Faith Is A Bitch

For the past year and a half, I’ve been running on fumes of good faith. Every game, well or poorly played, I believed the Kings could win every game, right up until the final buzzer. That confidence was well earned over two fantastic playoff runs, but it is now bereft.

In the midst of our second five-game losing streak of the season, I find myself watching the team in the way I used to; gritting my teeth towards inevitabilities and futilities.

What a fucking bummer.

I don’t have answers on how to end this. Trades and benchings and lines and systems float through my head and they all circle back to two simple words: Play better.

I wouldn’t be opposed to a major shake-up of sorts. I wouldn’t be opposed to some minor tweaks to the team. I think something has got to give and I do not like reading that Kopitar’s attitude is “everybody knows we’re going in the wrong direction right now, and that we have to turn it around.” No shit, Mr. tar. As they say, knowing is half the battle. It doesn’t always equate to doing.

The team needs a kick in the pants, and that can come in a multitude of ways from several places, but it needs to start at the top. It was the players job to fix a month ago. It was the team’s captains job 2 weeks ago. It was the coaches job last week. Now it’s Lombardi’s. That can mean as much as a big trade to the core of the team, or as little as installing a breathalyzer in a few player’s cars. It usually doesn’t, but in this case, shit does flow uphill. A playoff team can sustain one prolonged losing streak per season. Two is hard to recover from.

Any more sliding down the standings and the possibility of missing the playoffs becomes very real. While these players have earned the chance to turn the ship around on their own, there is no sign that it will happen soon as this skid is not a sudden turn of events, but a gradual sanding down to the nubs.

I retain some semblance of former confidence that the team will rebound and win tonight against the Sharks. But even if that happens, one win doesn’t cut it. Perhaps the upcoming Olympics has something to do with it. What optimist in me is left wants to believe that and once it passes the team’s fire will be reignited. Only time will tell.

It’s too bad I’m not religious. Maybe I’d have had some experience trying to keep faith in the face of depressing evidence.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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42 replies

  1. I’m really tired of hearing, week after week, that the players know they need to play better. They need to put up or shut up!

    This has really been going on for a long time. They’ve had a lot of wins where they were low scoring affairs. Until recently, our defense has given the team a chance. Recently, however, the defense has faltered … for various reasons.

    04 wins
    10 losses
    02 overtime losses

    http://kings.nhl.com/club/gamelog.htm

    Look at their games. They squeaked out a few wins because of the excellent goaltending of their backups. Without that great goaltending, they would probably be in last place. But goaltending isn’t the only thing in hockey, but it IS necessary for a team to be great. In the case of the Kings, it’s been what has kept the team out of the basement.

    I know God has a sense of humor, because of his wondrous creation. So, I’m sure he must be a King’s fan! :-)

  2. What seed were the Kings our Stanley Cup year? Thank you very much.

    Some players have changed. Scuderi, I’m sad to say, is gone.

    Some players are not the same. Is Quick the same goalie? Is Mitchell the same defenseman? No

    Still, a l tune up is called for. Just to address somethings. Still, if the defense is going to suck then Quick will have to stand on his head again. That’s not going to happen.

    Dean may go to the Oilers again. I think he will also go to the Flyers. Hemsky and Ference? Coburn? Don’t know.

    We shall see.

    • Yes, 8th seed. It’s not by coincidence that we were the first 8th seed to win the Cup. Let someone else be the 2nd team to do it in another 80 years.

      Besides, we are talking about the possibility of struggling to get 8th and landing lower than that if the bleeding isn’t stopped asap.

      And like you said, even if you are fine finishing as a low seed, Mitchell isn’t the same player and neither are Greene or Voynov.

      Or Nolan. Or Stoll.

      • I’m just trying to say that it’s okay not to be a top seed, so no need to harp on where we land, just that we get in.

        Also, that’s why I said we need the tune up. Trading deadline deals. I don’t think it has to be at the superstar level like when Jeff Carter came. But I would like to see Coburn come in and another quality guy who can skate.

        • Coburn is an interested option. I’ve always liked him even if he never quite hit his potential. I’m all for just getting into the playoffs, but some cushion would be nice and one of these years we need to get home ice advantage.

