LA Kings: Todd McLellan’s message for team: “Show up and play”

LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) /

LA Kings head coach Todd McLellan was not pleased with his team’s performance after suffering a 3-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night.

After the LA Kings fell to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night, head coach Todd McLellan spoke with the media, touching on missing players, his team’s competitive effort, and delivering a strong message.

Needless to say, a much better effort is expected when the Kings face the Golden Knights this weekend.

On attributing the effort to all the players missing from the lineup

Well, that plays a factor in the game. It certainly does. Those guys have experience – they stabilize lines. You’re missing two of your top six defensemen. But that doesn’t excuse the competitiveness that we showed up with and the execution that we showed up with tonight. There’s still 20 capable players of playing a lot better than they did tonight. So that’s disappointing.

On why the LA Kings had such a low shot total

They were better than us in every aspect of the game. And, you know, to get whatever we did 20 shots on goal was actually fortunate for us. We didn’t have the puck much off the faceoffs. We didn’t execute when we won. We didn’t handle a heavy forecheck. We didn’t create a forecheck on our own. We didn’t sustain any offensive zone time at all. So that pretty much sums up how you end up on the short end of a shot total.

On what he saw from Arthur Kaliyev

There’s nothing that I didn’t like. He’s a young player – he was excited to play. The guys were excited for him that gave us a little bit of life and a little bit of energy. So when a 19-year-old can come in and do that, he’s obviously dangerous when he’s got the pocket in around the net.

He had some other chances. More than that, a lot of our other forwards that played tonight. So a good start for him. And he’ll learn his way through the league, and it’d be no different than Gabe [Vilardi]. It’s a hard league. It’s not gonna come easy, and that’s part of cutting your teeth.

On relying on the mid-tier leadership group while players are absent from the lineup

Well, as some of these young kids, I consider Gabe and Arty young kids. But Clague and Grundstrom, and those type of players, they’ve been in the organization for a little while, they may be young when it comes to NHL career, but they’re not young to pro experience.

So they’ve got to find a way to contribute. The leadership has to be better; we’ve got to be better prepared and ready to play. And that falls on the coaching leadership. I fall into that pot, too, if you want to call it that. You know, we can’t use injuries or COVID as an excuse the whole frickin league is going through it. So get over it. Show up and play.

On why the passing wasn’t crisp

They threw a heavy forecheck on us, and we didn’t handle that initial eyes-up play. So we get the puck, we get our eyes up, and we’ve got to make that first clean pass and then connect from there. On the way out, we couldn’t make the first one, so don’t worry about the second and third. They didn’t exist. Even when we had open ice, I thought we would telegraph a lot.

They could read off of our vision, get sticks in the way. And, you know, we also, even that being the rival, we have to give them credit. They played a hell of a game. They were in good position. They played hard. They did what they needed to win, and, you know, they got in the way, and we didn’t have an answer for it. So a lot to work on.

On what the LA Kings’ identity is through nine games

Tonight was nowhere near what we’re supposed to be. We’re a hard team – a hard, organized team to play against. We’re a team that’s growing. We rely on structure to protect each other and get the most out of what we have. And when we’re playing well, all those things are fitting in together.

dark. Next. Kings cannot afford to take the hated Ducks lightly

Tonight, we didn’t have any of that. And as a result, you could see us hemmed in our own end for minutes at a time and really no pushback at all as far as offense goes. So when you don’t play to your identity, and you don’t execute well, it doesn’t matter who you are. You take it on the chin.