Following the Kings second 4-3 OT loss in a row to the visiting Minnesota Wild on Saturday night, here’s what LA coach Todd McLellan had to say…
On his thoughts on the game
Quite frankly, I’m disappointed right now, just like the rest the group. That’s two games in a row that played out almost identical in a lot of different ways. There’s no reason why we should let either of them get away on us but they obviously did. There are things that we need to work on. I’m still not happy with the penalties that we’re taking some of them were just awful decisions, too many men on the ice, different situations that are completely preventable. So is it because we haven’t played for a while? Possibly, but I think that would be using it as an excuse. I didn’t think we were ready to play tonight, and that’s not a good sign for us at all, especially early in the season. Their first goal, we went over that faceoff probably 10 minutes before we went out. And the very first one in our end they score off of, so quite disappointed a lot of guys tonight, but we’ll work on it we’ll get ready for the next one.
On what caused the ‘too many men’ penalties
We’ve obviously addressed it and we’re not happy with it. The guy going on the ice is responsible for everything. The guy coming off is tired, he’s not sure where the play is, so two nights in a row I look at the guys that went on to the ice and it’s squarely on them. Pay attention get your head in the game and be ready.
On what he’ll be addressing before the Colorado Avalanche come to LA on Tuesday
Well, we’ll look at the video tomorrow. We’re gonna work on all facets of our game. We haven’t played in 300 days so a lot of work and in every area, I can’t single it out right now but we’ll watch it tomorrow and we’ll approach our next couple practices with getting better all over in mind.
Oh if he liked the way they protected the lead at the end of the game, and his thoughts on the empty net post
A million clichés could come out of my mouth right now. If it hits the post and goes in where we’re a lot more happy answering your questions, but that wasn’t the case. I thought we did a good job playing six-on-five for the first minute and 45 seconds. The goal they scored on was a lob of into the zone, it was a hard puck to control, and it somehow got to the middle of the rink and I believe Drew Doughty swatted at it, got a piece of it had it not even touched the stick Iafallo would’ve had the clear easily. I’m just becoming a broadcaster there explaining the play. It’s disappointing those things happen. I was disappointed with the goal after the penalty kill, not a great line change. The guy coming out of the box should be the one staying on the ice, he’s the freshest and protecting everybody. Mistakes all over lots to fix.
On if the increase in penalties around the league could be a symptom of no preseason games
The intensity and the drive for points doesn’t feel exhibition like at all. When you’re on the bench, the guys are playing for real. I know in exhibition season there’s guys that try and get through it healthy, they try and get their game in order so when the season starts nobody’s playing like that right now, everybody’s playing hard. As far as the penalties go, I think every year the officials try and establish what’s gonna be acceptable. It’s been a long time since we played, there are hooks and holds that are gonna be called, we need to fix that the stupidity ones, our individuals that have to really look at themselves, whether it’s too many men or a few others, but we got to fix that.
On the game flow after penalty-kills had expired
It’s the same script as the other night, same result. Game played a little different, but you take penalties. Just think about this, you take a penalty, you wear your team out, individuals don’t get on the ice, and the other team’s best players get touches and they begin to feel real confident about playing with the puck and making place and that’s what happened. We we’re exhausted at the end of that penalty kill, we couldn’t get them to a point where they could turn and retrieve all the way down to their end so we could get fresh people off and it’s in our net. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but it’s a lot harder to correct than what we might think. Some of its practice habits, where we we’ve got to be on them a little bit more, and some of it’s just getting mentally engaged and play situations better.
On Gabe Vilardi’s high faceoff count
I didn’t think Gabe was particularly good in the faceoff circles especially early in the game when we needed them. But we’re trying to show some confidence in him, we didn’t have a right-handed face off guy that was really doing well, especially on the penalty kill. Gabe had done a real good job in game one in that situation he did a real good job last year when he came up. You’re gonna have some bad nights, I understand that, but as we go forward, we’re gonna count on him for more than just playmaking and creativity, we’re gonna count on him for us his grindability, his defensive checking, his ability to win face-offs. And all of that has to evolve into his game.
On how he thought Sean Walker played after a week of no hockey
No hockey for 300 days, there was a gamble in our behalf to put both of those guys in, but we thought they could do it. In this strange season, we’re gonna have to do it again and I’m sure there’s gonna be some players that are gonna be kept out for whatever reason, and when they come back we’re gonna play them. In normal circumstances you get more time and you’d have time to practice a little bit but they’re they’re up and running now, they didn’t even get to play in the black and white game. I thought [Walker] was a little raggid early, then I think he got better as the game went on and then I think he tired a little bit. Couldn’t get him off and overtime and he got caught out there and that’s what happens.
On his patience with the forward lines, and if he’ll consider changing them for Tuesday
We’ve only played six periods in out last 330 days, so the argument has to be made: are we prepared to try and let lines gel and find their way through all of this, or we got to make radical changes and shuffle everything up? I think we’ll go with the first more than the second, just for the sake that we’ve got to get up and running. The offense again, three goals is enough. The defensive side of it, the stupid plays we’re making walking to the penalty box is hurting us right now and we can fix that but we’ve got to make a point of doing it individually and then collectively.
On his message to the team after the game, and how he addresses the team in the coming days
There weren’t any. We have tomorrow off, and on Monday, we’ll approach it like any other day. We’ll review the game, we’ll have a good video session, we’ll talk to individuals, we’ll talk the lines collectively, and we’ll work on the areas that we feel like we need that we need to play against the good Colorado team coming up. As I said earlier, in this interview, we need working in every area, so that’s how well approach it.
On him appearing to be more bothered by tonight’s loss compared to Thursday’s loss
I could see one slipping away, but unacceptable in two. You’re read on me is quite accurate.
On the play of Drew Doughty and Oli Maata compared to Thursday’s game
There were parts of the game where they improved dramatically over the other night. When you talk about a pair, sometimes you have to break it up some and analyze individuals within the pair too. Six periods together, they’re gonna read off each other, they’re gonna learn, and they’re gonna get better.
On the chances that the Kempe-Vilardi-Wagner line was creating
I wasn’t happy with the first shift they had when they gave up the goal, and we had just gone over the face off play, so let’s leave it at that. Offense is great, but you got to be able to defend and 15 seconds into the game, you’ve got to be responsible for your assignments.
More postgame comments linked below.
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