The Dutch Perspective: So, What Happens Now?

… In every season where a team is in contention for anything, whether it’s a division title, a playoff berth, or a playoff series, there’s usually a moment – either good or bad – that leads people to believe that the team’s destined to win, or not destined to win.

The last minute of the loss last night led me to believe that this team is not destined to make the playoffs. It seems as if the Kings’ team will be unable to counteract what the front office and the management of this organization have done. It seems as if this is one of those seasons where they’re largely not able to buy a break, and opposing players will play their best games against them.

Obviously, it isn’t over, and the Kings still have the ability to make the playoffs despite everything. But, to do that, they’re going to have to go on a run unlike any run they’ve gone on this season. They’re going to have to play their season’s best stretch of hockey. Seeing as how this team hasn’t really played a good stretch of hockey this season, maybe they’re due.

If they are unable to make the playoffs, that will mean that the Kings couldn’t develop enough cohesiveness to go on even ONE good run this season, and that being the case, I don’t see any justification for the GM or the head coach to remain with the team. Do you? It has been pointed out that, in effect, the GM of this team has traded away four first round picks during his six-year tenure here; five if you count Jack Johnson. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing, except for the fact that this GM’s stated plan was to build a foundation through the draft and from within.

I’m not denying that the current team is solid. It is very solid. I just don’t believe that the current leadership has the ability to see this team through to the ultimate goal. I don’t believe in the team Governor (who has been here for 16 years), the GM (who has been here for 6 years), or the head coach (who was last relevant 8 years ago). I don’t believe a team can win anything significant without a leadership group pulling in the same direction, and I don’t believe that is the case here. I’ve wondered all season long who exactly has been the captain of this ship. If this ship sinks instead of reaching the playoffs, I believe that it’s time for all of the leaders to go down with the ship.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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29 replies

  1. So…. you’re saying we are coming up on some must win games?

    That’s all I got out of that. :)

    • … They’re coming up on a “must go on a run”.

      I don’t really care when they put some notches under that W column, but they’d better put a lot of them there if they want to stay alive.

      • The Kings magic number for losses is 4. Any more and 93 points is impossible, plus it may take 94 points since the Kings lose the tiebreaker. So, it better be soon and often for those w’s.

  2. They are so close, but so far away. Only if Kopi and Richards this year played better, the Kings would have 8 to 10 points more by this point in time. All they needed to do was produce 80% of what they could do on paper based on the past performances.

    They didn’t even have to reproduce to last year’s levels, but a fricking 75% or 80%.

    Something is very much wrong, but they will not and cannot tell the truth on what is bothering them. That is a black mark for their careers and speak out what is bothering them from even being 30-40% of what would be close to prior year performances.

    That is one problem we all have to endure which is there are whole lot of secrets ongoing in that clubhouse and nobody can even talk about it in public.

    That is why we are all as fans left to vent and comment and offer ideas and ways to improve, but we are in the dark and do not know the true reasons for such collapses this year.

  3. I was a supporter of Lombardi until the Sutter hiring. This is on him now. This is the guy he wanted. I don’t think Sutter and Kompon are preparing the team and giving them the system they need to be successful. Look at the way Detroit plays. They get to the net at all costs, they force it. They swarm it with a fuck you attitude. They are ruthless on loose pucks, they win the battles and play every game like its a playoff game. They’ve been playing like that for years. Sutter has only recently (last 2 weeks) stressed this type of attack at the net, getting between the circles. This should have been the focus from day 1 of his hiring.

    Although the loss last night was the players fault (Scuderi, Doughty, Richards, even Quick has been off his game). I think we are seeing the effects of a burnt Quick down the stretch. Good job Sutter, you break it, you own it. And Doughty, what the fuck man hes not playing anywhere near what he is being paid. Forget his offensive game, his defensive game is like that of a #5 defenseman. The rest of the season’s failures are on the coaches and by his backing, Lombardi. I think Ranford and Stevens should be kept they are both good coaches, especially Ranford.

