The L.A. Kings kicked off their four-game road trip this evening against the Boston Bruins, where they were shut out 3-0. According to Kings Alternate Captain and defenseman Matt Greene, the overall attitude in the Kings locker room right now is “down”, after the very well liked and respected Terry Murray was fired yesterday. It has been made very clear that Murray’s firing falls directly on the shoulders of the players who have been desperately trying to find a way to win, but miserably failing. The loss tonight marks the Kings’ fifth loss in a row and the fact that they scored ZERO goals further reminds us (as if we needed it) that the complete lack of offense is at the very top on the list of problems. I’m not at all surprised by the Kings loss tonight. First of all, it has been a very hectic and emotional 24 hours for the team and management; and secondly, as we know, the Boston Bruins are the defending Stanley Cup Champs and didn’t lose a single game in regulation during the month of November. To say these guys are on top of their game would be an understatement. Regardless, the Kings are still DESPERATE for a win. It is sad to say, but the word desperate is the first word that comes to mind when I think of the state of this team.
I could sit here and write a full recap of tonights game as I had planned to do, or I could save you all from the misery of listening to every detail about Brad Marchand’s two goals and Tuuka Rask’s shut out and try a different approach. Instead of trying to pinpoint the reasons WHY the Kings are failing, I’m going to make a list of the top three things that I think need to happen in order for the Kings to turn this around. I feel like it is my duty to make sure that all of us Kings fans stick together through these crappy circumstances and still be able to stand behind this team, despite their recent sucking. I believe there’s a way out of this slump and that things will only go up from here, but in order for things to turn around, the following things need to happen:
1. Hire A New Coach…An Angry One:
Well, not necessarily angry, but someone who will whip these boys into shape. What Murray did for this team was great, but his calm and collected demeanor obviously wasn’t working for this team. In my opinion, the players need a John Tortorella type of coach. I know that sometimes he may be a bit of a nightmare, but he is an effective nightmare. Just look at where the Rangers (17-7-4) are in the standings, tied for third in the East with 38 points. Up until today, I’ve been avoiding checking the standings because I didn’t know if I would be able to handle seeing the Kings in the bottom half of the Western Conference. As it turns out, they are in the bottom 1/4 of the W.C. chillin with Colorado, Columbus, and Anaheim….horrible, I know. A wake up call is in order, if firing Murray wasn’t enough to do the trick.
2. Keep Mike Richards Healthy:
With Anze Kopitar in a scoring slump along with the rest of the team, the Kings really don’t have a top player leading the way right now. Before his injury, Richards was that guy. Even after missing 5 games, he still leads the team in goals with 11. Coming into the season, I think everyone knew we needed a guy like Richards on the team, but I definitely didn’t expect for him to establish himself as quickly as he did. Though he claims to be more of the “quiet” type, he served as the Captain of a very successful Philadelphia Flyers team for three years, so his leadership qualities are unquestionable. We need him back A.S.A.P. if we want to reach our full potential.
3. Kopitar, Doughty, Stoll:
In my opinion, the success of these guys is an integral part in the success of the team overall. Anze Kopitar only has 2 goals in his last 15 games, Drew Doughty hasn’t looked the same since his Olympic Gold Medal/Norris Trophy nomination season, and Jarret Stoll has only 2 goals on the season and he has played in all 30 games. Now those are the negatives. On the bright side, despite the slump, Kopi still has the most points on the team with 28 and it has to be only a matter of time before he turns things back around. In tonight’s game Doughty looked hungry…and not for donuts. He was playing hard and it was evident that he was really pushing himself. If he continues to play with that much intensity, the points are bound to come with it. Stoll hasn’t really found his niche on this team since the addition of Richards. He was bumped down to the third line initially, and now he is sort of bouncing around trying to find the right position. Hopefully the new coach will be able to have an impact there and help Stolly find his groove.
Obviously, there are quite a few other things that the Kings will need to do to find success, but in my opinion, those are the key three. What do you guys think the Kings need to get over the slump?
Their next game will be against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday Dec. 15th. Tune into FSW at 4:00pm PST.
Oh yeah, and here are the highlights from tonight’s game if you are interested.
Topics: Anze Kopitar, Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand, Columbus Blue Jackets, Drew Doughty, Jarret Stoll, John Tortorella, Los Angeles Kings, Matt Greene, Mike Richards, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Terry Murray, Tuuka Rask