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7 QUESTIONS about this LA Kings team

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Old
03-08-2011, 02:27 AM
  #1
Zad
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7 QUESTIONS about this LA Kings team

1. Name the last Stanley Cup winning team with a poor and inconsistent power play and 5 on 3.

2. Name a post lockout Stanley Cup winning team that relied on a cycle along the boards – to the point as its offensive system.

3. Are Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Dustin Brown, Jarret Stoll, Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson excellent skaters? If yes, is speed really lacking in our top 6 forwards or top 4 defense or does our system stifle speed?

4. Are Anze Kopitar, Dustin Penner, Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll, Dustin Brown and Ryan Smyth a top 6 line on 25 out of 30 NHL teams out there? If yes, are the problems really with the forwards’ skill level or does the system suppress offensive skill?

5. Are Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson, Willie Mitchell and Rob Scuderi a top 4 defensive group on 25 out of 30 NHL teams? If yes, are the problems really with the defensive core?

6. Is Jonathan Quick a legitimate number 1 goalie on 25 out of 30 NHL teams? If so, is the problem goaltending?

Last question…

7. When the LA Kings’ players do what the coaches ask and the offense and powerplay still consistently fail, is it execution by the players or the system to which they must adhere the problem?

Just questions. You decide.

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03-08-2011, 03:16 AM
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I won't answer the first 2, as I can't do so with any confidence.

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Originally Posted by Zad View Post
3. Are Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Dustin Brown, Jarret Stoll, Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson excellent skaters? If yes, is speed really lacking in our top 6 forwards or top 4 defense or does our system stifle speed?
Excellent, maybe not, but they're all very capable. The answer is with the system. Its usually Kopitar, Stoll, JJ, or Doughty who have the responsibility to skate the puck up the ice in Terry's system as he prefers the centers to drop back. However, this leaves the wingers Brown, Williams etc. just standing at the blue line with the opponents D waiting for the puck carrier to make a play. This, more often than not, results in the Kings clogging up the nuetral zone themselves and negates any advantage the fast skaters have. When Kopitar crosses the red line he looks up and sees 6-7 players standing in front of him and is forced to dump it in. This, I believe, is why collectively our top puck carriers have so many turnovers because our system creates no space to advance the puck.

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4. Are Anze Kopitar, Dustin Penner, Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll, Dustin Brown and Ryan Smyth a top 6 line on 25 out of 30 NHL teams out there? If yes, are the problems really with the forwards’ skill level or does the system suppress offensive skill?

5. Are Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson, Willie Mitchell and Rob Scuderi a top 4 defensive group on 25 out of 30 NHL teams? If yes, are the problems really with the defensive core?
I believe so in the sense that I'd take Stoll or Smyth over every forward not named Sedin, Sedin, Kesler, Burrows, Samuelsson on Vancouver, or Scuderi/Mitchell over Bieksa/Ballard....but collectively Vancouver's top 10 skaters are far more productive/effective than the 10 players you listed. The potential is there, but the Kings lack the ability to control or shutdown the game. Kopitar's racking up the assists this season (5th in the league) but I was asking myself tonight if it was because he's making plays or simply because he's constantly force fed the puck and has it on his stick more than the 37 other players on the ice every night. So once again I'll blame the system in that the other team knows Kopitars going to carry the puck through the neutral zone or hold on to it at the half boards which stifles the creativity or playmaking ability.

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6. Is Jonathan Quick a legitimate number 1 goalie on 25 out of 30 NHL teams? If so, is the problem goaltending?
Depends on how you look at it. If we traded him to Vancouver, NYR, Phoenix, Boston, Cal, Pitt, Buf, etc. would he immediately over throw the incumbent and claim the #1 spot? No. Is he capable of matching the contribution of current #1 goalies of those teams and giving them the same chance to win that Lundqvist, Thomas, Bryzgalov etc. do every night? Absolutely.

