“Well-Served”

I love Jon Rosen’s “Waking Up With the Kings” blogs. They are my favorite feature on The Insider. Unlike his predecessor’s, which were nothing more than an amalgamation of the previous nights’ statistics, Jon provides meaningful stats in context with his own insight and opinion, often recounting pivotal moments of the game that you won’t necessarily see on any highlight reel package. It’s the kind of journalism I have craved about the Kings and it’s previous absence was one of the primary reasons I began devoting free time to writing here.

I also think that Rosen doesn’t make a habit of pulling punches, even though he knows how to be diplomatic in his criticisms.

Kopitar hasn’t scored a goal in 23 games. He has one shot in his last 41 minutes on the ice.

Today, Jon wrote:

This type of Kopitar is preferable to a Kopitar who cheats towards the attacking zone to prop up his offensive numbers (which isn’t really a Kopitar at all), but the Kings’ most skilled and most complete player would be well-served by increasing his shots on goal output.

There is nothing false about this assessment. It is very true. But it taps around like Bojangles.

Kopitar would be more than “well-served” to shoot the puck more often. I submit to the committee of couch coaches and message board GMs that Kopitar’s shooting the puck more is essential to the Kings’ success.

But but but Kopi takes the top match ups, eats tons of minutes, is stellar on defense, racks up the assists and and and other people besides Kopitar need to score to and and but but nothing.

I am getting sick of the insinuation that expecting and/or demanding Kopitar contribute with goals is to also downplay his excellence in other areas of the ice and the crucial role he plays outside of scoring. Sutter has done this. I understand he is protecting his player, but while we do not take anything away from Kopi’s defensive game by indicting his scoring, conversely, praising his defensive game does not diminish the void left by his reluctance to shoot the damn puck.

This pussy-footing around by Sutter, Rosen and others is starting to bother me a great deal. No one wants to slam the guy because he does so much well. Fine. He does. We can appreciate and acknowledge that and still be pissed.

If I spend a shit load of money on a Lamborghini that has a misfiring cylinder, I can only gush about how nice the interior is for so long before feeling ripped off. It’s like the hottest girl you know having a hair trigger gag reflex. It’s a beautifully shot movie without a working soundtrack. A great concert without a joint. The Kings without a Kopitar who drives the net and shoots the puck is a neutered team no matter how you slice it.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

55 replies

  1. Well spoken and to the point!

  2. Couldn’t agree more! Kopi, take it to the net. TAKE IT TO THE FUCKING NET!!! I don’t believe for one minute that taking more shots is going to jeopardize his 200ft game. It’s not like he’s gonna be cheating too far down low or cherry picking in the neutral zone. It’s just taking shots.
    I play twice a week & a teammate and myself alternate C/LW each game to mix it up. When I play C, I take just as many shots as I do at LW. I’m still the first forward back in my zone. Granted it’s just a +35 league and not the NHL, but it’s still hockey.

    • If being offensively opportunistic hurt the 200 ft game, Jeff Carter would suck at the D part. Yet, he is right there with Kopitar on the two way game

      I am embracing that Kopitar is pass first. He is a play maker and doesn’t want to score goals as his first instinct. Sucks because we saw what offensively aggressive Kopitar can do in the playoffs. Win a Cup

  3. I’ve seen him drive to the net twice this year and score once…that was the preseason game against the Rangers. I want to see more of that. Its a part of his game he completely forgets to use.

  4. Well you have a point here. If you look at recent Kings history, their winning percentage is about .800 when Kopitar scores (I heard this quoted last season but I can’t find the reference and don’t have the exact stat) . Now the implications of this may not be fair to the player, but the number don’t lie. When Kopitar scores, the Kings usually win. I am not sure how this could be incorporated into the Kings’ strategy, but that would be a job for the coaches…

  5. I want a hattrick damnit. All this pressure on Kopi to score doesn’t seem fair. Goals are a team problem. Brown wasnt 100% to start the season and King and Clifford aren’t adequate replacements. The top line will start to produce. Give it time. I’d actually like to see King or Clifford get more goals. I know Kopi can do it. Can they?

  6. His problem is simple. He needs to have the Will to want to put the puck in the net. Look at the top 10 in scoring so far and how many centers there are. Sutter keeps saying how he’s a dominant player but I see differently. As a forward your main job is to score. There’s a reason why forwards have three guys to a line.

