Kings Beat Hawks 3-2. Disaster Averted. For Now.

Patrick Sharp may have faked me off the couch with his move but he didn’t fool Jonathan Quick.

I may have gotten religious at the end of overtime but I was back to my old self by its end.

We may have been one less outstretched glove and 2 inches away from losing this game but we won.

This game nearly killed me but I survived and survived is exactly what the Kings did by the skin of their teeth.

We blew another third period lead. Our defense again looked suspect at times. For all the accolades Mike Richards received for that shootout goal, he also made more mistakes tonight but damn, did he work hard out there.

Drew Doughty. Mistakes. Hustle. But mistakes.

Jeff Carter is a fucking goal scorer. He can snipe. I love the fact he is not a Dean Lombardi player and our idiot GM had to go outside of his comfort zone to acquire him to save his job. It further proves why Dean is an idiot. Had Dean done his job in the past 5 years and 11 months, he wouldn’t have needed to trade Jack Johnson and yet another first. Even if we make the playoffs and get past the first round, I want Lombardi gone and the rest of his crew with him. I want to be G.M.

Slava Voynov. Two mistakes tonight in the defensive zone but what a goal. Puck on his stick and in the back of the net. This kid is gold. Guess we have to give Lombardi credit for this one.

I hate our powerplay. Hate it with a passion I cannot begin to explain. Maybe a drawing will help (click on the image to make it erect).

This is a powerplay formation (sometimes called a low release), one I love and one I see the better teams use regularly. The red arrows represent passes. The purple represents skating. There are about 5-6 different versions of this, each designed to give options for a one timer. It is a difficult formation to defend against exactly because of those options. Here, the F1 passes the puck to the D2 who passes it to the F2. The F2 passes it to the F3 (ideally a left hander) just as the F3 comes off the boards (unguarded because he is away from the PK box). The F3 then looks for the F1 that is collapsing in as shown on the diagram from the back side for a one timer or the D1 coming in from up top, also for a one timer. This gives two one time shot possibilities from prime scoring areas and also away from the goaltender’s vision because the passes do not initiate from in front of him. This forces him to guess and either over or underplay the pass because he cannot immediately read whether the pass is going to his weak side or up top. The F3 also has the option to take the puck himself to the net which would then cause the F1 and D1 to crash and the F2 to rotate in. If the puck comes loose toward the F1, he has an open side. If it comes up high, then the D1 has the shot into the frantic PK unit or the F3 can pick up his own rebound. So, one powerplay formation gives numerous options starting with 2 one timer options, a driving to the net option and rebound options that don’t start from the point. HIGH PERCENTAGE SCORING OPTIONS. That is what makes for a great and non-static powerplay.

Would that fucking idiot Jamie Kompon implement something like this? No. Why? Because he is an idiot. We have the skill set for this play and others like it. We simply don’t maximize the golden opportunities given to us which is why our powerplay suffers and is, at best, streaky. Tonight, Jacob and I did a podcast with Jesse Cohen of All The Kings Men Podcast (which should air shortly and after Jesse bleeps out Jacob and I cursing and, yes, what you read is what you get with us) and I shared my frustration about this very topic and about the lack of using formations just like this. So, when you hear that podcast, perhaps seeing this will make more sense to you.

Hey! We got 2 points but we are still out of a playoff spot, tied with Calgary and they get the tiebreaker for now.

We want Anaheim (disgusting) to beat Colorado, Edmonton to beat San Jose and Nashville to beat Phoenix tomorrow. I hate that we are scoreboard watching. Fuck.

Go Kings!



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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42 replies

  1. I remember Richards making a few nice passes down low early in the year on the PP like that. Another option is to have one of the D drift back door and have that weak side winger come in to the middle of the slot.

    You can wreak all kinds of havoc this way.

  2. Even the win was somehow not satisfying, knowing that we had to be very fortunate with two empty nets missed by the Hawks. Sort of like having some cake while your neck is in the guillotine. Bring on those Red Wings…

  3. This is a 3-2 league. If I allowed that formation, letting them practice it….this would be a 4-2/ 5-2 league. I can’t allow that. That’ s tits on a bull.
    Signed Darryl Surtter
    Countersigned Dean Lombardi

  4. The implementation and plan can be solid as a rock But the gold is found in the Execution. Something the squad has found hard to grasp this entire season. Successful execution could mean the difference of scratching for a playoff spot now vs. being seeded 3rd or 4th.

