Players tackle `system' question - LA Kings Insider

It’s well known that upon his arrival, Terry Murray put in a defense-first mindset. In his first training-camp practice, he had dots spray-painted on the ice, directly in front of the goal, and told players that was the area that needed to protect at all costs. So, that’s been the mindset for three years. It hasn’t changed, nor (fundamentally) has the system, but the results have. The Kings ranked 27th in goals per game in Murray’s first season, then went to ninth, then 25th, and now they’re 30th. So, after practice today, Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Murray took their swings at the unceasing “system’’ question.

KOPITAR: “Are we the most offensive (minded) team in the league? Probably not. Are we the most defensive team? I don’t know. Tampa is sitting back quite a bit. Minnesota is sitting back. Anaheim, last night, they were playing 1-4 (trap) right off the get-go. I guess that’s where the game is going, a little bit. It’s more conservative. Neutral-zone forecheck, that’s what it is. Everybody is pulling back. I guess the Devils played that just before the lockout, and everybody was getting on them about how everybody played the trap, and now it seems like everybody is doing it.’’

DOUGHTY: “I definitely think that we have more a defensive system, so they’re right on that part, but at the same time (coaches) are really pushing things on offense, and it’s really up to us. We’re all in the NHL for a reason, because we have the capability to make plays and do certain things. All of our offensive (minded) guys need to pick it up and find a way to create chances. I think we’ve done a lot better lately, but we still have a lot of room for improvement, and we’ve got to do that.’’

MURRAY: “Actually, we’re more aggressive on our forecheck this year than what we were last year. We’re really demanding our second support man to come with a lot more speed from the back of the net. We anticipated it, from what we saw at the end of the year last year, when a lot of teams started to go more defensive through the middle of the ice, at their own blue line. So we loosened up that second forechecker to get in faster, to help support and recover pucks. We’re getting our share of pucks in the offensive zone. The one thing we did a little bit better last night, and it’s starting to come, is we moved our feet, with possession of the puck, to create some time and create some space for passing lanes. That was better last night, and we’ve got to continue to push it.’’

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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

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

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


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.