    • Kings were the 8 seed, yes. But they also made some big moves that year and by the time the playoffs started the team they were was much improved: Carter, Voynov, Sutter, King, Nolan, getting rid of Johnson; all moves that made the team better than an 8 seed. This year: we traded the professor THAT’S IT! If the Kings want to win the cup this year either some Manchester boys are going to have to seriously step it up or a trade must be made, as well as the current collection of NHL talent in LA turning it up.

  3. It’s time for a major shakeup! Trade Brown and get it over with already, if you need to move Clifford and Lewis too that wouldn’t bother me either. These guys aren’t producing regularly which wouldn’t matter so much but, neither are Kopitar, Carter, Richards and Williams! Bite the bullet and fucking get it over with. The team will need time to gel again after the trade and the Olympic break is over.

    • The Olympic break is kind of an interesting quagmire. I’m not sure making a major trade right before that break is a good idea. In fact, I think it would be detrimental. Unfortunately whatever happens I think needs to wait until after the Olympics, unless it’s a smaller trade or on that doesn’t shake things up too much.

    • You seem to think its easy to trade a 8 year contract with a CAP hit of 5.875 per year starting next year. That is Dustin Brown’ contract. I am pretty sure there aren’t many teams knocking on the Kings door asking about Dustin Brown, so trading him isn’t as simple as you seem to think it might be.

      Then again you seem to think Evander Kane is being shopped by Winnipeg or trading Brown so the Kings can take on a rental like a Moulson or Vanek is a smart thing. You do understand this correct?

      Trevor Lewis is another player who probably isn’t being hotly pursued because Trevor Lewis is really just a defensive forward. He has scored a whopping 12 goals and 25 assists in 203 career games. You think the Kings would get anything higher than a 3rd or 4th round draft pick in exchange for a Lewis?

      You seem to think the Kings have all these prospects and draft picks to dangle to acquire what could end up being a rental. I am sure the Kings have probably been talking to certain teams about a trade, but if the asking price is too steep, then it does nothing for the Kings if they aren’t in the playoffs to begin with.

      • Clifford is someone who is eminently tradeable. I love him, but I could see him going along with a pick or prospect for a defenseman.

      • Bub, I bet you that at least 10 teams would be calling about Brown if he was made available. Dustin is still on pace for about 20 goals, which is the new 30. Plus, Dustin brings a hitting game and a Stanley Cup. He would get more that what the Kings gave up for Penner. I think it’s pretty stupid of you all to be calling for his head considering that he’s been a loyal King and a hard working team guy. You were probably all the same people cursing him that Stanley Cup year when it appeared that Dean was making him available.

        Dustin Brown is going nowhere, so just accept it. He will probably take Dave Taylor’s record and have his number retired.

        • You can’t rule out that Dean making him available wasn’t a good part of the reason Brown turned his game around. The timing is pretty exact.

          I’m not calling for Brown’s head, I am just massively nonplussed by his play this year.

          A hitting game? Haven’t seen it this year. I also am not confident he will get 20 goals. I am not openly advocating a trade, however if he were traded, were the return there (which it would be), I likely wouldn’t raise too much of a fuss right now. I don’t think he will be traded, but if the team keeps sinking in the standings, anything is possible.

          His value isn’t at the highest it’s been, and not every team could take his contract, but he would be coveted by many teams.

  4. What I haven’t really seen is any sort of professionalism from this organization. Where is the pride in these players?

    Maybe I don’t really pay much attention to the various people who cover the Kings because some of them I think are suck ups who are really just having fun rubbing elbows with the players and don’t want to risk upsetting anyone. God forbid they get their press box or media access to the buffet taken away by calling this team out from AEG to the equipment manager.

    I am tired of hearing the canned responses to questions about the lack of scoring or inability to score on the power play. I want to hear that the players held closed door meetings, or that the coach and or GM have read them the riot act.

    I want to hear that practice is no longer open to anyone except the players and management.

    I want to see this team show they care and play with urgency because I haven’t seen any of this yet. I want to see each player being too aggressive, getting pissed showing me they are really trying to turn themselves around. I want to see goalie interference being called on this team because I haven’t seen much of this at all.

    Show me something, because I am tired of hearing about it.

