Mayor’s Minutes on NHL Radio: State of the Kings, What’s Next

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Enjoy a free replay of this week’s Mayor’s Minutes on NHL Network Radio. John Hoven joined host Jim ‘Boomer’ Gordon to talk about what might be troubling the Kings and to evaluate their chances of making the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs.

You can give today’s segment a listen using the player below or download any of our audio files for free on the MayorsManor iTunes page located here.

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Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on NHL Network Radio from earlier today, where he joined host Jim ‘Boomer’ Gordon to talk about the Golden Knights home opener – live from Las Vegas.
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Comments

  1. Crown Royal says:

    John,

    You seem to have a more balanced view of Kings hockey than many fans who expect the Kings to win every game. I do believe, however, that DL and the organization is going to have to re-tool to some degree in order to win more cups.

    Yes, losing both Mitchell (necessary decision) and Voynov has been huge, along with the “diminished” effectiveness of MR, but the problems go a bit deeper. Last season DL pulled off the terrific trade for Gaborik, who could just as easily been the Conn Smythe winner as JW, plus the playoff surge of both TT and TP which made a huge difference. Remember, DL stubbornly refused to play TT in the top-six which is why DL was shopping JW at the deadline and refused to insert TP into the line-up in the playoffs until the Kings were deep in the hole against the Sharks. Without those two young wingers doing what they did in the playoffs, the Kings don’t win the Cup. Firing on all cylinders the Kings had just enough to make that unbelievable run to Lord Stanley’s prize.

    Voynov was the Kings second best D-man and though most Kings fans don’t want to hear it, DD’s skill level and defensive prowess is a bit overrated. His shot is very good but teams just mostly take that away from him now on the PP. DD’s best quality, far and away, is his compete level which is off the charts. He’s never been a PP quarterback, he’s really a trigger man. Muzzin is more of a shooter than anything else (plus he’s not really a top-two D-man despite the Kings success in the playoffs last year) and despite fan’s displeasure at Kopi’s reluctance to shoot, he is really quarterbacking the PP from the half-boards. The PP is O.K. anyway at this point.

    MR’s play has declined a bit but it’s more about the league getting bigger and faster every year than Richards getting worse. Most players hit their peak by 27-28 or earlier. It’s rare now days for players to get better after that age. Players of limited skills like Stoll, Greene, and RR are finding it more difficult to play in all situations as their skating and mobility declines. The new breed of players need to be bigger and more mobile. In today’s NHL you need wingers with enough speed and size to fore check (Brown-Clifford-Pearson, and even King who is not fast) plus wingesr who can shoot (Gabo-TT-JW) because most goals not scored in front come from changing the shooting angle at the goalie at the last second with a quick release. Players who lack skill can’t do that very well (Lewis-King-Clifford-and even DB.) ..On defense size and mobility are paramount which is why I’m hoping DL keeps Forbert and moves him up sooner rather than later.

    DL is going to have to bring in younger, bigger, faster, players who cost less and forget the loyalty thing which is admirable but impractical the way the league now works. If he doesn’t start doing that soon the Kings will not win many more Cups… He can’t give JW a muti-year deal now like he did with Gabo. Stoll and Greene need to be replaced, period. They are too expensive and not as effective any longer. He needs to let RR walk despite his hard -hitting style. He’s also too expensive and often injured….DL has earned the right to be given time to begin re-tooling and Kings fans need to be patient with him. Time to bite the bullet and get busy, DL!

    • GKG Since 86 says:

      Insightful. A good read!

      • Crown Royal says:

        Thanks!…Many Kings fans are hoping DL can pull of another great trade as he did in bringing in Carter and Gaborik but even if he does bring in a top-four D-man it might not be enough.

        Last season the Kings had a legitimate #1 D-man in Doughty (although not one of the top five D-men in the league.)
        They had a legit #3 D-man in Voynov.
        They did not have a legitimate #2 D-man but did have, arguably, four #4 D-men in terms of their effectiveness. Mitchell, RR, Muzzin, and Martinez. In addition they had Green who was a legitimate #6 D-man.

        This season they still have a #1-DD but now no #2 or #3 D-men in the line-up.
        For various reasons RR, Muzzin, and Martinez are all playing at about a #5 level on defense, and McNabb (who I think will be pretty decent in time) and Green are both about #7 D-men on a contending team. McNabb isn’t quite ready for more and both Greene and RR have slipped slightly since last season, especially Greene…Martinez is more effective on the left side and Muzzin is far better offensively than defensively.

        The lack of contribution from Richards this season, plus Stoll’s decline, and the injury to TP have, along with the problems on defense, caused this year’s team to not be as good as last year’s team. Also, several other teams have gotten better notably Predators, Jets, Stars, Canucks, and now The Wild with improved goaltending. It’s a tougher conference than last season.