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7. When the LA Kings’ players do what the coaches ask and the offense and powerplay still consistently fail, is it execution by the players or the system to which they must adhere the problem?
Both. They all earn a paycheck and are all responsible for the success of the team. Mitchell's not going home tonight thinking "well, I did more than what I was expected to do by scoring so I'm doing my job...". He's thinking about what he could have done better to help the team win. I would hope that its the same with the coaches who constantly try to find ways to improve the system rather than solely blaming the players for their inability to produce. I've blamed the system in the first couple answers, but there's nothing stopping Kopitar/Brown from approaching Kompon/Murray and saying, flat out, "this isn't working, this is what I can do better, and this is how I can do it better."

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03-08-2011, 05:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zad View Post
1. Name the last Stanley Cup winning team with a poor and inconsistent power play and 5 on 3.


Quote:
2. Name a post lockout Stanley Cup winning team that relied on a cycle along the boards – to the point as its offensive system.


Quote:
3. Are Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Dustin Brown, Jarret Stoll, Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson excellent skaters? If yes, is speed really lacking in our top 6 forwards or top 4 defense or does our system stifle speed?
Yes. I believe that those players are forced to play a stifling system because the rest of their teammates (save for a few) are grandma-slow. Handzus, Smyth, Westgarth.

Quote:
4. Are Anze Kopitar, Dustin Penner, Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll, Dustin Brown and Ryan Smyth a top 6 line on 25 out of 30 NHL teams out there? If yes, are the problems really with the forwards’ skill level or does the system suppress offensive skill?
No, they are not. Stoll, Smyth, and Brown should be third liners on a good team.

Quote:
5. Are Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson, Willie Mitchell and Rob Scuderi a top 4 defensive group on 25 out of 30 NHL teams? If yes, are the problems really with the defensive core?
Yes. They are a top 4 defensive group on pretty much every team, comparable to Pittsburgh and Philly's top-4. The problems do not fall on the defense. Look at the Kings' goals against for proof.

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6. Is Jonathan Quick a legitimate number 1 goalie on 25 out of 30 NHL teams? If so, is the problem goaltending?
Yes. Quick is a legit #1. Goaltending is not the problem.

Quote:
7. When the LA Kings’ players do what the coaches ask and the offense and powerplay still consistently fail, is it execution by the players or the system to which they must adhere the problem?
DO THEY do what the coaches ask? If so, then the fault is on the coaches for having the stupidest, most uncreative, stifling, predictable system in the NHL.

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03-08-2011, 09:20 AM
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Coaching. Look no further than the coaching. Take out the free shootout points ( you can thank quick), and this team is a .500 team at best. The offense relies on lucky bounces period.

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03-08-2011, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zad View Post
1. Name the last Stanley Cup winning team with a poor and inconsistent power play and 5 on 3.

2. Name a post lockout Stanley Cup winning team that relied on a cycle along the boards – to the point as its offensive system.

3. Are Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Dustin Brown, Jarret Stoll, Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson excellent skaters? If yes, is speed really lacking in our top 6 forwards or top 4 defense or does our system stifle speed?

4. Are Anze Kopitar, Dustin Penner, Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll, Dustin Brown and Ryan Smyth a top 6 line on 25 out of 30 NHL teams out there? If yes, are the problems really with the forwards’ skill level or does the system suppress offensive skill?

5. Are Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson, Willie Mitchell and Rob Scuderi a top 4 defensive group on 25 out of 30 NHL teams? If yes, are the problems really with the defensive core?

6. Is Jonathan Quick a legitimate number 1 goalie on 25 out of 30 NHL teams? If so, is the problem goaltending?

Last question…

7. When the LA Kings’ players do what the coaches ask and the offense and powerplay still consistently fail, is it execution by the players or the system to which they must adhere the problem?

Just questions. You decide.
1. I think it's better to at least wait until the regular season's over to make this assertion about the PP. What's poor and inconsistent now could be productive in a couple weeks or so. When the playoffs roll around, nobody's going to care about whether or not the team scored on a two man advantage on March 7 against Dallas. People were bashing the PP last season right up until the beginning of the playoffs, and ended up eating some crow.