    We can all point fingers, but in the end everyone on this team and or part of this organization is ultimately responsible for the success or failure of this franchise.

    We all come here to share in the success, or discuss the failure(s) of this team because we care. The least the Los Angeles Kings can do is show they care.

    • I agree, anyone else see Sutter’s pre-game “talk”? The NHL network or NBC was showing it before the on field “parade” started (vin and bob were the only part I truly enjoyed)

      I know Sutter is one deadpan, stoic, mother-sutting dude…..but c’mon…. I mean C’MON!

      I’ve watched quite a bit of rather shitty/disappointing kings hockey in my time on this earth, but in the recent past (2 years or so) we’ve crept back to relevance and legitimacy.

      Don’t the current players/organization/ownership/fan base want this to continue?

      I represent/offer no solutions, or finger pointing, just the general lament and malaise of a fan I guess

      Wow, that post had a lot of backslashes and ellipses, my apologies.

    • Harrumph!

  5. Send Muzzin, Clifford or Nolan, and a prospect for a solid stay at home D and a good bottom 6 left wing. Add Lewis to sweeten the pot if necessary.

    • Ooops posted to fast. I’m sick of Doughty being hemmed in by babysitting Muzzin. It’s a waste having Doughty set up Muzzin for botched plays when other people should be setting up Doughty.

      • This bothers me as much as anything on the team right now. Doughty spends half his over-abundance of ice time hanging back in the neutral zone to cover for Muzzin. I don’t want Muzzin pinching. I want Doughty pinching.

        • There have been a few articles on Muzzin/Doughty now. Right now the only one I can find is on ESPN and it’s behind the paywall, but the premise is the same and it is simple. The advanced stats on the Muzzin/Doughty pairing justify it’s existence despite Muzzin’s gaffs. I agree Muzzin is still learning his reads, he needs to learn sometimes to hold his pinch and let Drew go instead, and he still gets burned sometimes. But, when you start looking at what happens to the Kings when they are on the ice, in advanced stats, and at their personal advanced stats, you can understand why the Kings coaches are choosing to put up with Muzzin’s mistakes, and let him “learn on the job”.

          As it turns out, when looking at advanced possession and attack statistics, Muzzin and Doughty are BOTH in the top ten of all defensemen. In fact, try not to lose your shit because it shocked me for sure…Jake Muzzin is the best possession defenseman in the entire NHL, when measured by both Corsi and Fenwick. Sure, he has little in the way of points, but so does the rest of our defense…it’s hard not to blame that on the fact that the guys who are SUPPOSED to generate offense (the forwards) are completely failing to do it on a very consistent basis.

          The stats are pretty staggering, especially as a pairing. When both Muzzin and Doughty are on the ice, the Kings have the puck almost 2/3 of the time, and generate almost a 3:1 shot ratio. Muzzin still goofs on defensive plays, and even Sutter has noted that he often rotates Drew between Muzzin and a shutdown D depending on situation. But it should matter little because of both the fact that Sutter rarely uses Muzzin in critical D situations, and the fact that Muzzin/Doughty spend so little of their time defending. Think about this. Muzzin and Doughty…Better possesion, more attack time, more shots directed toward the net, than the top pairings of Anaheim, San Jose, Chicago, and Boston. If this offense was showing any kind of competence at all, driving the net, creating havoc, opening seams, tipping pucks, collecting rebounds…the advanced statistics suggest that Doughty/Muzzin would be the hands down choice for best pairing in the NHL, if not for the Kings complete ineptitude in generating points from the opportunities those two generate.

          • I suppose it’s my bias against advanced metrics and their ultimate valuation towards the game on the ice, but what you say about it only makes me dislike and distrust them more.

            Muzzin and Doughty may be directing more shots towards the net, they may possess the puck an awful lot, but the effectiveness lives and dies there for me. Clearly what they are doing with that possession isn’t translating to the only important metric, goals, and while certainly the forwards bear a large responsibility for that, if we are going to use Sutter’s words, he has also pointed to the lack of scoring from the defense and proper kinds of offensive plays generated by them as a large reason for the Kings’ scoring troubles.