        Unless Voynov comes back, (if wanted and re-instated) and DL can pull off a big trade for a top-four D-man it seems this season holds slim hopes for success.

  2. Please win says:

    Mike Richards was not given every chance to succeed. He started the season on the 4th line and was never given better wingers. Did they expect him to be the most outstanding 4th line center? I dont get it. Remember in Philly Richards got half his points on the Power Play, so 4th line/2nd Power Play unit isn’t going to give him much to work with. I don’t believe that Richards has declined as much as everyone thinks. He isn’t put in situations to succeed. I also believe while Richards wasn’t the most fit guy in the locker room, his skating stride did improve, first 3 steps were much better.

    Why would Lombardi keep Regehr over Mitchell? Regehr doesn’t have better positioning, doesn’t have a better stick, not a better passer/shooter, often over physical and runs out of position to make a hit. Second, I’m surprised no one has talked about this, Mitchell made this defense: 2011 Doughty struggles. They put him with Mitchell instead of Scuderi for a while, boom never have to worry about him again. 2012 Voynov comes up, plays with Mitchell never had to worry. 2013 Muzzin Struggles, put him with Mitchell for a while, comes back to play with Doughty didn’t have to worry about him all last year. 2014 Martinez struggles, put him with Mitchell, beats his season record for goals in 1 month and has an outstanding playoffs. Now, Muzzin struggles, Martinez struggles, McNabb struggles and there is no Mitchell to put them with so they can find their game. How did no one see this coming? I was shocked they let him go.

    Offensive woes have not stopped. 2012. I remember it being a HUGE deal trading Johnson for Carter. There should have been enough offense and it didnt work out that season. We win the cup who cares. 2014 Added Muzzin which should boost offense. Martinez steps up which should boost offense. Added Toffoli which should boost offense. STILL HAD TO TRADE FOR GABORIK. Winning the cup overshadows the fact that for some reason this team had to add a lot of offense and is yet again struggling for offense. How much do we have to add? Keep in mind we won the Jennings last year so we did not have to add offense because we lost defense. There is something about this team where offense just isn’t coming and maybe it’s time for a complete system overhaul. Dan Bylsma is out of a job and he knows how to get the most out of his players, have we contacted him at all? Great systems guy ya know… Used to be a king…

    Start of this season. That 70s line carries us through first two months. I hit the panic button then, what was the organization doing?

    Another thing I do not believe Sutter’s coaching is what got us the 2014 cup. Dean’s ability to put together an absolute dynamite roster together is what won it. The players won that cup.

    First. Fix the lines, set them so the players know whats going on and get chemistry.
    Brown/King – Kopitar – Gaborik
    Pearson – Carter- Toffoli
    Brown/King – Richards – Williams
    Clifford – Stoll – Lewis

    Andreoff and Shore aren’t going to help any at this point.

    Second, remind the players what they are capable of instead of yelling cliches. “Have an identity, be a warrior” Obviously that gets us no where. The team is mentally fatigued. Someone needs to go to Kopitar and say “Hey remember your 2nd game in the league, you drove wide on Pronger and scored. Why don’t you try adding that back into your game” Go to Brown and say “Hey you need to be more of an off the puck guy in zone. Forecheck, make a quick play, if your 5-10 feet around the net try to score otherwise look for plays without the puck.” Tell Muzzin “Don’t be fancy, be very simple. Use that shot and focus all of your energy on defense right now.” Just common sense things that players need to be reminded of because to me the individuals have lost their identity not the team.

    3rd Hire Byslma, seriously. Systems monster.

    • Crown Royal says:

      I agree with many of your points, including the line combos as long as Brown is on the first line and King on the third. The Kings have won two Cups with DB on the first line. Once on the left side, and once on the right side.

      I believe WM was cut loose because he wanted a longer term contract than the Kings were willing to give due to his age, and the full season he missed in between Cups. The Kings were upset that he did not come back sooner from injury and were worried he might have long-term injures again and with RR’s contract that was expiring at the end of this season they could let him go without further commitment if necessary…. They do absolutely miss Mitchell now, that’s clear!

      DL will never fire Sutter… I think DS is a good coach but at times is overly stubborn and inflexible. He doesn’t like to integrate young players into the line-up and for some reason Andreoff has been in his dog house more than most young players, all season. Wondering if it had something to do with AA’S “Staged fight” on his first ever NHL shift? Maybe DS didn’t like him putting himself above the team?? When AA when down to Manchester for a few games he scored like crazy. If DS had played him more, maybe he would be contributing more offensively from the bottom six by now? Shore, like McNabb, should be fine eventually but is struggling to adjust at the next level.

      Brown is usually better and more effective when playing on the opposite wing with another good skater as skating, more than hands, is one of his assets…Kopi will never be a big goal scorer. He’s more of a playmaker and very good defensive center. Hoping for more goals from him will always prove to be a frustration for Kings fans.