    I wonder if AEG will pull the plug on the front office and coaching? Aren’t they on the hook for the rest of their contract salary if they fire them? Hard to imagine this given the tight financial situation the team is operating under, it’s a lot of money. How many years are left on DL’s extension, 1 or 2?

  4. I would almost kill to have Barry Trotz behind the Kings bench. Just sayin’.

  5. I’ve wondered all season long who exactly has been the captain of this ship.
    Other than being impressed with my mastery of italics, I hope you’ll find something of interest in this post, because it’s something I’ve thought deeply about today.

    To me, the game last night said so much more than the result or even the way it happened.
    It was instead what I’ll call ‘an archetype’ game. The archetype that is the Red Wings won having only half of their normal squad. Essentially a ‘B’ team.
    Nonetheless they adhered completely to everything that that team represents. They were opportunistic, and they stuck to their approach – the Red Wings way to play hockey, regardless of the score and irregardless of the roster that they had available.
    * I’ll go back to this in a moment.

    The Kings found ways to lose. There have to be fair been Kings teams in the past that found ways to come from behind, hold leads etc. But the reason I say ‘archetype’ is because it was a classic comparative situation. Playing a great team on the road, having played fairly well, and then mistakes sending them back to how they probably fit in the nhl at this moment, and have for a long time.

    * But what I found the most significant was the fact that the Wings adhere to a system and approach to the game that starts at the very top, and obviously filters down thru the players who are playing in Adirondack (I believe it is).
    Here’s what I see; Detroit has a Very Structured approach to the game, but Within that structure the players have the flexibility to bring their own unique gifts that each of them has as a player. For that reason I’m not surprised to see Jack Johnson starting to flourish in Columbus and think he’ll continue to do so.

    In comparison there is something so rigid about something (not sure what that ‘something’ is) in the Kings structure, but I surmise that it goes far deeper than just a ‘system’ that they play in the games.

    Moral of the story: that game last night said so much, and it wasn’t pretty.

    Final point: it’s absolutely unbelievable how players come to LA and the quality of their game seems to deteriorate almost w/o exception (exceptions would be W Mitchell and perhaps J Williams). And the players that leave almost w/o exception seem to do better. If it were one player or two I’d chalk it up to coincidence, but clearly that isn’t the case.

    • to talk on your final point, I dont think it is so much that players’ games deteriorate, but the management/coaching staff forcing players to completely overhaul their game. Take Dustin Penner as an example. He comes from Edmonton where he scores just about 30 goals a season. What responsibility did he have other than standing next to the net and putting pucks in it? Not much, if any. Next season, there is going to be a team that is going to take a chance on Penner, probably a one year deal for one million, and they are going to tell him to play his game and he will most likely have success.

      The point of this is that Dean Lombardi to Daryl Sutter and everyone in between have done all they can to militarize this team. They have tunnel vision when it comes to their philosophy and their desired implementation of it. Acquiring a player with a specific skill set, then trying to force that player to change the way they have done things their entire career does not do any good for the player or the team. These players are professionals, and they should be able as professionals to play whatever game the coach/management wants them to play. In a perfect world this would happen, but too bad this isn’t a perfect world. The reality of it all is that not all players can do that and continue to be successful.

      If Lombardi and Sutter can somehow manage to get themselves out from under the guillotine, they better do some serious thinking about modifying their style because not matter what players are on this team, its always going to be more of the same.

      • The point of this is that Dean Lombardi to Daryl Sutter and everyone in between have done all they can to militarize this team. They have tunnel vision when it comes to their philosophy and their desired implementation of it.

        Really we’re saying sort of the same thing. The fact that everyone seems to do better elsewhere and deteriorate when they come to LA is stated in your sentence or paragraph that I’ve quoted.

        And the inability of someone in ownership, whether it was jack kent cooke, jerry buss (though he managed quite happily w the lakers) or aeg, to get someone in place who truly understands what is needed to have a coherent philosophy – which means more than just playing one way at manchester and the same way on the big team – is why for the time being this is the archetype of something or other (insert half smiley here). I know what I’m trying to say but not so easy to articulate it.