            You say they have the puck 2/3 of the time and have a 3:1 shot ratio and think that sounds just splendid. All I hear is confirming what I see. Muzzin dicks around with the puck at the blue line, doesn’t open up lanes toward the middle and helps to generate mostly meaningless shots from the outside. He makes a gaffe and Doughty has to hang back to cover for him, and being the phenom that he is, retrieves the puck in his own end of neutral ice and helps to gain another offensive zone possession. Muzzin pinches or is a bit reckless, forcing Doughty to hang back, more meaningless shots from near the boards and bad angles are taken, the Kings’ don’t score, and voila, fantastic advanced metrics with no goals or wins to show for it.

            Yes, this kind of play does help in the playoffs, and sure Muzzin/Doughty aren’t an abomination of a pairing. I simply think Doughty’s talents are being wasted. I’ve tried to get on board with the advanced metrics, but they are just not my thing. For me they are a piece, and a small piece at that, of the overall puzzle, not the hallmark of discerning effectiveness.

          • Well said. The bottom line is that their system isn’t working when they get into the offensive zone. Changes DO need to be made. That, Surly, is a problem that must be laid at the feet of the Coach. If the team continues to play this same, awkward offensive style that they have been using, the team will continue to have problems. Defensively, aside from the fact that Muzzin is still green and the Coach continues to rely on him a lot, they’re relatively solid. As long as they work hard, and remain focused, they usually play well. And as good as Quick is, he can’t get a shutout every game.

            Even if DL makes a couple of offensive changes, the system that they are using will continue to fail. In a 3 to 2 league, the Kings will continue to get 0 to 2 goals.

          • I don’t totally disagree with you Surly, but I think it is simply worth pointing out that there are lots of statistics (advanced or not) that suggest Muzzin is not a bad player, in fact that he is a pretty good one. That said, your comments about him having elevated possession time because he’s dicking around with the puck and then ends up making an ineffective play…Well it’s true. Not for Jake Muzzin, but for the entire fucking defense. I could make the same indictment to a lesser degree with Doughty, and I could say that (although past records are beter) this year Voynov has been worse in this regard than even Muzzin.

            I think the point I’m trying to make is that people who don’t like Muzzin, or don’t like the Muzzin/Doughty pair, are not so much targeting Muzzin because he deserves it, but targeting Muzzin because he is the newcomer (who has not earned prior goodwill by winning us a cup) in a defensive group that is underperforming across the board. We should be careful not to fixate on Muzzin or on the Muzzin/Doughty pairing when the statistics suggest that the ENTIRE defense is doing the exact same things, both good and bad. It just feels like we are back to the final days of the TM era – no defensive scoring, no bottom six scoring. Add that to a missing top 6 left handed shot, and you have basically the same team we had when TM was fired. The complete lack of secondary scoring which leads us to live and die by Kopitar’s cold streaks. Kopitar’s streakiness is actually much improved this year, in fact, he’s borderlining on normal consistency for a top line center in the NHL. We are, however, fixating on his cold streak excessively because he and Carter seem to be the only ones who still remember how to SCORE A FUCKING GOAL.

            New plan: We just tell Justin Williams that every game is Game 7 against the San Jose Sharks. Then the Kings will go 82-0 winning every game 1-0 on a Justin Williams overtime goal.

          • If you’ve been reading all of the posts, you will know that, defensively and offensively, regarding the defensemen, Muzzin has been a huge issue. His lack of skills has affected everything. Yes, the entire defense has made a few mistakes. But overall, without their solid play the team would be in the basement right now. Yes, Muzzin’s play has also affected the forwards.

            I will give him occasional credit. Last night, Muzzin decided not to fling his usual hopeless slap shot, which usually either misses or is blocked, at the net. He shot/passed the puck at King’s stick. That was good thinking. King almost scored on his deflection attempt. We need to see more of that.

          • You raise a lot of good points re: the while defense dicking around.

            Voynov has been a big disappointment this season offensively and his defensive game hasn’t been as good as it was in the past.

            Mitchell has lost a step.

            Greene has had some good games here and there but is an injury riddled mess. I’m legitimately concerned for the future of his health the way he plays.

            Martinez has been quietly solid, but not so much as to be a big difference maker most nights.

            Doughty is logging too many minutes and has been neutered a offensively.