  5. Also, I think it’s a pretty intuitive play, allowing lots of improvisation and reading of teammates.

    • That is the hallmark of any effective formation, especially on the PP. In hockey, once you have possession, set plays that deliver options, especially high percentage scoring chances, are the difference between scoring consistently and not. I could draw out several options if there are any interruptions during the passing plays that would immediately get the play back on track and keep the D guessing. Effective formations are not an end to themselves. But when you execute low to high (like Kompon and Murray did) and that is your default, well, then you render execution moot to some extent because you need dumb luck more than anything.

  6. I really wish Quick would make some stops, though. Boy, was he awful tonight. Bernier would never let in soft goals like Quick did tonight.

    • This is not surprising. He overplayed passes and shots. This is 2 seasons ago all over again. Sutter is wearing him down just like Murray did before him. Bernier is getting minimal ice time. If we make the playoffs, we are going to have one tired Quick. I just hope 2 seasons of experience and better fitness gets him through it but I am skeptical. Who didn’t see this coming? Only the people in charge.

      • Sad but true. Alfhough vlingo butcherd my post, i see you grabbed onto the idea of going to Lombardi’s office with a few fellow King’s fans (and heavy drinkers) , and having a tea and crumpets and neighborly chat digh the current administration. Amicably, of course………

      • Yeah . . . Quick had a .946 save percentage tonight, stopping 33 of 35 shots. He was named star of the game and didn’t give up a goal on the six shots he faced in the shoot-out.

        Jeez, with a performance as bad as that it’s just so obvious that he’s burned out. How could I have missed it?

        • Hmm. I sense a limp sarcasm in there. Quick has struggled for the past several games. My opinion. Yours may differ. He was better tonight at times and spectacular on the shootout (I think he got the most difficult shots). I see fatigue in his game similar to what I have seen from him in the playoffs. It’s like socialism…creeping.

    • Hook, line and sinker, fellas.

      I’m pretty much mocking JT Dutch, et al for jumping on Quick so, um, quickly. I thought I was reading the insider for a moment based on how, um, quickly people’s opinions change based on wins/losses, etc.

      Bernier has let in his fair share of soft goals this year too, and I doubt he would have stopped that first minute flurry last night, he’s just not as good at Quick in scrambles.

      Quick has looked sloppy of late but he’s been one of the few consistent performers for this team most of the year. He has performed well all year. Sure, I agree Bernier deserves and deserved more games, but Quick doesn’t deserve the fans turning on him so, um, quickly.

  7. Tonight Quick is entitled to each teammate giving him a $1,000 tip for giving the team 2 points. Sutter gives $5,000 and $10,000 out of their paychecks.

    If I were Quick, at the end of the game, I would be slashing his stick at each of his teammates for making him work his fanny off.

  8. For now is right.

    My daily comment on Jeff Carter… He’s not Milan Lucic, or Brenden Morrow, but we knew that when we got him, and I accepted that. He’s also even more talented than those guys. Another very good today. Some days are better than others, but overall, I feel the same way about him now as when I was recommending the Kings get him. They really needed someone like him, not that they couldn’t still use another, but they really, really, really, really, really needed a player like him. If they could have gotten someone with his talent who also had even more work rate, that would have been great, but Alexander Ovechkin isnt available (or if he is, he has twice the cap hit), and Jeff Carter is actually the better player right now, and Jarome Iginla isnt available, either, plus he’s a short term solution.

    So Im still very happy to have Carter. Wish it wouldnt have cost Jack Johnson, for all those advanced stats articles bashing him, I bet his advanced stats are magically good now in Columbus, probably because hes a good, talented player. Not sure how his advanced stats got so bad in LA, only that I never noticed him being that bad with my eyes.

    But Im happy to have Carter, his talent just amounts to all these little things that help the Kings all over the ice, he seems to win board battles without even trying because of his size, he’s able to reach pucks and clear them along the boards in the defensive zone that others wouldnt be able to. He can backcheck while half asleep at half speed and still catch people with that long stride. He hasnt really broke free offensively so far in a Kings game where he gets really free on the wing or on a breakaway, but he came close a few times against Chicago, where defenseman were just able to wrap their stick around him and get the tip of it on the puck before he could shoot or get in closer.

