shots, which is pretty obvious to anyone watching games.

        • The Kings have 23.5% more shots by Kings defensemen this season, according to NHL.com stats. Only 0.9% more shots by forwards this season. That leads me to believe that the Kings are taking lower percentage shots since the Kings defense are rarely below the circles.

          … Alright, let’s go ahead and get into this.

          Kings total shots, 2010-11: 2363 (28.8 per game). Forwards: 1795 (21.9 per game), Defensemen: 568 (6.9 per game).

          Kings total shots, 2011-12: 1927 (30.1 per game). Forwards: 1384 (21.6 per game), Defensemen: 543 (8.5 per game).

          The numbers bear out your 23% more shots by defensemen, and what’s more, the Kings’ forwards are taking around the same number of shots per game than they were a season ago. Very interesting. So now, let’s look at shooting percentages.

          Kings total shooting %, 2010-11: 209-2363 (8.8%). Forwards: 178-1795 (9.9%), Defensemen: 31-568 (5.4%).

          Kings total shooting %, 2011-12: 134-1927 (6.9%). Forwards: 103-1384 (7.4%), Defensemen: 31-543 (5.7%).

          The entire shooting percentage discrepancy lies with the forwards. The Kings’ D are shooting right at about the same percentage they were last season, and because they’re taking more shots per game, they’re scoring more per game. If the forwards were shooting at the same clip as last season, they would have 137 goals instead of the 103 they actually have. Add the 137 to the 31 goals by the defensemen, and you have a total of 168, a little bit lower than my number up there, but not by much. Unless you’re saying the Kings’ forwards are taking shots above the circles all the time?

          Now, if you’re of the opinion that the Kings’ forwards, as a group, are not quite as skilled as those who were here last season, that would explain some of the problem. But, I think the rest of it is just pure luck.

          • I think it still goes back to nobody in front for rebound goals.

            Voynov and Jack have helped the defensemen shooting percentages. Didn’t Jack score 3 goals from below the dots on 4-on-3 PPs? Is there a site that shows just 5-on-5 shots by forwards and defensemen and their percentages?

            Kings are still taking too many shots from the point and nobody is around the crease for rebound goals. The forwards are still taking too many shots from just over the blue line and from the boards. If you want the percentages to increase, they need to have forwards in the slot at all times. Keeping the F3 high above the circles and the F1 & F2 along the boards and/or behind the net will not increase the shooting percentage.

            Look at the last game against Minnesota, King drives the net and scores. Kopitar drives the net and scores. Martinez jumps up and with traffic in front, scores a goal.

            Maybe Carter’s presence is greating more room or maybe Chicago and Minnesota just played horrible defensive games. We won’t know for sure until the Kings put together a 4 or 5 game winning streak scoring 3+ goals per game.

            I still believe teams create most of their own “luck” by going to the dirty areas of the ice. Either the Kings don’t have enough of those players or they are told to be in more defensive positions. Nolan and King are being successful because they drive the net, is that because Morris is a better teacher/coach than Murray? Who knows, but hopefully Sutter won’t stop them from doing it for better defense.

          • Yes, maybe CHI and MIN played horrible defense, but the biggest difference was that the Kings made ADJUSTMENTS to their game and drove to the net down the middle. Over the season, they still played teams that left defensive holes, but their problem was that they did NOT drive towards the middle lane at all.

            Yet still, Kopitar needs Brown to literally push his ass to the center of the ice because Kopitar can’t seem to grow balls enough to do so…and look what happens when he does, he scores!! NO WAY! :0

            I’m not sure the Kings (and Lombardi, for that matter) can afford to have Sutter around another season. I think the Kings need a more balanced coach.

  2. I hate it when you make sense, Dutch.

    It’s irritating.

  3. I’m digging a positive article!

  4. With 18 games left, there is time to earn a seed. Something tells me that the Kings are going to need some help by other teams to knock off others in the hunt.

    Last season it was amazing that the teams that were in the hunt were winning and winning too. Luckily the Kings went on that critical long road trip and pulled off some multiple wins and then some more thereafter to get qualified. Yet they lost some at the end to finish lower.

    It seems that could be the case again, that the Kings just have to pull off a win streak, but I would rather see some others, like Dallas, Phoenix, and even SJ choke and go on losing streaks.