    Why not line up as two forwards and three D? Or one forward and four D? Because it’s not going to work in getting pucks in the net. Defense wins games? Bullshit if there’s no scoring you ain’t winning shit. He needs to start stepping up his O as well as everyone else but Carts.

    People talk about his 200′ game well we saw what happened to them last game. Is TM back on staff?

    DD needs to wake the fuck up and stop eating so many doughnuts. That very first turnover was hideous. He was so nonchalant again with the puck when the guys stick was a foot away from his. He’s playing like some low level beer leaguer who just learned how to play hockey three months ago.

    But no reason to hit the panic button. I’d rather them start off slow and then go on a tear later in the season then get off to a running start and then burn out.

  7. Shit, Surly, I’ve been saying the exact same thing for years now, even when it was taboo to talk anything but praises of Kopitar. Matter of fact, you came back at me (in a nice way) hard a few times in defense of Kopitar. Finally, people are acknowledging he has parts of his game that need work.

    As I’ve said before, and it goes hand-in-hand with Hat Tricks point, it’s all between the ears with Kopitar. He doesn’t want or have the desire to tap his full potential. It’s scary how much better Kopitar could be if he just went after it a little more. Kopitar is a fine player, indeed, my point is and always has been he could be so much better (offensively). I truly believe Kopitar plays at 80% potential. Could you imagine adding 15-20% to his game.

    We’re talking about shooting the puck, but it’s more then that.

    First, when Kopitar is leading a 2 on 3 rush (any rush, really) he needs to keep the puck on his stick and pressure the defensemen to make the first move which will open up skating or passing lanes. He always passes the puck six feet from the defensemen which makes their job of defending much easier. Attack the middle and all kinds of space is created for the wings on the rush.

    Not only does he not shoot the puck, he’s the only player on either PP unit that does not skate toward or attack the net. You think I’m kidding, watch any taped game you have and watch him stand still on the half wall or skate behind the net, instead of attacking it. Watch how many times Kopitar has 5-7 foot of open space in front of him and he refuses to move forward to snap his wicked wrist shot or create havoc and rebounds for his teammates. Yes, he’s made some nice passes but we also need him to score goals. We need him to be a first line scoring center.

    I don’t dislike Kopitar and he’s one hell of a player and all around good guy It just frustrates me sometimes to watch someone who has been given incredible gifts to not take full advantage of them for himself and his/our team. Alright I’m done. I’m not tying to bash the guy, I just want him to be a little more aggressive for the sake of all of us.

    I know he doesn’t deserve all the blame and others need to step up as well, but we are simply on the subject of number 11.

    Shut me up, son and score a couple goals for us later today. I hope you do. I wish for your success.

    • I probably did give you shit for it. I’ve always wanted Kooi out shoot more, but he also has never, to my memory, gone this long without a goal and shot so little. It’s always been an issue width Kopi, but I don’t think it’s ever been this bad of an outright problem.

      • No, you are correct, it hasn’t been this drastic, but it has always been part of his game/problem. His lack of aggression/assertiveness has always been a weak point.

  8. Agree with every word on this page. Unfortunately his ‘………….’ (cause I don’t know what the right word is) play for the last 30 or so games plus playoffs as brought into sharp relief just how offensively challenged the team is. It’s getting to the point where they-we had better hope Carter scores. Cause in all probability, if he doesn’t it’s not likely to go well.

    There is a very clear balance issue on this team (offensively) and if Kopi goes one third of a season without scoring and there is likely to be little to no scoring from the left wing position (a part from Brown), my guess is that doesn’t help the teams chances of winning games.

  9. I am finally getting a little bit frustrated with Kopi as well. I’ve seen the kinds of goals he can score and to me, he has too much skill not to be putting up 30 goals every season. It’s frustrating because I’ve considered him our best forward for some time, but when you look at other team’s best forwards, they score far more consistently than Kopi does. Just look at this season: Marleau (5 goals), Zetterberg (5 goals), Brad Richards (4 goals), Martin St Louis (4 goals), Spezza (4 goals), Parise (4 goals), Backes (4 goals), Kane (4 goals)… To me, the best comparison in this list is Zetterberg. Zetterberg plays a fantastic 2-way game and I think he and Kopitar have similar playing abilities…sure Kopi doesn’t have a Datsyuk feeding him the puck, but Zetterberg still finds ways to score even though he is a forward that plays the entire ice.

    Peter Forsberg was a pass first type of player, but when that guy wanted to score, he fuckin’ scored. Kopitar may need a boost in confidence to get to that level of offensive prowess…and I know it’s in him and it’s a bummer to watch him not reach it fully yet.

