Following a 2-0 loss on Sunday to the visiting Charlotte Checkers, who completed a two game weekend sweep of the Reign, Ontario has now dropped three straight games for the first time this season. It was also their second time being shutout this year. Power play struggles aside, this team has mustered up just eight goals in its last ten games and hasn’t scored more than twice since December 12.
Captain Vincent LoVerde spoke about what has hampered the offensive attack and what his message will be to the younger players in the Kings organization moving forward.
LoVerde on anything specific that led to the loss: “I don’t know. They played us well. At the end of the day we’re having a little bit of trouble scoring goals. I think guys are gripping the sticks a little bit tight. It’s one of those things where we have got ourselves into this situation and we have to get us out of it.”
On Charlotte’s forecheck and trouble breaking out: “A little bit of both. I don’t think we were as crisp as we could be as far as passing the puck and receiving pucks. They did a good job playing structurally and playing over the top of us, they did a good job. It’s a little bit of both i think.”
On his message to the younger players as a leader: “It’s a long season. At the end of the day it’s three games. Do we want to go on a three game slide? Obviously not. The only way we’re going to get out of it is to work through our issues and go from there. Obviously we have some young guys on our team, college guys are used to a shorter schedule and whatnot, it is what it is. Just build off it, keep improving everyday and come to the rink ready to work.”
Head Coach Mike Stothers also spoke with media after the game regarding the first bit of adversity for his club and what they will do to end the losing streak on Tuesday.
Stothers on dealing with the first bit of adversity as a team: “Well it’s a good test. That’s what the season is all about and that’s exactly what we talked about it after the game. It is our first test, or our first taste, however you want to word it. You weather through it. When things are good, life’s great and it feels good to be a hockey player. When they’re not, you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders. Good thing is, we don’t have too long to think about it because we’re right back on the ice again Tuesday. We got ourselves into this predicament so we will get ourselves out of it.”
On reflecting on their position in the standings as opposed to the losing streak: “You always try to look at it from the positive end of things, whether you’re winning or you’re not. We always try to improve ourselves. We prefer to look at the glass as half full rather than half empty. It’s pretty easy to let outside forces bring you down. Everybody wants to pat you on the back and hug you when you win and everybody wants to kick you in the ass when you’re losing. So we’ll stick together, that’s what good team down. I’d be more concerned if our guys weren’t taking it as hard as they are. I’d be more concerned if we were giving up 60 and 70 shots. They’re trying. It’s just not going our way right now. So we will just keep plugging away.”
On keeping the team from being frustrated despite the results: “I tell them ‘don’t think about what’s going wrong. Take tomorrow, were going to have a recovery day. Think about what you do well, as individuals and as a team.’ We do a lot of things well. We’ve got a lot of guys that do things well. So if you take that day and, rather than beat yourself up about it, just think about, ‘hey, what do i do well? What are my strengths? What do i do for this team?’ hopefully you’ll be ready for Tuesday.”
On Nic Dowd being double shifted while trailing in the third period: “You’re one shot away. You’re one shot away from being one goal behind and then another shot away from tying it up. Maybe they take a high-sticking major and you get a five-minute powerplay, there is all kind of scenarios. You don’t leave the horses in the barn, you let them play. You open the door and let them play. We’ve got tomorrow off so he can rest up. He’ll be ready for Tuesday.”
On if Charlotte’s powerplay was the difference and how he felt about the teams 5 on 5 play: “If you take that away then we’d still be playing. They capitalized on their powerplay. That was the difference. If you’re going to win, you’ve got to score more than zero. That’ll be continually worked on and we will get ready for Tuesday.”
On practicing as opposed to just playing another game: “I think right now a day away is the best medicine for these guys. It has been a pretty busy schedule since we’ve come back. We had a short turn around from last night to today and we play again Tuesday. Practices are good and necessary but also rest, recovery and time away from the rink is good for these guys. They deserve a little time with their families or friends or just to recover, so that’s why we call it a recovery day.”
On if Houser will see any action as opposed to Budaj: “Im not sure why but i guess ill consider it. I would spell Budaj with ‘M-V-P’ so at this point, not likely.”
On how he’s felt about Crescenzi’s game: “Cres has been good. He is what he is and there’s another guy we’re asking to play a little bit out of his norm. A little bit more offensive responsibility, which when you slot everybody and where they fit in your lineup, he is probably better in a defensive posture and killing penalties. He is expanding his role and he is looking to help us out. These guys do whatever they cam. It isn’t hard to find someone on the bench to say, ‘Stots I’m ready to go. Stots put me out there.’ They’re blocking shots, they’re lying down in front of pucks and they’re trying. So long as we keep trying, I haven’t had any issues with anything other than the fact i hate losing a lot more than I’m letting on in front of you right now. But it’s part of the process, so that’s just the way it is.”
Ontario hits the ice again in two days when they take on Texas. The Stars roster has been very productive so far this season and boasts Travis Morin, the league’s top scorer.
— The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) January 4, 2016
The lines fluctuated throughout the game. These are the lines towards the end of the game.
Auger – Dowd – Brodzinski
Lowry – Army – Backman
Samuels-Thomas – Crescenzi – Zykov
Bissonnette – Horvat – Sabourin
Leslie – Loverde
Ebert – Schutlz
Gravel – Raine