Bill Ranford knows something about beating goalies, because he was a successful one in the NHL. Ranford, the Kings’ goalie coach, won two Stanley Cups and one Conn Smythe Trophy in 15 NHL seasons, and with the Kings he has overseen the development of Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier. Ranford has managed to maintain the sanity of his two goalies, as they play behind a Kings team that is last in the NHL in scoring. After practice today, Ranford said he doesn’t allow the lack of scoring to even be a topic of conversation with the goalies. On the other hand, he’s baffled by it. Ranford said he had never, in his playing career, experienced the type of offensive struggle that the Kings have displayed this season. Of course, Ranford played during a time when goals were more plentiful, in general, but still…
RANFORD: “I’ve never seen anything like this. I really haven’t. This is a good team. I’ve played on bad teams that have never even gone through anything like this. We had a few years in Edmonton when we were rebuilding, and we went through stretches where maybe we were shutout in back-to-back nights, something like that, but never like this. It’s mind-boggling. We’ve got so much talent in this (dressing) room, and it’s got to turn, because we’re working hard and the bounces have got to start going your way. We haven’t even had any go off a butt or go off a head or anything. That’s the sort of thing, when you go through a stretch like this, you just need one like that to go in, and we can’t even buy those right now.
“You try not to think about it, but the guys do, and the only way to deal with it is what we’ve done. We’ve pushed our shot total up. I think we’ve just got to do a better job of taking the goalie’s eyes away. I think if we do that, with our shot totals going up, the puck has got to start going in the net. The goalies are too good right now. Every team has got one, two good goalies, and the only way you can have a lot of success is to start taking the goalie’s eyes away and hitting the net. Those are areas that we’ve gotten better at, and now hopefully it will start to pay off.’’
Question: With a lack of scoring like this, do you have to talk to the goalies, make sure they’re not impacted by it mentally?
RANFORD: “We don’t even talk about it. Their job is to stop the puck. It doesn’t matter. They do their job. You control what you can control, and that’s stopping the puck. We haven’t even gone there. You talk about it as a coaching staff, that we’ve got to get more scoring and stuff, but when Terry was let go, I think that was the number-one thing that Johnny and Jamie stressed, is that our defensive structure stays in place. Then when Darryl took over, that’s the one thing that he said right off the bat, that we are not changing what we do defensively. So we don’t talk about it.’’