2. They don't rely upon a cycle along the boards to score goals. If the cycle leads to a scoring chance, great; but that's not necessarily the objective. At times, the Kings run a positional-style offense, at other times a funnel-style to jump on rebounds, other times I've seen them run a pyramid-style with two guys deep past the goal line and one in front of the net. The main point of Murray's offense is to take advantage of pucks being put on net without sacrificing positional play defensively.

3. As a group, they're not necessarily fast skaters, but they're strong and agile. Of course, Murray is a defense-first coach, which is going to limit those elements of the team to a certain degree.

4. Sure, they would be top 6 just about anywhere. And yes, Murray's defense-first system does suppress skill and creativity. That doesn't mean it's a bad system, it just means that this is one of the unhappy side-effects of it.

5. Yes, they absolutely are. And no, I don't believe so.

6. Quick has been above average overall this season, so yes. I don't believe the problem is goaltending, even though I feel that the goalies could have been handled better than they have been.

7. I don't believe the PP is lacking in execution as much as it's lacking in luck, and I believe another factor is that the Kings' PP is being scouted a lot better this season. This is just from my own observation, but I felt like the Kings were the recipients of more breaks and good bounces on the PP last season. Those rebounds that ended up right on the stick of guys like Smyth or Handzus last season are just missing them now. Because the Kings had a top-10 PP last season, opposing coaches are certainly pointing this out in practices and before games against the Kings. Couple that with the fact that the Kings aren't going to take teams by surprise, in general, as they did last season. Where the Kings didn't appear to be a threat last season, they certainly are now. Just as it is tougher to repeat as a champion than it is to win it for the first time, it is tougher to stay a playoff team and stand the test of time than it is to make them for the first time in seven or eight years.

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03-08-2011, 10:40 AM
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Funny - the "do something/anything" crowd got the trade they had been whining for all year and now they are just realizing that maybe this team wasn't good enough to begin with.

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03-08-2011, 10:47 AM
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On a blackberry but I could've sworn last year the Kings were one of the better teams on the PP and struggled the PK and even strength scoring. Now that has reversed. That could be for a number of reasons but the system has worked better with the current personnel. My guess is the reason it isn't working is the combination of Murray's lack of adjustments when other teams arw adjusting to the Kings and the players not executing to the same level they did before. I highly doubt Kompon and Murray are asking Smyth to pass the puck to Kopi on the halfwall then up to Doughty and back to Kopi all while standing still. For a "shot mentality" team, these guys pass up a number of shot opportunities looking for a better play.

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03-08-2011, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomd View Post
Funny - the "do something/anything" crowd got the trade they had been whining for all year and now they are just realizing that maybe this team wasn't good enough to begin with.
I would not say this team is not good enough. Without the puck, the Kings are probably one of the better teams in the league. With the puck however.......

The power play is brutal, to a point where they need to put Westgarth on the first powerplay unit just to take a quick slashing penalty to make it 4 on 4.

This is a Great team without the puck, with the puck, they are average, at best.

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03-08-2011, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by meman View Post
I would not say this team is not good enough. Without the puck, the Kings are probably one of the better teams in the league. With the puck however.......

The power play is brutal, to a point where they need to put Westgarth on the first powerplay unit just to take a quick slashing penalty to make it 4 on 4.

This is a Great team without the puck, with the puck, they are average, at best.
Last I checked, you needed the puck in most situations to score.

If you are not good enough with the puck, you aren't good enough period. Something the "do something/anything" crowd might want to consider...

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03-08-2011, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zad View Post
7. When the LA Kings’ players do what the coaches ask and the offense and powerplay still consistently fail, is it execution by the players or the system to which they must adhere the problem?
For the millionth time...

THE KINGS OFFENSE IS AVERAGE/SLIGHTLY ABOVE AVERAGE.

The "system" that you so often criticize has scored the 11th most goals in the league; ahead of teams like San Jose, Tampa Bay, Dallas

The Kings' poor PP is what skews the overall offensive stats.