    But he really is, speaking of advanced stats, just a positive-corsi machine. He keeps the play going the right way, possesses it so well. He really plays an easy game, the game is easy for him in a sense. I think thats what some people dont like about him, because it makes you wonder just how good he would be if he decided to play a hard game, but Im not sure if he’s playing an easy game or the game is just easy for him, or if there’s a difference. But I definitely think some of it is that he just makes it look easy sometimes, on cruise control, because that’s how good he is. Then of course the other aspect is that he sometimes is on cruise control. But cruise control has its benefits. You keep your energy much better, you dont get beat up. Probably a positive at least in one sense for a player with a 10 year contract. We might like it tomorrow if he decided to play like Ovechkin tomorrow and from then on, but we wouldnt two years from now with Carter on IR or not the same player.

    I should probably say, Im very, very happy with Carter, because that’s really the truth. Im still waiting for to see like a signature hat trick where he snipes all three in the corner or some amazing shot in a Kings uniform. We already saw one from the slot a couple games ago that was special. Im just waiting for more, maybe a little more free ice, when he gets free completely. But thats just the entertainment aspect. In terms of his game, as I was saying, I am extremely happy with Carter by himself, just wish we didnt have to give up Jack Johnson. The overall trade off, I am still happy with, and very happy with Carter taking Johnson out of the equation.

    I mean, honestly, and this sort of goes back to my points over the whole season stating the Kings arent as talented as some think, he’s been the Kings best offensive player since coming over. Maybe the Kings best player, period. I know a lot of people thought Richards was better when he got traded to the Kings (maybe they just meant overall, with defense and grit in the equation, and not offensively, but I dont know). I know a lot of people thought Kopitar was better offensively… not that Kopitar doesn’t have a shot at it if he gets playing the right way. He showed a flash during the Chicago game early when he really got his legs going, got stickhandling a little, and tried taking the puck to the net. You know, like a real live goal scorer. But he got upended or hit a bit and that was the end of that.

    Anyway, for now, Carter is the Kings best offensive player, if not the best player, period. And I think he can still do more. Flyers fans would probably say he could have done more in PHI, too, but never did. But it doesnt really matter. Even if he just keeps up the status quo, he’s already a huge upgrade for the Kings. Im happy with the overall package, imperfections and all, if there even have been any imperfections so far. Only knock so far is the game in Columbus, and like I said I actually think he’s close to producing even more, once the chances start materializing a bit more clean. Hes getting so many near chances, he’s close.

    • “He hasnt really broke free offensively so far in a Kings game where he gets really free on the wing or on a breakaway”

      Yeah he has. A couple games back, don’t remember who. But he was even with someone and blew right by them. Didn’t score, but it was a great play.

      He’s got a tremendous takeoff/acceleration and gains a step on players with ease. Plus, he’s big, so he can protect the puck real well. And he has a nose for the net.

  9. Also on Mike Richards, so many comments about how tired he was because he was working hard…

    Guess what, they all work hard. For Richards to be so tired that he kept getting singled out as the tired one, it just further proves what Ive been saying since they traded for him: he is out of shape, he is not the same physical specimen he was in Philadelphia.

    I remember saying I liked the addition when the Kings to him, but under the circumstances that he’s still the same player, in shape, because when I watched him last year in Philadelphia, he had trouble backchecking at full speed after like 20 seconds in the offensive zone, and his full speed was not as good to start with.

    To Richards’ credit, he seems in better shape this year than last. Last he looked terrible to me. I think going to a new team, he realized he needed to be in better shape, and worked some at it. He’s gotten like halfway back. But he’s still behind where he was back when he was a top player, which is where the Kings need him to be.

    This is a good news bad news scenario. Good news, the Kings will have the top player back and all it will take is a good strength and conditioning program for Richards. And Richards could start that now, between games, or in the summer, for the next season.

    Bad news, or he could never do it, and never get into the shape he was in a few years ago again, and never be a top player again. For all we know, he doesn’t even realize his problem right now is his declined fitness and strength, and he will go on for the next decade wondering what happened to his game, never realizing what the problem is, because I have no way of telling him and Im not sure anyone else here does, either.

    I just hope someone tells him because I truly believe that is the problem.

    On the good news side, I think Doughty is in better shape than last year. Still dont think hes physically back to where he was his sophomore year, but it’s better.