    At this stage of the season it really needs to be an exchange of the present defense style for the offensive style to get some early goals and then play harder defense.

    What I would hope to see is pressuring in the offensive zone to cough up mistakes and penalties.

    I am not banking on them making the playoffs, but rather just trying to be realistic that they can choose their own destiny.

    Sutter is right, these guys have to dig down deep and want it bad enough and it all starts with the top six forwards have to produce from here on out.

  5. I don’t think it was unreasonable to think that this squad would go further than they did last season. I didn’t think they were a cup contender like a Boston or Detroit but it was certainly a possibility. It was dependent upon how they played. I think a lot of fans were in high anticipation whether or not they bought into the hype but carrying over from last season why would it not be logical to not do well?

    Kings take a big step getting Richards. Take a risk in getting Gagne. Penner is mentioned that he’s been working out hard, getting in shape and really looking to start the new season off on a high note vs last season.

    Then there’s the core guys. Kopi, Brown, Williams, Stoll, Johnson, Doughty, Greene, Quick. Fiasco with Doughty at the start but it got done and was a speedbump along the way.

    Why wouldn’t this team do better than last year? Last year they almost beat SJ Without Kopitar. What’s to say that this team, if to performed like last season, wouldn’t do better with the addition of Richards and Gagne?

    Wasn’t there a bitter taste in their mouths when they lost that series? That dreaded 4-0 comeback loss? Wasn’t it time to kick some fucking ass this new season and get shit going and be amongst the elite or near the elite in our conference?

    So we shed Smyth, Handzus, Poni, Simmonds and we pick up Richards, Gagne, Moreau, Fraser and Hunter.

    I was in high anticipation for the season to start thinking that this squad was the squad to start kicking some ass on a regular basis. So what the hell happened? TM gets fired in December…Gagne goes down with a concussion…DD gets injured and is out…Richards another concussion and he’s out. Penner is playing like a jackass who just learned how to skate and stickhandle…next thing you know the team is Dead Fucking Last in goals scored in the NHL. Moreau’s gone. Hunter’s gone. Two AHLers get called up. Sutters the new coach. Johnson gets traded for Carter. And the team is barely, barely in the hunt for a playoff spot.

    Where am I going with this? I’ve got no fucking idea. I’m confused as anyone about this squad. So here we are near the end of the regular season. Shouldn’t we be seeded around 3 or 4 right now ready to take on the first victim in the playoffs for round 2? But the playoffs remind me of that one scene in Castaway with Tom Hanks when he’s at sea and his volleyball friend goes overboard and he can see it but the current takes it further and further away and there ain’t shit he can do about it.

    Even if the Kings do get in who will they play? Detroit or Vancouver. Do they really stand a chance against these teams? Either way I think Dean’s fucked. What’s his next move? This team’s got so much shit that needs to get cleaned up but where do you begin? Unless these guys get really hot, smoking hot from here on out I’d rather go to Disneyland with my kids and ride Pirates three times in a row.

    • I’ll tell you where your going and its as easy as quoting Dutch:

      “At some point, they will improve. The chances have been there all season long, with rare exception, and it’s a matter of time until those chances will be converted.” –J.T. Dutch

      This is what everyone, and I mean everyone from the first year fan to the GM’s office has said since game 1. Next game, next week, somethings gonna break. The odds. The odds! The…after 60 games it’s still about odds?

      No, its about what we see is what we are stuck with. A build gone wrong..or at least on hold for a season.

      What happened? Coaching, a poor camp, poor choice of support players, lack of net presence, loss of Zus, Gagne and Penner. Management’s refusal to recognize problems early, and the failure to act on any of these matters until game 50. Too little, too late.

      Carter is a great example of a Lombardi solution. A great add to the team in the long haul, Carter does nothing to remedy the current lack of a net presence. Carter’s scoring may actually suffer until Lombardi finds someone to play the net for him.

      I was so looking forward to the season. I remember what a pleasant surprise it was to see the Kings advance to the Cup round a score of years ago. There has been little pleasant about this season.

      • But wait! There’s more…

        The problem over the past 60 games was that this team didn’t have all the pieces. Lombardi made the adjustment with the Johnson/Carter trade.