Could our offense be better? Sure, but it's not terrible like you're implying. It's just average, with a weak PP.

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03-08-2011, 11:05 AM
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Faith in Eighth?

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03-08-2011, 11:14 AM
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Sydor25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnjm22 View Post
For the millionth time...

THE KINGS OFFENSE IS AVERAGE/SLIGHTLY ABOVE AVERAGE.

The "system" that you so often criticize has scored the 11th most goals in the league; ahead of teams like San Jose, Tampa Bay, Dallas

The Kings' poor PP is what skews the overall offensive stats.

Could our offense be better? Sure, but it's not terrible like you're implying. It's just average, with a weak PP.
So, you believe that Murray is getting the most out of the Kings players? This is as good as they get? I don't care that other teams are being mismanaged.

I'm of the opinion that the Kings could be a top 5 offense with the players on the roster. They have 2 of the best offensive defensemen in the league, a huge top line center. A solid mix of wingers, some with speed and others with size. Why does Detroit lead the league in goals and only have 3 players with 20+ goals? Maybe because they use a system that creates offense instead of relying on moments of brilliance and lucky bounces.

I just want to see this team play away from the perimeter in the offensive zone and use their defense to keep the pressure on in the offensive zone. The Kings retreat way too much when on offense. It's hard to pressure the other team when you are leaning/skating away from the net.


This is what Zad is asking. Not that some other teams have a bad offense too, so the Kings are okay. He's asking if Murray is getting the most our of the team and I would say that he is not getting the most out of the team.

Just ask NJ fans if they wish Lou had fired their coach just 1 month earlier than they did.

It is too late for this season to make a big change to the offense, there isn't enough practice time left in the season. The Kings will just have to try and grind out 10 more wins to make the playoffs and then roll the dice in the playoffs and hope Quick gets hot.

I just want to see a much more progressive approach next training camp. I want to see the top 3 lines put together and left alone for at least 15 games. Only moving players if there are injuries. He can move the 4th line players in and out of the lineup as he wants, but let some creativity and chemistry develop by keeing the top 3 lines the same. Use training camp and pre-season to set the lines and leave them alone.


Last edited by Sydor25: 03-08-2011 at 11:28 AM.
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Old
03-08-2011, 11:30 AM
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Question 3-8 No reason to discuss we all now the answer, Let me spell it out for you......





IT IS THE SYSTEM

Now if I could this should be voiced with a rumbling earthquake background effect and voiced in such way that your hair doe would become a slick toward your neck with a sound overpowering a Tom Cat liftoff. Knocking over your cup of coffee or whatever next to you and disorganize your family photos on the wall, give your dog or cat such a scare so you won't see him or her for at least a week and sorry your bird died, if you are pregnant your milk went sour and YOU probably need a change.

thats how I feel about this system of TM, to darn restricted.

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03-08-2011, 11:31 AM
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Winger23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnjm22 View Post
For the millionth time...

THE KINGS OFFENSE IS AVERAGE/SLIGHTLY ABOVE AVERAGE.

The "system" that you so often criticize has scored the 11th most goals in the league; ahead of teams like San Jose, Tampa Bay, Dallas

The Kings' poor PP is what skews the overall offensive stats.

Could our offense be better? Sure, but it's not terrible like you're implying. It's just average, with a weak PP.
Where are you getting your stats? ESPN team stats shows LA at 21st for average goals per game, not 11th, putting them well below "average".

Edit: Just confirmed on NHL.com they are 21st as well. They are behind all the teams you just listed.

http://espn.go.com/nhl/statistics/te...rt/avgGoalsFor
http://www.nhl.com/ice/teamstats.htm...ewName=summary


Last edited by Winger23: 03-08-2011 at 11:36 AM.
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03-08-2011, 11:36 AM
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I'm of the opinion that the Kings could be a top 5 offense with the players on the roster.
The Kings had the 7th most goals for in the league last year. The same coaching staff. The same system. Basically the same players.

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03-08-2011, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winger23 View Post
Where are you getting your stats? ESPN team stats shows LA at 21st for average goals per game, not 11th, putting them well below "average".