    On the bad news Doughty side, the Kings gave up a penalty shot today because he fell down trying to crossover skating backwards. I believe you’ve heard me talk before about how I’ve identified Doughty’s big problem defensively as his backwards skating. People see him skating forwards and talk about how sexy a skater he is, how good he is, and Im not sure anyone realizes he has this secret achilles heel which is his backwards skating. I mean usually the two go hand in hand, but Doughty literally, for his all-star forward skating, has backwards skating worse than most third-pairing defenseman. I dont necessarily mean speed wise, but his footwork, balance. You saw him fall down today. You saw him against Couture last postseason make a mess out of a simple backskating gap control defending scenario. He lacked so much confidence in his back skating that he tried to force a hip check all the way out on the wall, just so that he wouldnt have to backskate and maintain a gap.

    That’s really something that needs to be worked on. Cant they just get him a skating coach for after practice or work with him on it in practice? Just some simple backskating drills for a month will do it.

    Or do they, again, not even realize what the problem is, while fanny mc fan here does?

  10. Comments on the TV, I should say, not here. I think I sensed the sarcasm.

  11. Bobby,

    on the powerplay, what formation do the Kings use now? When it comes to formations, unless I really make an emphasis on identifying what teams are doing, Im not someone who can tell the formation off the top of my head. I mean I can notice an umbrella and things like that, but not the entire scheme. What I do notice is just wrong vs right. When there are open players always available to the puck carrier so he doesnt get stuck with it with defenders closing him down and lose it, when there is movement and danger. I can tell a good PP from a bad one very quickly, and identify why one is good and one is bad based on lack of movement, formation… I just couldnt tell you the actual numbers of the formations with all the detail of like “F1 looks for F3 in scenario 4.”

    So what do the Kings use? And why does it suck more specifically than the formation is “bad,” there arent enough open players, the puck carrier gets stuck with it, there isnt enough movement, people are never in the right place.

    Also, the diagram you posted, that looks a lot like what the Chicago Blackhawks have been running this year, and it hasnt worked for them. They’re so skilled, they get the puck to the low forward (F3) so quickly that he actually has a clear path to the net to jam it every time, and it looks like it should work really well, it creates scrambles and rebounds by the net with people crashing all the time, but it hasnt actually gone it very often, at least not this year. Maybe thats because the Hawks are soft in front of the net. Personally I think its because they never take the other looks. They jam it every time and its predictable now.

    Personally, I think the look you posted is good, and I would try to combine it with Vancouver or San Jose’s formations, maybe combine all there, mix it up, have a few different looks all coming out of the umbrella (which is a great base formation because it can rotate into basically any other formation).

    But Bobby Im curious what the Kings are doing wrong right now specifically, maybe you could educate us more on the specific tactics and everything, and maybe contrast that to not just the diagram you gave us, but Vancouver and San Jose, maybe Detroit.

    And if I could get a pepsi with that, too, that would be great. :-P

    • A piss poor version of the traditional overload with the back side defenseman, who will shoot with traffic up front. Kopitar plays the role of the F1 along the boards. If the back side D doesn’t take the shot, he can give it back to the D1 who will give it back to the F1 and off we go killing precious minutes. Sometimes you see the back side D (D2) make a cross ice pass back to Kopitar for a one timer but it is often ineffective because the PK players have not been taken out of their box and are waiting for the shot and taking away lanes. I have seen them try to use the F1 for the shot as part of the set up and use the strong side D as well, basically different variations of the overload. The key to the overload? Having a shooting mentality (I just puked) and net presence (which we don’t get often enough). There is nothing wrong with the overload. It’s been around and used with success. It is also something the players learn at a young age and know damn well how to defend. That is predominantly what I have seen although I thought I saw them playing a split – it could have simply been the overload gone wrong or I am an idiot, probably the latter.

      • Sorry Bobby i didnt see this until now. Thanks for the explanation.

        Nothing wrong with the overload, sure, but I think there is a trend in the NHL right now where the umbrella has really been, not necessarily perfected, but it’s the dominant PP right now. Every powerplay formations create numerical advantages, obviously, because you have 1 extra player than the other team, but the overload gets you that 3 on 2 up high, not just the numerical advantage, and in the middle of the ice, but it gets you the advantage with momentum to the net. You have the D up high in the middle of the ice at the blueline, and then you can have each side of the umbrella skating toward the net. The defense can only cover one, you pass to the other one, you’re getting a look from the slot with momentum towards the net.

        And it seems to use movement much better than the overload. The umbrella just keeps rotating up and it’s circular, can go either way, you can introduce wrinkles. You can have high looks, slot looks, or down low looks.

        Looking at the Canucks and Sharks, right now the umbrella is the best PP formation. Why the Kings always have to do things the hard way and try to be different (different from the best usually means worse), I dont know understand.