        The fact is, we didn’t have a quality Top 6 throughout the season. Our Top 6 at times included guys like Hunter, Moreau, and Penner (and I’m thinking Richardson was up once or twice, can’t remember).

        All of those guys have no business being in the Top 6. Add the slumping players to the mix and one of you 6 going down indefinitely with his up-teenth concussion, and you have the receipe for a slipping team. There’s really not that much difficult science to it.

        Plain and simply, this team was not qualified to make any playoff run. Looking back, we can only really justify the last 3 games as the “new” Kings because NOW we are actually qualified to make the playoffs because NOW we have a quality Top 6, and when/if Gagne returns, we ARE a playoff/Stanley Cup contender on paper.

        So where’s the confusion? I’m not sure. The fact is, Lombardi played 60 games without a quality line-up, and now with the adjustments, we’re ready for the future.

  6. This last month + of games is brutal. Preds, Wings, Bruins, Blues.
    If they can win a couple it may be a real confidence boost, loosing to these teams will be the nail in the coffin. Not only from a points standpoint but for their confidence.

    On the other hand I’m hoping teams like the Wings, Bruins and Blues who all are pretty much a lock for spots, will take us lightly and not play us as hard as Phoenix, Dallas or Colorado would given the battle for position and if that happens we may be able to get some wins there and a much needed confidence boost. Granted every team is still battling for position/home ice, etc and isnt going to take a night off, I’m just hoping they underestimate us and we can score on them early and often.

  7. Although I do certainly agree with you on shooting percentages, the Quality isn’t there completely system wise.

    Scenario: Kopi gets the puck coming through the neutral zone. He has 2 wingers with him. There are 3 defenders back. As soon as Kopi crosses the blue line, he shoots the puck on net, and the goalie deflects the puck into the corner where the wingers pursue.

    In this scenario, the Kings achieved getting a shot on net, but nobody made a play, Kopi didn’t utilize his wingers, and the result was basically, another form of dump and chase.

    You could certainly substitute Browns’ name in that scenario because Kingsfans have been bitching about that for years now. Problem is, it isn’t only Brown, or Kopi, but the entire team doing this.

    There are so many other countless “scenarios” I could bring up, and try to go through (especially on the power play), but my point is, The Kings are getting a lot of shots (and many are grade A scoring chances), but they are also getting a lot of worthless shots that feed the shot totals, but achieve nothing in the way of offense.

    Really great thread though, and in most respects, I agree with you.

  8. Lombardi’s mistake was keeping Jamie Kompon. The players hate him, he sucks as a coach (and has no qualification to actually BE that coach other than he’s “hard working”) and he had:

    Dustin Penner, who was good for at LEAST 20 goals
    Simon Gagne, who should have had better numbers before he got hurt
    Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty, who were, by far the worst scoring defensive pair.

    REALLY?

    No, I had high expectations. Division winners for sure.

    Did you watch 36 hours with Mike Richards? They had a shot of Nolan, King and Richards. Nolan asks “should I pinch up here?” and Kompon emphatically says “NO!”

    Why not? Nolan’s INSTINCT is to pinch. That’s what GOT him here.

    Can we get back to talking about Rob Blake and Jamie Storr?

    • … You can put it all on Kompon if you want. Up to you. I don’t think it’s that simplistic, and I’m not one to single out someone just because a bunch of fans got together and designated him a scapegoat for the season. I remember an old baseball manager telling me “I can put a play on, and if my players execute it properly, it’s a good play and suddenly I’m a brilliant manager. If they don’t execute it, it’s a bad play, and I’m a bum for even considering it.” That works the same in every sport.

      There’s obviously some merit to what Kompon is doing; he’s worked for three head coaches here and he spent – what? almost a decade with St. Louis before he came here? I remember the Blues having the best defensive team in the NHL in the late 90s to the turn of the new millenium – that speaks pretty well for Kompon. So, that’s about fifteen years of experience at the NHL level for him, correct? Pretty decent qualification to be a coach, if you ask me. If he sucked as a coach, you’d think Lombardi would be inundated with requests from his head coaches to fire the guy, right? If he sucked as a coach, the head coach wouldn’t step aside and let him draw up a play in a critical time of the game, right?