Edit: Just confirmed on NHL.com they are 21st as well. They are behind all the teams you just listed.

http://espn.go.com/nhl/statistics/te...rt/avgGoalsFor
http://www.nhl.com/ice/teamstats.htm...ewName=summary
And if you back out the first 2 months of the season and look at this from Dec to now, we would be even lower. I think our Goal differential since Christmas is like minus 1 or 2 now. Even though our overall is around 20..

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03-08-2011, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winger23 View Post
Where are you getting your stats? ESPN team stats shows LA at 21st for average goals per game, not 11th, putting them well below "average".

Edit: Just confirmed on NHL.com they are 21st as well. They are behind all the teams you just listed.

http://espn.go.com/nhl/statistics/te...rt/avgGoalsFor
http://www.nhl.com/ice/teamstats.htm...ewName=summary
The Kings are 11th in even strength scoring.

Link

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03-08-2011, 11:42 AM
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Sydor25
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The Kings had the 7th most goals for in the league last year. The same coaching staff. The same system. Basically the same players.
Not true at all. The Kings had a more successful PP last season. It's been scouted.

The Kings were 19th in ES offense last season. Remember when Murray said during training camp that they would improve on this number with a better offensive system? I haven't seen it. I just see constant line changes and the same perimeter play.

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03-08-2011, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by KingsFan7824 View Post
The Kings had the 7th most goals for in the league last year. The same coaching staff. The same system. Basically the same players.

I don't know why totals are different here again, but I'm showing the Kings tied for 9th, not 7th. http://espn.go.com/nhl/statistics/te...sFor/year/2010

In both years look at the teams ahead of them. It's not surprising chicago who won it last year was 3rd overall.

All of the elite teams have a good offense. Detroit vancouver, Phili hell even Boston are all in the top 5 in scoring this year. It's a new era of hockey, defensive only teams are a thing of the past. It's the system that is broken. The talent is there...

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03-08-2011, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Chruceg View Post
The Kings are 11th in even strength scoring.

Link

Well that confirms why the stats were different, but none the less power play goals and power play goals against count for offensive/defensive stats just the same, which still remains that the Kings offense is below average compared to the league average.

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03-08-2011, 12:06 PM
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Not true at all. The Kings had a more successful PP last season. It's been scouted.

The Kings were 19th in ES offense last season. Remember when Murray said during training camp that they would improve on this number with a better offensive system? I haven't seen it. I just see constant line changes and the same perimeter play.
You haven't seen it, but somehow ES scoring has gone from 19th in the league to 11th.

The problem with the power play, last season to this season, is obvious; not enough Frolov.

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03-08-2011, 12:11 PM
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1. The 1975 Fliers had one of the worst power plays of all time but won the cup. The Oilers were so good 4 on 4 that the league changed the rules. Two opposite examples but in the past 15 years I can't think of any team that has won the cup with a terrible PP.

2. It depends on your specific definition of where the cycle fits in with every teams system. All teams use the cycle as a part of its offencive system. Unlike ours they don't typically rely on it almost exclusively to the point of where it becomes the point of the play and not a part of it. Cycling is a critical part of creating offence but it can become way to big a part of your offence like in our case in my opinion.

3. Leaving two of our top six players off of the list sort of stalls the question imo. Smyth is very slow and as such he causes the other players on his line (when he plays in our top 6) to do different things to buy time that will allow him to enter the play. I think that Penner is a comparable skater to the rest.

But I will say that I agree, we have the horses all through our line up.

4. I am split on 4. I think that either reason can be used to support either argument and that both are equally plausible.

5. Yes, poor or inefficient coaching.

6. Like our D, our goaltending is solid. That is to say that our defencemen are solid and at times our team defence is solid as well but it is so typically at the expense of any offencive play.

7. Both and more in my opinion. The players are doing what they are told but like anything in life when you come up against a system that doesn't support any visible means of success it becomes more and more difficult to find reasons to continue giving your best performance in trying to accomplish the goal that would be the cause of said system.