    Plain and simple: 7 games is too long for our “best forward” not to put up a goal.

    • Ryan…….. correction. You’re being kind. Yes, seven games this season. But as Rosen points out, going back to last season, it’s Twenty Three regular season games. That’s just not on.
      That simple.
      Sometimes I tend to go to ‘default’ mode and want to blame certain things on Lombardi such as the lack of development of forwards on the team in terms of offensive prowess. Fortunately he was able to trade for JW and Carter. But in reality I don’t know that that has much if anything to do with Kopitar’s deep-freeze recently.

      And I totally agree with you. That’s a great point you make about Zetterberg.
      Consistency (offensive consistency) doesn’t seem to be a hallmark of Kopi’s game so far.
      I don’t remember Parise ever going long periods when with the Devils without scoring.
      If it was a one-off (the 23 games) then that would be one thing. But every year he hits these dry spots.

  10. I wonder why he’s so afraid to shoot the puck? He has as much of a dangerous shot as Carts does, why is he being so reluctant to shoot? Nothing gets me more angry than seeing Kopi on the PP looking for a pass instead of just firing the puck at the net. Maybe he needs to see a sports shrink?

  11. Lines changed again’, Carcillo up to 2nd, good move, he’s been the best option so far. And Lewis drops to 4th. I kinda liked Lewis on the 3rd, but Sutter loves to play lets make a deal and swap box #3 for Curtain #2.
    I think the Kings will come out strong tonight, a solid effort and 2 points, giving them 6 of 8 on the trip.
    I don’t like DD with RR, I think DD is too tight when RR is out there, due to RR being inconsistent.

    Jon Rosen ‏@lakingsinsider 7m Forward lines at the morning skate: 23-11-14, 17-10-77, 74-28-21, 13-22-71. D appears to be the same.

  12. IT’S WAY PAST TIME … to confront Kopitar about not taking the puck to the net. Those comparisons of Kopitar to the two-way games of Zetterberg, on Detroit, and Carter, with the Kings, are excellent. Kopitar does not have an aggressive personality. He avoids going into the crease where it’s difficult. Yes, his two-way skills are incredible, but he only wants to stand off in a nice, safe area … away from the rough stuff … and dish off to those who are willing to confront the opposing players in front of the net. He will sometimes give a decent, clean, check along the boards, but that isn’t enough. The problem for the team is that they don’t have many players … WITH GOOD HANDS … who can fight for position in front of the net and finish! You’ll see, time and time again, players fighting for position in front of the net, but they aren’t skilled enough to get a shot on goal. Carter’s not afraid to stand in front of the opposing goalie and dig for a loose puck. And when it touches his stick, it usually ends up in the net!!

    • Deirdre, thankfully someone else noticed the same thing I did. Doughty is superbly talented.
      It’s not just per chance that he’s made more mistakes in seven games this season than he did in the first 30 last season (BR – before Regehr).

      It’s pretty evident that the way either WM or Scuderi balanced Doughty it suited his game perfectly.
      I felt (as did Bobby and perhaps Surly) that DL gave up way to much (2 2nd’s) to get Regehr and compounded it by the 2 yr. contract. Bad decision. I don’t even think it was a ‘let’s fill in the gaps as we don’t know about Willie decision. If he had to do it to give them the best chance to repeat, that’s one thing, but the extra two years was clearly to me not the way to go.

      And now, a price is being paid, because there can’t be more than 3 or 4 teams in the nhl that would have Regehr as a first pairing dman. Certainly not one that’s supposed to contend for a cup.
      Sorry for digressing, but it’s pretty evident to me that there is a very poor balance, chemistry, call it what you will, between the two of them. He’s so static in his movement that it doesn’t work.
      Scuds wasn’t a great skater, but he moved plenty well to get Doughty moving forward while he drifted ever so slightly behind and backed up Drew.

  13. @Persister
    You’re analysis is really good. There are plenty of guys on the team that will go to the difficult areas. Problem is, there are only one or two of them that have good hands. Most of them don’t. As you point out, Kopi has the great hands but his % go down when he isn’t in those prime areas.

    • What can be done about Kopitar? No one seems to want to apply the needed pressure to urge Kopitar to use his natural skills to shoot the puck! Most fans think it’s good enough that he’s a play maker. Well … that would be fine if we had more forwards with good hands. But what is happening now is these forwards are getting the pass and not getting a quality shot on goal … except, of course, for Justin Williams, who usually gets the job done.

