November 26, 2010 6:40 pm

Fixing the problems

After today’s practice, Terry Murray got asked the simple question, “What changed?” After a 12-3-0 start, the Kings are 1-5-0 in their last six. At different points during the slide, fingers could be pointed in every direction — defensive-zone coverage, goalies, power play, offensive production, penalty kill, etc. — but is there an overriding theme? Murray was asked for his thoughts today, after a day off yesterday for some reflection…

MURRAY: “Boy, I’ve beaten that around a lot. If I had that answer, I could sell it for a lot of money. Everything is so competitive now in the game, so close. Parity is the word that everybody uses, but it’s the right word. I think we’ve lost a little bit of our momentum. We had extended breaks (in the schedule) there, and it just gets away. To me, right now, with some of that momentum (lost), and a couple key, veteran players standing on the sidelines and watching, that’s sometimes all it takes. That’s not an excuse, but I’m looking for reasons why, and I do come to that as part of it. I do also think that our play at the start was really good, and the intensity level was something that you’re not going to be able to maintain over an extended period of time. There’s going to be a down side to the curve, and you’ve got to work through it and get it back on the upside.”

Murray also got into more specifics about the past few games, in terms of what he liked and what he didn’t like…

MURRAY: “We want to get out of this little hole that we’re in right now. The results are not what you want. You’re always looking for a win. Out of the games that I’m looking at, starting with the San Jose game, I was not happy or pleased with the way we played in San Jose, but other games, when we go through it, we played pretty good. There are goals that are being scored against us that are critical goals, obviously, but (against) Columbus, we’re in good shape going into the third period, we’re playing well and we end up losing. Again, I can go through each one of those games. In Buffalo, in Ottawa, we’re outshooting, outplaying, and giving up those goals at critical times. Montreal, we weren’t as effective as what we would have liked to have been. I think our puck management was really off-page there.

“So, in saying all of that, my view of it is that we’re not off-page by that much. It’s the importance of one play, two plays, the passing of the puck better, the management of the puck a little bit better. Structurally, when I go back through all of the situations, in games, we’re in pretty good position, system-wise. We’ve got to be harder in both ends. Part of the practice you saw today was D-zone net play. I think the same applies to the offensive zone. We can hang out a while longer, have a little more of a dig-in attitude to find those loose pucks, to screen goaltenders. But we’re not off that far. We need to relax, go out and play, enjoy the game and get it back on track. We have to earn the right, obviously. We have to work to get it back on page, work harder and work smarter, but we’re close.”

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