There were questions addressed to the players and to Dean Lombardi and Darryl Sutter at the team’s media availability on Friday regarding the “attractiveness” of the Kings’ style of play in the first two rounds of the playoffs. I was puzzled by the questions, considering the general sense I received from the outside – and the “general sense” I’m operating with means opinions expressed on blogs that I read and on Twitter – was that the Kings recently concluded a pair of physically and mentally taxing series that were compelling and didn’t allow any margin for error. Los Angeles and St. Louis were separated by more than one goal for only 5:01 of the 381:26 total minutes played in the first round. 11 of the 13 playoff games the Kings have played were decided by one goal.
Judging from the responses, it seems as though the Kings disagreed – not that they were particularly concerned with the sexiness of the style of play in the first place.
Dustin Brown, on whether the team’s style of play is “stylistically” alluring:
“We could bore you all to death. If we keep on winning, I could care less what people think of our game. We found something that’s successful for us as a group, and sometimes people don’t think it’s exciting. It depends on your opinion. There’s a lot of people that thought our St. Louis series was really boring because we only scored X amount of goals. I think there’s things that make playoff hockey exciting, and it’s not always about goal scoring. You look last year to the Philly-Pitt series and everybody thought that was the greatest series ever. From a players’ standpoint, I don’t know when you give up 8 or 10 goals in a game [if] that’s very good hockey. But we found what makes us successful and we’re going to continue to do that.”
Darryl Sutter, on whether he cares about the opinion of some that the level of “attractiveness” of the team’s previous playoff series is not as high as other teams’ series:
“Well, I don’t really care what you think, if that has anything to do with it. Is that what they’re saying in Boston, too? I don’t really know what that means. I really don’t understand the question. Maybe we’re fourth or fifth in offense during the year, fourth or fifth in defense. That generally allows you to make the playoffs and generally allows you a chance to get to the series.”
Dean Lombardi, on the Kings’ style of playoff hockey:
“I can answer that a little from our perspective. It’s a bigger issue. The St. Louis series, I don’t know if that fits with your question, but by far generated as much, if not more, buzz in Los Angeles than the Stanley Cup Final. You had guys on ESPN radio who had never been to a hockey game, went to those games. The way they were talking about those players, the way they played so hard, my seven years in L.A., I never heard so many people outside the circle start talking about the excitement and how hard that series was. I don’t really understand the question either from having lived it in L.A. for the seven years. From hockey people to people outside, they were talking about how impressed how hard the players played. In terms of attractive hockey, I’ve never seen so many people turned on by the game itself.”
Joel Quenneville, on whether the “attractiveness” of the play from the team’s series against Detroit is possible to replicate in the series against Los Angeles:
“I don’t know. I watched that first-round series with St. Louis. Out of all the series, that probably was the most exciting and competitive to watch, first-round series. You might not think that’s pretty hockey, but it’s intense. I didn’t watch it. We expect a hard and fast series. I think I’m not really measuring the entertainment value, but I expect it will be entertaining.”