Purcell slipping down

Going back to the start of the season, we talked about the importance of Teddy Purcell, and how his ability to generate secondary scoring might be a big key to the Kings’ success. Well, Purcell has only two goals this season — and none in his last 11 games — and the Kings are doing well, so perhaps I overestimated that, but it would have been hard to anticipate that the Kings’ top line would produce as much as it has so far.

Still, there’s the matter of Purcell. A second-line player at the start, he is now down to the fourth line, with Raitis Ivanans and Brad Richardson. If you’re a player, that’s not the direction you want to be headed in, mostly because the next step is wearing a suit during games. Here’s what Terry Murray said about Purcell and how he can get things turned around…

MURRAY: “A player like Teddy is a skilled player, a very skilled player. We saw that in the early part of the season. He was doing a great job for us, 5-on-5 and on the power play. He’s still pretty effective on the power play. I think his confidence may be showing a little bit. There’s times in games that I’m seeing a player not making the same plays with the puck that he was showing us. But I don’t get after him right now. I did move him down to that line (Monday) night … so I go through a little bit of a message being sent by that.

“Then, if it builds from there, and doesn’t improve from that point, then we have to come in and take a look at what you’re doing, talk about it and review and have meetings, and hopefully there’s a response from that. I think he’s been a pro long enough now that he understands what it is and how I operate.

“I have some concern. It’s not a big concern, but I always have concern. I’m seeing, again, a skilled player that needs to play the game the right way. Execution, dig in, battle the way, dot-to-board play, and that was the part of the game that I really liked in what he brought in the early part of the season. When it starts to slip, then you have to react, and that’s maybe why you’re seeing a little bit less on the 5-on-5 minutes, and back on the fourth line, and that’s where he needs to understand what’s going on, and why, pick it back up and, when he gets the opportunity on the top lines, he needs to produce.”

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