  14. I personnaly think it’s a psychological problem with Kopitar. His whole career has been streaky goal wise. When he beleives he can score he will score. When he doesn’t he deffers and plays harder or defense. It shows the tremendos caracter of the man but still, I think he should be, year in and year out a 35-40 goal scorer, and a 100 point man. He has that kind of talent. He has all kinds of vision and can find open parts of the ice. The Kings really need him to score goals. He is more dangerous and opens far more opportunities with whoever is on the ice with him.

    • It’s absolutely psychological, but I’m not necessarily sold it’s an issue of confidence. It’s a fine line I guess between not having the confidence to shoot and thinking you can help the team more by passing it off.

      But that is my biggest problem with his decisions to not shoot, he actually hurts the flow of offense. His driving the net opens up space for others and generates more second chances than working the half wall and dishing to defenders for point shots.

      • I just think he’s denying himself his natural instincts. The guy can score in every which way. He should just follow his natural instincts, and if he did, guarantee he will score goals, make great passes, and play stellar defense. Driving to the net is a small part of his game. He needs to control the play out there, the way Gretzky did. Go off the half wall or behind the net. Then use his natural instincts to put the puck in the net.

        KOPITAR JUST SCORES ON THR SHOOTOUT!! KINGS WIN!!!!!

        • It was almost as though he had read this blog this afternoon! Maybe this will help his attitude toward shooting more, but then again … maybe not!

  15. Guys and gals, we got our ole buddy Eric “the Fucknut” Furlat in as ref again! Expect the most trivial penalties to be called by that dumbshit.

  16. It’s not that this: “… a Kopitar who cheats towards the attacking zone to prop up his offensive numbers” is reality. (Nor is that being claimed by Rosen)

    Try something like this: “a Kopitar who exits the attacking zone too quickly and too often in order to bear too much defensive responsibility – a nasty, lingering, and (now) totally unnecessary hangover from his formative days under Terry Murray…” if you want to understand the situation.

    P.S. Regehr sucks.

  17. He’s just a passive player, plain and simple.

  18. I’m surprised he didn’t pass the puck in the shoot out

  19. Just saw the replay on fox. Missed the game cause of work…I’m thinking that kopi might get some of his mojo back after that winner?

    • It didn’t give him his mojo back the last time he had a SOG a few games back. Maybe he’s just not a player whose motivated for 82 games, some guys aren’t.

    • He has his offensive ups and downs. If the shot is right in front of his face, he will take it. His problem is that when there is an option to pass his first instinct is to pass it off. He doesn’t have the killer instinct that REAL scorers have. He’ll always be a … pass first … shoot when there are no options player.

    • It’s very simple regarding Kopitar, when he plays in front of the net, he goes on scoring streaks (goals). When he stands at the half wall or plays behind the net he scores nada. It’s the old cliché, if Kopitar is willing to pay the price, good things happen, when he doesn’t…

      Hitman is dead on, he’s just passive by nature.

      Let me throw another stat at you all; Richards has 11 shots on goal for the year. Wtf is going on with our centers and their lack of shots.

      • You are so right! Richards is similar to Kopitar. They both think pass first. Yes. They ARE great passers, but they’re also great two way players, including having the ability to pick the corners on goalies. It’s like a disease. It will either get cured, or the Kings will just have to settle for only getting into the playoffs … if they play decently. Then, if they’re able to get into the playoffs, they’ll get eliminated when they get into a series with one of the best teams in the league.

  20. Kopitar and his saltpeter agression are due to that horrible injury he suffered 2 seasons ago against Colorado. Koi tar came back the next year but I still think he is afraid of hurting himself again so he avoids taking risks. It’s pretty clear something is wrong with him. Richards has been pretty good so far even if he hasn’t been scoring goals. Carter and Richards should not be broken up. Either use Carbomb or Clifford on the left or ship off Dwight King and bring up Pearson to play LW with Carter and Richards. I would also like to see just for a few games Weal. He might be smaller but he can buzz around out there and create scoring chances. Send King down if he gets claimed off waivers oh well he’s not that valuable to this roster anyways. Might also be time to send Muzzin down. Again AMARTH is still much better in all three zones and doesn’t cough up the puck like Jake the Tank.

    • I like it. It seems like it would be a positive change. Just moving weak players around isn’t going to solve anything. I hope Sutter reads Surly & Scribe!! :-)

      • I agree with that Modcoop. He’s naturally passive and then add the fear of injury…that makes a bad combo.