Breaking it down for myself in hockey terms I would say that there are very few things more frustrating than to be giving your all to something that simply doesn't work. When I first played in Bantams I was on a terrible team. I mean truly terrible but I was excited just to get the chance to be on the team so I played really hard. I was one of 4 new players that were brought in to an established line up for the sole purpose of changing attitudes.

At first just through sheer enthusiasm we started turning things around for the team. I am was a defenceman and my 3 new team mates were forwards and between us we went out and played the way that we knew how and had instant success.

After each period and after each game we began being "corrected" for our loose style of play and how while we were having success that eventually it would catch up to us and we will ruin the teams chances to winning it all.

Within about a month we were dead eyed zombies like the rest of my team mates and while we all gave it everything we had we just kept losing and fighting. We became a team nobody wanted to play because we fought an awful lot and that isn't hockey no matter how fun it is. (fighting imo is a critical part of the game but if your system is based on fighting that isn't right to me).

At the end of the season the coach was fired and I was sent to a different team. My former team made it through the second round of the playoffs with their new coach. I credit this mostly to the sheer happiness that the players must have felt with the new found freedom to play the game in a more effective manner.

The Penguins fired their coach and went on to success. There are dozens of examples where removing a coach and his system can be the difference between the cup and never lifting it. There are more examples of the same thing failing but, I would rather address our teams problems as soon as they are identified rather than wait and let it make for a bad locker room.

That isn't to say that each situation shouldn't be examined at the length and depth that it would warrant, it just means that I am not for us adopting the attitude of waiting until the offseason every year to address our problems.

I think that where we are today that we still have a couple of areas of need and as such are still putting everything together for what it takes to win the cup and as such having the stability of a coach and his system up to this point has been exceptionally beneficial.

However, the time to act at changing our coaching staff in my opinion is as soon as we find our replacement. If Tippet were fired today I would drop everything and be as close to DL as physically possible petitioning him to hire him.

There are a couple of other coaches who I would be equally happy for us to hire today. That's based on what I see of how DL is building a cup. DL likely see's things completely differently and likely has all of this sorted out already.

Our current coaching staff has done allot of good but they aren't the right group imo to get us the cup. I want to be very very wrong but that is how I see it.

We need a speed/sniper.

We need a D coach who allows a little bit more of green light for our uber talented pmds and doesn't treat them as if they don't have the skill to cover. At this stage they will never learn how or when to utilize their unique talents unless they are given the support and opportunity to do so.

That is the major difference between our current mediocre at best D coach and our last one.

Oh well.

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03-08-2011, 12:15 PM
  #23
Sydor25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars H View Post
You haven't seen it, but somehow ES scoring has gone from 19th in the league to 11th.

The problem with the power play, last season to this season, is obvious; not enough Frolov.
It's only game 66. The Kings have time to continue to fall down the list. I wonder where the Kings were after 66 games last season? I remember they were struggling after the Olympic break last year to score goals. To get to 101 points, the Kings have to go 12-4 to close the season. Not likely, so they have regressed under Murray's system.

The Kings will finish in the bottom 15 again at their current rate.

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03-08-2011, 12:24 PM
  #24
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On question one, that's a rope-in question, obviously the answer would be no there. There have been some pretty average power-play teams that have won it all but no one who is this impotent 5 on 3 or in general in key situations. Even before the lockout, the best teams were opportunistic, even if they were defensively oriented. Look no further than the Devils, they cashed in over and over a man up even in years where their overall offensive totals were not that great (although they scored more than people seem to remember overall).

2. Name a post lockout Stanley Cup winning team that relied on a cycle along the boards – to the point as its offensive system.

Well the cycle is a big part of many offensive systems, kind of like the pick and roll in basketball it works best with a weak side attacker getting involved or a kick out option. The idea in both is to try and gain an advantage somewhere with a man free but pro teams will have help there, which means wherever the help came from, a man is free and he has to be the scorer. The Kings cycle to grind teams down but rarely get that extra man involved. They did it last night with Mitchell and he scored a pretty fluky goal but luck is the residue of opportunity and design.