      I don’t really have an opinion of Kompon, one way or the other. My first instinct is to look at the results, and they’ve been up and down over the years he’s been here. I don’t know how the players think of him, and I honestly don’t give a shit. Coaches are not there to make friends, they’re there to prepare the team and to inform guys like Nolan (who have about a week’s experience in the NHL) what works here and what doesn’t. I don’t care what Nolan’s instincts are. What was effective for him in the minors or in juniors means exactly dick in the NHL.

      Can we get back to talking about Rob Blake and Jamie Storr?

      … I’ve said a million and one words about Rob Blake already. Enough is enough. And as for Storr, you might want to get a hold of Chad Rawn or whatever his name was.

    • Do you have a link proving that the players hate Kompon? Now, I’m not a fan of Kompon; however, I’d like to see the proof please. Thanks!

      • Drink beer with the players in Manhattan Beach – it’s all the proof you need. – Players generally don’t call out coached in the press (unless your name is Robyn Regehr)

      • I’ve seen my fair share of eye rolling when Jamie comes up behind the players on the bench after a shift. Classic example was from Stoll in the last game.
        They don’t have to like Kompon or be his buddy, but they have to have respect for him and I am not seeing it.

  9. You guys are all a bunch of negative little bitches. Due just wrote an uplifting, positive shot essay, and all you bitches can do is whine about fucking problems. Maybe the problem is that the fans don’t have enough faith and exude too many bad vibes. At this point the die is cast. Let it play out! You might be surprised. Things might be aligning just right..
    And if not, you can bitch about it then, but not now!
    Bitches.
    GO KINGS GO!!!!
    GO KINGS GO!!!!
    G
    GO KINGS GO!!!!!!!

    • I hate that my phone corrects me: first I meant “dude” then I meant “short”

    • We have 43+ season’s of nothingness – we have every right to be pessimistic, bitching, fans. We’ve EARNED that right.

    • Whining bitches…now that’s funny. It’s better than burying your head up your ass and not wanting to see what’s really going on. But you’re good man…keep on keeping on!

    • 3-5-2 over the last 10 games. This crunch time. Regardless of ‘uplifting’ essays, this team is going the wrong direction in the standings at the most critical time of the year. AGAIN!!!

      So cheer all you want and keep on vibing. I’ll keep on bitching and whining while the Kings slip down the standings. Thank you very much.

  10. If there’s a time to start a scoring/winning streak, this is the time. The teams that go far into the playoff are the ones that streak at the right time. Go Kings!

  11. Now there is a plot to can Brown of his captainship.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1085902-nhl-rumors-switch-in-captaincy-will-prompt-kings-to-trade-dustin-brown?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=los-angeles-kings

    The NHL trade deadline may be in the rear view mirror, but the Los Angeles Kings’ roster shakeup is far from over.

    According to Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports, the Kings are considering handing the captaincy to Mike Richards in the offseason, just a year after acquiring him in a massive draft-day trade with the Philadelphia Flyers.

    That’s all well and good, except for the fact that the “C” currently belongs to Dustin Brown, the 27-year-old winger who’s spent his entire professional hockey career in LA. He’s played quite well for the Kings of late, racking up seven points in his last three games and nine points in his last five.

    Who should be the Kings’ captain going forward?
    Dustin Brown
    Mike Richards
    Someone else
    Submit Vote vote to see results
    This, amidst rampant speculation that Kings GM Dean Lombardi had dangled Dustin on the market to a few choice teams including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins. Lombardi recanted on his alleged stance once word got out.

    There’s little doubt that the rumors about Brown’s availability rankled him, and the supposed notion of him ceding the captaincy isn’t likely to go over any better. That toxic combination may be enough for LA to justify moving Brown over the summer if the team feels so inclined. As Lombardi’s deadline dangling showed, the market for Brown is a vast and potentially lucrative one in which the Kings, with all of their needs, wouldn’t exactly be unwise to dabble.

    For now, though, the threats coming at Brown may turn out for the better. They’ve clearly lit a fire under him, just when the Kings need his deft scoring touch to stay on track for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    And, of course, the better Brown plays, the more he’ll mean to the Kings, whether it be as a captain or as a trade chip.

    Source: NHL Rumors: Switch in Captaincy Will Prompt Kings to Trade Dustin Brown
    By Josh Martin (Featured Columnist) on February 29, 2012

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