Brown, Murray talk line changes - LA Kings Insider

The Kings had gone five consecutive games with the exact same lines — at least at the start of the games — and had lost four of them, so it was hardly a surprise to see new combinations today. As Dustin Brown points out below, Terry Murray likes to keep “pairs” together and not change two-thirds of a line, and Murray mostly stayed consistent with that. Brown and Anze Kopitar stayed together, and picked up Wayne Simmonds. Ryan Smyth and Justin Williams stayed together, and picked up Michal Handzus. The fourth line stayed the same. The biggest change was on the third line, where Kyle Clifford stayed and is now with Jarret Stoll and Marco Sturm. Here’s what Brown said, after practice today, about the changes, followed by Murray’s explanation as to why he felt change was necessary…

BROWN: “Sometimes, combos get stale. Terry has always been about pairs, ever since he’s been here, so we’ve got Smytty and Willy still together. The only pair that’s been split up that’s really been together is Zeus and Simmer. It’s just a different look to try to get something going. Zeus, since he’s been here, and maybe since he’s been in the league, has been known as a checker, a third-line center. But his skill level is pretty high. When he gets down low, with those two players controlling the puck the way they do, and having a net presence, it could be a good combination. Then Stolly is perfectly capable of being a shutdown guy, if that’s the route they want to go. I think it’s just a matter of mixing things up and getting a new look and seeing how it works.”

MURRAY: “As I said to the players this morning, we’re at 39 games, with four games now that we have not won. It’s just time for a change. There’s been some very good games, some great team effort, some great line looks this year, but right now we need to get some attention back. I think we just got away from some of the details of the game. That, to me, is that emotional connection to the game for 60 minutes. We’re doing a great job for 40, 45 minutes. We’re outshooting teams. I’m looking at our scoring chances against, that we do every game, and we’ve got a wide margin on that one. The bottom line is winning games, and that’s why I’m changing up some things.

“Change is not just for change. There’s change for a reason. It is to get some other results, to put players in other positions, that you believe can do it. The other part is to get refocused at a very difficult time here. We’ve lost four games. We’ve come through the holidays. There’s a lot going on with young players, with probably family around. We’ve played more games, in a short period of time, than probably any other team in the league will play. That’s demanding, that’s hard. I don’t want to let anybody off the hook on this. This is part of being a pro hockey player. That’s the way it is, and you’ve got to have a process where you’re going to learn from it. I want to highlight the message that you’ve got to learn from what we’ve just gone through. I’m not happy with it, and there needs to be change whenever the coach isn’t happy. … We’re so close to breaking through, with our team play. I really like what has happened in the last couple games. I thought the San Jose game was going to be that one that would push us through. We were doing a lot of good things against Chicago, so it’s very encouraging.

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

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Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


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