3. Are Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Dustin Brown, Jarret Stoll, Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson excellent skaters? If yes, is speed really lacking in our top 6 forwards or top 4 defense or does our system stifle speed?

Jack Johnson is an excellent skater for sure, very gifted. Doughty is naturally gifted, too, he could tighten up a little but overall he's fine. Kopitar is not as gifted but he's powerful, he can motor and make it looks easy when he's fresh and not break down when he's a little fatigued. Stoll can move, too, at one point the breakouts were getting disrupted by him getting too far ahead of the play and Murray reigned him in, told him to come in low and slow so he doesn't have to get a quick touch and chip the puck, basically be a victim of his own speed. Williams and Brown are above average skaters, give Williams space and he'll hurt you (again we saw that last night on his goal) and Brown is not going to look out of place making a play on the rush.

Simmonds can skate hard but his confidence seems real up/down, in some areas he's real consistent but in others he is maybe the most inconsistent player. If he has a feel for the game, he's taking the body and going hard to the net, if it's not there then he stops moving his feet in the offensive zone and just plays average defense. Clifford is a powerful skater that could be better with some work. I don't think you get faster really (after about 17 you're as fast as you'll be) but technique and conditioning can go a long way to improve the quality of your skating in an actual game. Lewis has good speed.

Those guys have at least above average speed/skating, but some of these other guys are plodding. Smyth is a helluva player but he's never had wheels, let alone now pushing 35. Handzus has lost a stride he didn't have to lose. Westgarth is a below average skater to be kind. Penner is seldom if ever going to make a play with his feet on the rush and his shifts are front-loaded if you know what I mean.

You could go guy by guy and make it seem like the Kings had decent speed but the reality is that they lack team speed. You look at the other winning teams in the West, they can thrive in open games even if they prefer to play tight (e.g. Vancouver). That isn't damning, the Kings can slow the game down and win 2-1 or 3-2 pretty often, but no one can say this team has top-to-bottom speed with a straight face.

4. Are Anze Kopitar, Dustin Penner, Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll, Dustin Brown and Ryan Smyth a top 6 line on 25 out of 30 NHL teams out there? If yes, are the problems really with the forwards’ skill level or does the system suppress offensive skill?

Stoll is a 2/3 tweener, he's top 9 on almost any team. Smyth is top 6 on a whole lot of teams. Penner, well, let me get a better look at him but he's for sure top 9 on any team with PP minutes. Williams is a top six guy on most teams, he's been solid this year, returning to form. Kopi and Brown are in any top six.

But what does that matter? Just because your top six guys are top six guys and your top four D are top four D doesn't mean you're set. That's the bare minimum for a competitive team, having guys in role who belong in those roles but the best teams have guys who excel in those roles.

I'd say three of those six have excelled in their roles thus far. Jury's out on Penner. The other five, you take a guess which have excelled and which have been just OK in terms of offensive production.

I don't think the system suppresses much with the guys who are underperforming, if anything it should be demanding more from them.

5. Are Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson, Willie Mitchell and Rob Scuderi a top 4 defensive group on 25 out of 30 NHL teams? If yes, are the problems really with the defensive core?

God yes, they are a very good top four and the third pairing gives decent depth with Greener and Martinez, too. Once you get past the elite teams--Philadelphia, Vancouver, Detroit, maybe Chicago coming on now--there aren't many if any better groups than the Kings. They are there with Calgary and some other clubs as heading the 1B tier of NHL defenses. Their forwards are defensively responsible, too, Kopi has made big strides, Brown is very sound, the checking line is responsible, Stoll knows where to be, etc. Even Smyth surmounts his limitations more often than not at that end.

