If I went to you before the season started, and placed the Kings roster in front of you, a roster that sports Mike Richards, Drew Doughty, Simon Gagne, Justin Williams, Dustin Penner, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, and Jack Johnson...
Would you have looked at it and said, "Yep, worst offense in the NHL. I see it."?
There has been a lot of surprise in the NHL this season so far—like two coaches fired on the same day, the rise of the Minnesota Wild, and the Shanahan effect. But one of those notable surprises has to be the talented group in L.A. floundering at 11th in the West in points, and dead last in the NHL in team offense (2.24 goals per game), 29 games in.
The Kings are 3-6-1 in their last 10, and have lost four in a row. Tempers and frustration are running very high. But not if you talked to coach Terry Murray, whose postgame quotes have been so vanilla and positive it's puzzling.
Take a look at Kings Insider Rich Hammonds postgame interview and you'll see what I mean.
It's year four of the Terry Murray era, and while he is, and was, a very solid defensive fundamental coach, and a learning coach that was very good for young players to work with, the time is now to move on.
My biggest concern with Terry Murray is systematic.
The Kings system is predicated on team defense, and dump-and-chase hockey. A system that was designed for players like Ryan Smyth, Michal Handzus, and Wayne Simmonds.
This is not a system for skill guys like Mike Richards, Simon Gagne, Andrei Loktionov, Justin Williams and Dustin Penner. But the story has been trying to force square pegs through round holes.
There comes a time when coaches have to look at their personnel, and create a system that works for them. When teams and players collapse is where players are asked to play in ways they are not comfortable/familiar/capable of.
Instead of seeing the talented forwards showcase their creativity in the offensive zone, we're seeing a lack of speed through the neutral zone, one man dumping, one man chasing, and a stagnant and stationary offensive system and power play.
The Kings again sport fantastic defensive numbers, but it doesn't help the defense at all when you average just 2.21 goals a game, and 0.84 5-on-5 goals a game. It's essentially putting the game all on Jonathan Quick. While he has been fantastic this season, he is already starting to show signs of wear and tear mentally.
Playing with the mindset that one soft goal could be the game every night has to be tough.
Meanwhile, the system doesn't change. In postgame interviews, Kings fans are told the system works. Murray just needs more from the players, and to keep pushing it and it will eventually happen.
At what point does Lombardi, a huge Murray fan, begin to see the rope slipping from Murray's hands? The Kings have swapped a ton of personnel, and tailored the off season acquisitions more towards skill guys, but it still does not deliver offensively.
The current Kings roster has five former 30-goal scorers, and one former 40-goal scorer. So tell me, is it personnel or coaching?
It's December, Dean. Over a third of the season is complete, and this team is not where it needs to be. Unless you think worst offensive team in hockey is where we should be.