Murray’s view on line-combination changes
Last night’s game, arguably, marked the third time this season that Terry Murray made wholesale changes to the Kings’ lines. After the loss to Anaheim on Nov. 29, he split up the Smyth-Stoll-Williams line, moved Wayne Simmonds back to the third line and elevated Justin Williams. Then, after the loss to Chicago on Dec. 19, Murray (temporarily, it turns out) moved Dustin Brown back to right wing, reunited Smyth, Stoll and Williams and moved Brad Richardson to the first. Last night’s changes were perhaps the most significant of the season, and it’s tough to argue that they gave the Kings much life. The Kings totaled only 26 shots on goal and didn’t have many memorable scoring chances. After the game, Murray was asked an interesting, albeit somewhat loaded, question: Are wholesale line changes something of a “last resort” for a slumping team?
MURRAY: “I don’t think it’s a last resort. It’s something that happens a lot. Take a look at the Chicago Blackhawks, when they’re coming in to play. They’ve got guys all over the place, and they’re a Stanley Cup championship team. They do it almost every game. They’re playing left wings at center. Patrick Sharp is one player that is everywhere. Changing lines is sometimes a matter of getting some attention to everybody; to a certain game, when you want to get a particular matchup. In my case for changing lines here, yes, we lost four straight, we’re looking for something different to happen on some chemistry, to start to get some secondary scoring and it didn’t work (against Nashville) for sure.”