6. Is Jonathan Quick a legitimate number 1 goalie on 25 out of 30 NHL teams? If so, is the problem goaltending?

25 of 30 is a weird standard to me but yes Quick is a legit #1 goalie. The first question is what kind of load can this guy carry? 60+ games? He's probably a #1 goalie. Second question is how consistent is he? In Quick's case, rather consistent. He has one glaring weakness in his game (puckhandling), otherwise he was a good goalie who's made big strides to become a VERY good goalie. Little wasted motion, solid focus, great approach to every game and the results to back those assessments. Let's not even approach depth in net, only Boston and Vancouver compare in terms of having a legit #1 goalie and a very promising young guy backing him up.

Last question…

7. When the LA Kings’ players do what the coaches ask and the offense and powerplay still consistently fail, is it execution by the players or the system to which they must adhere the problem?

That's always a column-A, column-B situation and the Kings are no different. People always say "penalty killing is about attitude, toughness and hard work." Well, what is the power play? The goal is to OUTWORK those hard-working penalty killers more so than outsmart them. The game slows down a little but that doesn't mean it's time to start thinking and stop reacting.

Too much thinking going on and the thing is you wonder if some of these plays they are waiting for are even feasible. Kopitar hangs on to the puck too long for sure, he's got a great shot, we need to see it more. Sometimes his patience pays off, but the proof is in the percentages on that.

A big thing is that teams force someone other than Doughty to beat them and, as a secondary emphasis, someone other than Kopitar. Johnson has cashed in on that, boosted his power play effectiveness overall despite some rough spots. Smyth is still very good in front. Stoll is sort of starting to come around, he's hitting the net more. Everyone else seems iffy, sort of like the cycling issue they need to get more reliable secondary options because their bread-and-butter is not overwhelmingly effective to the point where teams know what's coming and still fail to stop it.

The power play is simple to imagine and hard to execute. If you can make two cross-ice passes on one trip into the offensive zone, you've got a fantastic chance of scoring. The Kings frequently wind up making a bunch of short, well-supported passes that are easy to defend against in a 2-2 or a diamond, doesn't matter. They also have a man parked low at almost all times whether in the umbrella or the old Andy Murray 2-3 alignment. That's great to get traffic, but not what I'd call "stationary traffic." If you have a guy down low at all times, that means the PK can play four on four. Sure, you disrupt the goalie's vision and that has paid off at times but again the proof is in the percentages. Not enough aggressiveness from a handful of key guys and not enough movement low from anyone. How many times are two or three forwards standing along the goal line just sort of harmlessly swaying?

When you watch the best teams get into a groove--a healthy Pens team, the Flyers with all their outstanding passers, etc--they are changing the point of attack and switching positions with aplomb. I can count on my fingers (maybe on one hand) how many times I've seen that from the Kings in the 60 or so games I've seen this year. Detroit still has a point-heavy system, but they've also got Nik Lidstrom and the offensive personnel to barrel through teams without the element of surprise.

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03-08-2011, 12:35 PM
  #25
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Quote:
Not true at all. The Kings had a more successful PP last season. It's been scouted.
How is it not true? Were they not scouted last year?

Quote:
The Kings were 19th in ES offense last season. Remember when Murray said during training camp that they would improve on this number with a better offensive system? I haven't seen it. I just see constant line changes and the same perimeter play.
http://www.nhl.com/ice/teamstats.htm...wName=goalsFor

And as of right now, statistically speaking, they're better than they were last year.

Quote:
All of the elite teams have a good offense. Detroit vancouver, Phili hell even Boston are all in the top 5 in scoring this year. It's a new era of hockey, defensive only teams are a thing of the past. It's the system that is broken. The talent is there...
There's the problem. The Kings aren't an elite team. Is Doughty playing at an elite level? Is Kopitar? If Murray is all about shoot first, someone should let Kopitar know. Would whatever is wrong with Doughty this season be fixed by some incredible offensive system?

The system would look much better if the Kings could connect on a pass or two. If players can't do that, it doesn't matter what system they play. If the players didn't turn the puck over, in their own zone, at the blue line, at the red line, consistently, the system would look much better. Blame the coaches for who is or isn't on the ice at a given time. But the players have plenty to figure out, since they're not executing on the ice the way they need to in order to be an elite team.

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