    • “When there are open players always available to the puck carrier so he doesnt get stuck with it with defenders closing him down and lose it, when there is movement and danger.”

      Oh man the Kings suck so bad at this. They wait, wait, wait until the player is on top of them and can cut off a passing option, which then allows another PK’er to jump to the other passing lane. Often they will attempt a saucer pass that bounces and handcuffs the receiver allowing the box to attack that player without fear of being burned.

      Just pass the puck while you both have some time and space to handle the puck cleanly. The Kings rarely take advantage of the fact that the box just put hard pressure on them, they’re usually stuck trying to protect the puck or dig it off the boards. So why keep doing it? Rawr. I’d rather make some harmless passes back and forth while we’re in the zone in order to keep it there, instead of coughing it up and having to make another zone entry. It wastes less time and keeps the PK’ers stuck on the ice.

  12. First of all, let me go on record as saying I am all in favor of a low release, a slow release, a full release and a happy ending. The Kings obviously need to massage their power play formation. It’s gonna take a hand’s on approach to knead out tension. Guys’ hands have gone dry and they are gripping their sticks too tight, which makes it hard-on them; too bad we lost Lube-o, too, he was a good QB.

    I doubt whether Kompon is going to be able to work out the kinks, as he clearly rubs the players the wrong way. Makes me want to rolf. I mean, I am just incensed, the team’s coaching just can’t hold a candle to what Dave Tippett used to do, so the ambience isn’t relaxing at all. Even veteran players have been made to lay down for it, so everyone has their faces down. The memory of the successful PP from just two years ago is now tainted, the ball’s in Lombardi’s court, someone needs to get sacked.

  13. I believe I know the exact PP formation you are referring to..This is something that Tampa Bay is excellent at with Steven Stamkos. The Low forward feeds a pass over to Stamkos in the lower left and he one times it right in. I’ve seen him score that exact goal 50 times…the problem is, who do we have to execute that consistently?

    Dustin Brown? No way
    Kopitar? He plays the wrong side and doesn’t take one timers. EVER
    Richards? Possibly a good fit
    Carter? We need him in front, but he might be the best option
    Williams? Probably second best option
    Stoll? Do you trust him to actually hit the net?

    Also, for the person who said Quick had a horrible game. Are you Effing kidding me? He has an OUTSTANDING game. He won this game for us. Both goals Chicago scored were not even close to his fault and he went perfect in the shootout

    • But he was also very lucky with two empty net shots that went wide, Bolland and I think Hossa, plus he was out of the play many, many times from overreacting.. If results are all that count, then you’re right, but his technique is eroding.

    • Maybe someone could take a trip to Phoenix and sneak inside Tippets house and steal his powerplay diagram from his time with the Kings and mail it to Tampon?

      • While you are hiding in the closet, spying on Tippett, maybe you can also spy on Maloney, oh fuck he’s with all that snatch in FLA.

        Tippett is a genius, well ok, maybe not a MENSA genius, but he obviously knows his stuff.

        You have to wonder what the PHX magical formula is for having a team, which isn’t exactly a star filled roster like most NHL teams is able to do much much more with less.

        Yes I am aware PHX had a little hiccup recently, but they are still 7th in the Western Conference, however nobody has expected PHX to even compete for the years since Tippett has taken over as coach.

        Over achievers? Well I’ll take a less talented group of over achievers, any day instead of a allegedly superior talent laden team like the Kings.

        In response to another person who made a reference to Quick being burned out 2 years ago due to playing too many games during the regular season:

        Quick was injured, which I think you may have not known when the Kings played Vancouver in the 09/10 Stanley Cup Playoffs in round 1.

        Quick had badly bruised ribs, which some reported as being broken going into the Vancouver series. Murray being Murray would not think of taking Quick out in place of Ersberg.

    • Josh that’s a misconception that we need Carter in font. In fact Carter is largely wasted in front. The guy who gets the least clean opportunities to use his shot on the powerplay is always the guy in front of the net. Carter’s best asset is his shot, so you need to put him where he can use his best asset. Reminds me of Heatley in Ottawa vs Heatley in San Jose and now Minnesota. In Ottawa, they fed him one-timers whenever they could, played him on the right wing with Spezza to feed him. In San Jose, they tried to turn him into Holmstrom. Same in Minnesota now.

      The Kings are doing the same with Carter. Get this guy in a shooting position.

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