  6. Check out Barry’s page….he points out that it has actually been TWELVE 1st round picks.

    • … Do you have a quote which explains this? Most of Barry’s stuff is the definition of ADD and just runs into itself constantly, and I’d prefer not to go through much of it. Thanks in advance.

    • For what it’s worth, Jack Johnson wasn’t the LA Kings first round pick. He was the Carolina Hurricanes’.

      • … True enough, but he was still a first round pick who made his NHL debut with the Kings. Even if we’re not counting Johnson, four in six years is not an enviable record. If anything, I’m being nice to Dean; I chose not to count the total number of first rounders dealt away, like Sydor25 did. See? I’m not a heartless guy.

  7. Why is Kopi off limits for criticism on this Board? If we are to be colette and honest we need to look at each player’s year. This has not been even close to any all star year for Kopi. To get a #8 seed we need him now to score much more.

    • Why is Kopi off limits for criticism on this Board?

      … Nothing is off limits. There are no rules, no laws, no limits, no love lost.

      • Fantastic. I want to praise when warranted and slam when warranted.
        We know here what is good vs bad hockey, play and coaching and GM quality.
        They have some tough teams ahead. They can stand like men or cower and be mouses.
        They have been mouses (but Quick) for the season as a whole so far.

    • Kopi deserves some criticism for his season, but not for his play lately. He and the oft-maligned Brown are carrying this team, along with Williams. If I had to ask more of Kopi, and Brown, it would be for them to show some anger and take it out on their teammates, tactfully of course, but in a leadership role of being critical to those deserving of criticism.

      • This.

        The following is all really speculation, but I don’t think it’s groundless.

        I really doubt Brown is a good, commanding public speaker. I think he has some kind of speech impediment? I think those things get in the way of him being as good of a captain as we need. That’s not really his fault, but it prevents him from communicating as well as a captain should be able to and commanding respect. He also seems like a really nice guy, but really nice guys aren’t really cut out to confront and call other people out.

        He is definitely a lead-by-example type of leader, and I think he does a tremendous job of it.

  8. “…that will mean that the Kings couldn’t develop enough cohesiveness…”

    Well said. Its felt this way since training camp and nothing has emerged to change this. I hate to pull the “old guy” nonsense but the Kings failure to jell this season reminds me of the the old Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Scouts and Vancouver Canucks. No heart, little motivation, no comradeship. A bunch of guys in dirty uniforms thrown together.

    Its just a real shame. The future looked so bright. That changed the moment Kopitar broke his leg and management panicked when the second stringers “only” managed to take San Jose to six games.

    Ship out the youth, put a Penner and Doughty (whose mirror reflects a boy who failed to carry his weight) in the locker room, break down two darn good goalies, sign a Potemkin Coach and it just dead space.

    • I hate to pull the “old guy” nonsense but the Kings failure to jell this season reminds me of the the old Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Scouts and Vancouver Canucks.

      … Feel free to post any “old guy” anything. I don’t remember the Scouts, but I do remember the Rockies moving to New Jersey just before I started becoming more of a diehard fan, and yes, that team definitely struck me as a similar team to this season’s Kings. The Kings seem on most nights as a “team” in name only; a team only in the sense that they wear matching jerseys and get credit for assisting on each other’s goals.

      There seems to be a lot of confusion on basic plays, offensively and defensively, and players coming back to the bench with expressions of disbelief and disagreement. It’s almost as if I can hear some of these guys thinking “well I learned it that way at Manchester” “well screw that, junior, I learned this in Philly and I’m gonna be Captain so do it” “hey fuck both of you, this is how the Oilers do it and that’s what we’re doing” “hey guys when I sat on the bench in Chicago, they did it like that and won it all” “guys just keep it simple, this is how we won a Cup in Pittsburgh” and the coach behind the bench all “hey yo Adrian it’s me Rocky I just wanna go the distance with Creed” and on and on.

      In Lombardi’s quest to find ‘character’ players, he’s looked far and wide too often, and not looked enough within his own organization. He’s run into a disconnect with the basic nuts and bolts of constructing successful plays on the ice. It’s frustrating for me, not only as a Kings’ fan but as a hockey fan, to see the game played in this manner.