            Muzzin has actually made huge strides this year in his overall game. He is finding his shots through the sea of ankles he is magnetically drawn towards. He has upped his physically game and nastiness. Defensively he doesn’t make quite as many blunders as he did last season.

            However, the penalties are a huge problem. And the penalties, in my mind, arise from a more general problem that for me negates the strides he has made in other facets of his game: he has confidence issues. He still hesitates on plays with and without the puck. He makes some poor pinching decisions, and even when his pinches are fine, they are causing Doughty to hang back. He is diverting offensive pressure to his side of the ice and between Doughty and muzzin, I want the pressure on Doughty’s side of the ice. But that doesn’t work either because muzzin isn’t strong enough defensively to cover for Drew the way Drew covers for Jake. I’m just over it. The pairing is am abject failure, but I don’t think it puts the team’s best foot forward.

  6. Well … so far … Kopitar was wide open in the low slot and hit Stalock in the Crest.

    Richards was wide open twice! Once, he bobbled the pass and couldn’t get a shot off, and then he was wide open in the slot and hit the post!

    Come on Kings!!

  7. Now, that’s a Kopitar goal!!!!!! Yeh!

  8. Give the assist to Burns because if he doesn’t touch that puck, Kopitar doesn’t get it, and the Kings get denied again.

    Hell of an assist he tipped that puck right to Kopitar and just in the nick of time to have Stalock about to go for a poke and getting caught so Kopitar could make that move.

    Is the reason this broadcast is being done by Sharks guys solely because Fox or Prime Ticket has no contract with NBC?

    • Yes, that was fortunate that the puck bounced to Kopitar, but he collected that puck gracefully and avoided Stalock’s poke check!

      I don’t know who’s giving the play by play.

      • Its Hahn and Reminda they are the Sharks play by play and color TV guys. The Kings don’t have their own guys because they have no contract with NBC which is why after the 2nd round of the playoffs Bob and Jim are gone.

        I don’t mind Strader or Micheletti or the other guy who NBC does the Western Conference Finals, but as soon as it gets to Doc and Pierre and Eddie I turn the sound off. I wish we could get the CBC/TSN/RSN guys Gord Miller, Craig Simpson even Gary Galley.

  9. LOX and Bagels served at the tank tonight!

  10. I would certainly love to see more scoring, but Quick made some key saves tonight to get a shutout!

    I know that this particular game was a defensive struggle, so we couldn’t expect a lot of goal scoring, but the Kings did get a win!! They also had three goal posts! One of them was a beautiful tip by King that almost went in.

    I must say that I liked their defensive play. It was a solid game!

    One narrow win doesn’t change the fact that they still have some problems, but they did look much better tonight!

    Go Kings!!

  11. Johnny fucking quick everybody!

  12. Also surly. Why is doughty on the right on the power play? It seems that he would be the one timer stud on the left.

    • Kings don’t seem to care about one timers. We. Play the board game, so having right hands on the right side and lefties left let’s us better keep pucks in along boards at the blueline. A little bit of one-timers go a long way, but go figure.

  13. Who are the Kings going to trade, let walk away and re-sign?
    Lewis, Fraser, Mitchell, Greene and Schultz are all UFA’s.
    King and Frattin are RFA’s.

    Fuck Frattin and Schultz!
    What about Lewis or Fraser in a trade and do you re-sign Greene or Mitchell but, not both right?
    King should’ve already been re-signed for 3 years and at 1 to 1.250 million per season!
    Why you waiting Deano?
    Even though Greene is younger, his health (or lack there of) scares me more than Mitchell.
    I think you re-sign Willie for 2 years and Greenie for 1 year.
    While you’re at, it extend Regehr for two more years and then plan on re-signing or trading Muzzin and/or Martinez next year.
    The defense could be locked up for the next 4 or 5 years if the Kings do these steps.
    The team needs to solidify the top 6 and then they can worry about the bottom 6.
    Teams like Detroit, Chicago, San Jose and even Anaheim fill the bottom 6 with FA and farm system guys every new season and it’s seems to be working for them.
    Why aren’t we getting the same bang for our buck on offense (except for King)?
    Just thinking out loud.

    Go Kings!

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