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01-30-2014, 10:20 AM
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Whiskeypete's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: stuck in the middle
Country: United States
Posts: 2,502
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After this latest crash I have moved on from 'bad luck', 'puck luck', corsi ratings and every other description/excuse being used to justify these stretches of play. There is now too much evidence over consecutive seasons that shows this team is deficient. The track record proves this out without any form of debate. This team is in need of some change to move them away from these "bad stretches".

Are the Kings a crappy team? No. Are the Kings declining in talent/ability to win? No. The list and types of questions can go on forever as we know.

This team, the players, the coaching, the system(s)....all of this combined is leading the team into what we see year after year. A large stretch of games they absolutely fall apart and seem to struggle to even bring effort on the ice.

We continue to hear about how 'mentally strong' they are, but often times the need to be strong in these situations is entirely self inflicted due to the team's poor performance on the ice. Instead of being a team that is proactive and tends to lead, they are a team that is and plays from a reactive standpoint.

How many times will they have to play perfect hockey at a 60-70% winning clip just to make the playoffs? Instead of maintaining a higher level of play through the entire season - a more even level of play. They crash at some point and must rely on an entirely extreme level of performance to make up for the shortfall. By continuing to repeat this cycle, they will only bring added stress upon themselves.

I equate this to my profession which I have been doing for over 20-years, sales. There is a natural ebb and flow in sales, but the goal is to maintain a consistent and constant rate. This makes achieving your goal much easier, compared to having big peaks and valleys in sales performance. I maintain a constant higher than average level of performance rather than taking my foot off the gas. The people that don't have to go 'balls to the wall' the last part of the year to make their numbers. Most of the time they miss and in the process burn themselves out.

Moving forward (over the summer) Dean I believe needs to take a serious look at this team and all the pieces involved. He has created a fantastic environment and culture based on winning and accountability. It is my belief the way we went about and built the team is the way to do it, from the draft and primarily internally. The structure, system and personnel he drafted and hired have been the correct ones to get them to where they are today.

Dean must advance and adapt his plan moving forward. I see this as a two-step process. One can rebuild a team using the type of play and players that Dean has brought in. Dean has made the first step and made it successfully by winning the SC and a 2nd WCF. This will work in the short term, but it will have a short life span.

We have been discussing it for weeks now, hell for years now because we see guys struggling. It isn't just physically, but mentally also. Look at them now and they have an empty look in their eyes.

Part of playing hockey is having fun out there. That is what makes you want to get back to the rink and stay after practice. LA's game honestly isn't that enjoyable to play 24/7. I've played on teams that had to rely on this type of game to stay competitive. It wears you down and the games aren't fun.

Dean HAS to now slowly (with Darryl and Morris in MAN) work to introduce new levels of play and players that will transform the games in MAN and LA. I'm not saying they strip the team of what has made them successful presently. They need to find a happy medium between present day and a team that can play with speed and skill.

Being able to play a game that implements a style of play with speed, skill and strong checking is fun because all the elements are there. When you rely entirely on a grinding style of play the players in time will lose interest. People enjoy shinny and rat hockey because it is just that - up/down the ice and having fun. EDM plays this and look where it gets them, so that isn't the answer. There MUST be balance otherwise your team sucks and the results aren't there. Right now LA is on the other end of the spectrum from the likes of EDM and we see what that produces.

Dean's next moves are crucial for the long term of the franchise. He must begin to adapt the culture, the personnel and game once again. He must once again raise the bar of accountability to an even higher standard. This team repeatedly falling into 10-20 game stretches of "funk" has to stop. Hearing the players drone on about "we know we have to play better" is just the usual post game player cliche interview. Don't talk about it, do it!

Going back to the sales world analogy. If I repeatedly fell into a stretch of wasting what is upwards of 25% of my time to achieve my annual goal, I would have been fired repeatedly. One can't keep pissing away 25% of your time to perform and hope to be successful. If I did waste this time and go into scramble mode I would burn myself out.

Dean has to begin a transformation by bringing in players with a different 'set of tools' that will help the team transform their game. If they simply add the needed LW say Vanek or Moulson, I guarantee this team will be right back here next season. Dean and Darryl must change how they play for parts of the regular season, so the guys don't burn out and just not show up.

This is past a few players 'suck', we lack a #1 LW, etc. There is a deeper set of circumstances within the culture and organization that have to grow and adapt.

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