      • One thing Dutch that I really liked about your article is that it points out again the contradictory nature of Lombardi. He’s a paradox. He’s stubborn and won’t budge, but then, when he says he’s gonna build thru the draft, next thing you know, the young players that he did draft (or trade for in the case of JJ) are jettisoned for older players. That’s one thing, but then the 1st round picks start going out the door with them. That’s the point where I start to say that I’ve had enough.

        And then, what if, just what if, he’s still here next year (as some have pointed out, aeg is on the hook already for two coaches and that would make three), and then decides as a last ditch type of thing to trade another first round pick? I know, I know, way to premature to worry about that sort of thing, but it’s true that he’s now gone in a different direction to what he stipulated at the beginning.

        Actually wish I hadn’t thought about it. Look at all the superb forwards on the team that he’s responsible for drafting (damn, that is a bit sarcastic isn’t it – but I’m pissed off about it and I know a lot of you guys are too as well). There is very very little excuse to have the only substantial forward on the team that he’s drafted being Clifford. One could say Lokti, but he isn’t even on the big team at the moment. And it’s just a tad premature to mention King or Nolan as no idea how they’ll both shake out.

        Let’s leave it at this…… the forward who’s scored the most goals this year that DL is responsible for drafting is Clifford…. and he has four. That’s sad. I’m sorry. I apologize (don’t know what for) but that’s just really not on. Would be interesting to know who the highest scoring home grown forwards are on the Leafs and the Panthers given the short amount of time the GM’s have been there. My best guess is it’s more than four goals.

  9. I feel the same way in a lot of ways.

    Honestly this is the first season where I actually would rather see what life without Lombardi would be like. I questioned drafting, and some of his earlier trades. I questioned his choices on prospects that he had no intention of using. I even questioned his FA signings, and some of his choices to let some valuable players walk away for nothing.

    What really Killed it for me was that he fired Murray, but then left the coaching staff together, and hired a Murray clone (admittingly Sutter is better than Murray), and now resident fucking yes man, so that DL could keep the same flawed system intact.

    I was able to overlook the flaws, because I believed there was a reasonable look towards the future. This is the first time I’ve lost faith in DL, and no longer believe that is the case anymore.

    anyway, enough bitching and complaining, good thread JT.

    • Dominick, I agree. The only part where I’m not totally on board is that, I actually thought some of the earlier trades were the better ones (JW – JJ) though you may be referring to Vishnovsky? Can’t think of the others at the moment.
      I see people on other blogs saying he’s done a good job drafting.
      If you’re drafting Hickey, Teubert, Moller (good potential, but what’s the point given how DL wants the team to play), Lewis. I mean that’s just not my idea of good drafting at all. I can’t even begin to imagine a franchise like Detroit using first (and 2nd) round picks on those players. Lewis is fine for a 4th line center…. but 3rd round. Not a first round pick for heavens sake.

      But really it goes beyond the trades, it goes beyond the drafts. I have read quotes from Mike Babcock (general quotes). That guy so gets it. It isn’t even funny. And then DL is going on about the Yankees? Listen, draft us the next Mariano Rivera, the next Derek Jeter, Then go on about the Yankees.

      • Cammi. He had potential to be a scorer. I get DL taking it personal with the money thing, but trading him to move up a few spaces so he could take a stay at home defenseman? Especially when he just went on record a few weeks earlier as saying he didn’t think the Kings during that season could sustain a top spot in the standings because scoring 5 on 5 wasn’t strong enough.

        I thought back then it was a dueche move, but rolled with it in support of the bigger picture. I was sold a pipe dream because he never stopped drafting defensemen, and still does even though our biggest needs (still) are wingers.

  10. Like all of you I am very disappointed with this season. If the Kings do not make the playoffs it will be because they don’t deserve to make it. They have not played well enough.

    If they do not make it to the playoffs, yes there will ( and should be ) casualties.

    No they are not out of it, but it is hard to see them playing well enough, long enough, to make it to the playoffs.

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