Line combinations – they were one of the most popular topics in Los Angeles hockey circles last year.
As head coach Terry Murray is back behind the bench for the Kings this season, things will probably continue that way. He’s never met a line combination he hasn’t liked – at least for a few shifts.
With training camp opening today, team captain Dustin Brown expects more of the same. In fact, he says he’s even been joking about it with one of his teammates.
“Terry likes to juggle and Willy (Justin Williams) and I have already been talking about how we’re going to be like numbers he’s pulling out of a hat,” Brown said, referencing who might play right wing on the top line.
Muray’s preference is to put guys in pairs – like Dustin Penner and Anze Kopitar on the top line, Mike Richards and Simon and Gagne on the second line. Thus, all kidding aside, it most likely will be Brown and Williams rotating between those two lines on any given night.
“When you have guys who are interchangeable it makes things pretty easy,” Brown added.
And interchangeable is exactly what he thinks he is, not buying into any of the critics who say he’s lacked chemistry with Kopitar in the past.
“We had a good start (last season). But, I’ve played with Kopi for years. Everyone talks about chemistry – but, some things you can’t really explain. You either have it or you don’t, and it can sometimes be year to year,” Brown explained.
“Two years ago everyone said how we didn’t have chemistry and Kopi had 80 points. So, whatever. It’s just a matter of finding the best chemistry – not for me and Kopi, but what’s the best chemistry for line two, line three, line four? Sometimes that’s me and Kopi together and sometimes it’s not.”
To drive the point home, Brown added – “It’s more about how the team is playing. If Kopi and I are pointless, have no chemistry and we’re 9-0, it’s perfectly fine with both of us.”
MayorsManor, dispelling myths one at time.
Let the juggling begin.