        Regarding the lines, don’t we need someone to jumpstart the first line. I think our second line will be fine with whoever plays with 77 & 10. We need our top line to produce goals. What do you suggest in ways of shaking up the top line? If 11 isn’t going to be a goal scorer, we need one of those pronto. How about Pearson on the top line with Brown dropping to the second? I know Brown hasn’t messed with Carter too well in the past, but we need to do something.

        It really highlights the fact, if Kopitar doesn’t produce as a goal scorer we’re screwed. We have no one who can score consistent goals other than Carter.

        Weal impressed me the most of all our prospects. I would love to see him brought up.

        Toffoli looked less than impressive at both camps and I’ve read he’s playing the same way in Manchester. Sigh! What to do?

  21. How about this trade prop with Dallas

    Fraser, Toffoli & Ellerby for Jamie Benn?

    • Benn is a gem of a player. You’re not even close in value. Toffoli would be the weak link in a trade not the most valuable. Meaning, something like Williams, Martinez and Toffoli…and that”s probably not enough.

      • Toffoli the weak link? He’s got the greatest upside. Ok throw in Muzzin also. Now that’s a fair trade. They need some quality, young D.

        • Most will call me crazy, but I’d trade anyone on our team that doesn’t wear the numbers 77, 8 or 26 for Benn. That’s how much I like him as a player. Benn would make a perfect King.

          • Benn would make an Excellent King. I don’t wanna trade any of the regulars away. We’ve got a lot in the pipe already. How about Jamie Benn playing with Richards and Carts? Fuggetabouttit

    • Why not get Crosby or Ovi or somebody else who is worth WAY MORE than that and whose contract cannot fit under the cap?

    • The one player that I really think could do well in a Kings uniform is Evander Kane. He hits a lot and shoots a lot. Put him on a line with Kopi, since Kopi always wants to pass and Kane always wants to shoot….bingo.

      • I would take Kane in a heartbeat. Physical, gritty and yes can score also. Someone should show Kopidor some videos of Kane and Benn on a constant loop Clockwork Orange style.

  22. So I watch almost all Kings games on GameCenter so I almost never get to see commercials. However, last night for some reason I got to hear the new intro song during a Kings commercial. HOLY FUCKING SHIT DOES THIS CRAP FUCKING SUCK!!!!!! Los Angeles has some of the richest, most talented musical history in the fucking world and we get a rip-off of an old Jimmie Davis song, that was covered by Anne Murray, for our fucking hockey team!! The tune is just “You are my sunshine.” FUCKING TERRIBLE AND EMBARRISING!! In case you don’t remember this innocent song from your youth here is a couple youtube videos for comparison:

    New shity song:

    Song my mom used to sing when I was tucked into bed as a three-year-old:

    WHAT THE FUCK!?!

  23. We need a CA kid in the line up. The Sharks have Nieto and the Ducks have Etem. That’s the missing piece!

    Lighten up guys, it’s a long season. They’ll get clicking eventually. The Ghost Inside should have done the Kings theme song. They’re huge fans of the team. :]

  24. So maybe a goal per center will bring some comfort. I honestly would be just as happy with a win. I don’t see the passive Kopitar everyone is talking about. He has been the same as always. Strong on the boards and very hard to knock off the puck. Richards is the same as well. A goal from Carcillo on a sweet pass from Richards may as well count as a Richards goal. Stoll and Lewis have also always been challenged, unless you go back to the geezer line, Stoll hasn’t exactly produced either.
    Last season a little emphasis was put on the Kings as to whether they are a fun team to watch. Like, is our system boring? Brown and others said they could care less as long as we are winning. I feel the same way. It’s nothing new either. The Kings system seems to steal some thunder from the skilled players, and force them to play a more north south style. That’s the formula that’s proven to work in the playoffs, and as long as we make it in we are a team nobody wants to play. As is. We are in the toughest division in the NHL hands down. My biggest concern is the loss of Scuderi. “The Piece” has become “the missing piece”, and Regehr is in my opinion the weak link on what was the best defensive squad in the NHL.

  25. On the bright side of things, Muzzin back in along with Fraser. Frattin out and Martinez out.

    I love these player rotations, especially Muzzin can’t wait to watch his – rating go up even higher than it already is!

    Oh and since Dwight King is so productive, we’ll just move him to LW on the 3rd line with Stoll and Lewis!

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