Some things are easier to quantify with statistics than others. The theory that the Kings are more “aggressive’’ under Darryl Sutter than they were under Terry Murray is more subjective and a bit more difficult to prove with numbers. The one statistical area that would be a good indicator is first-period play, and the Kings have shown a big improvement in first-period goal differential, an indication that they’re regularly coming out of the gate with some purpose and intensity. Jim Fox floated the “more aggressive’’ theory to Anze Kopitar today, to gauge his reaction, and Kopitar’s answer was insightful.
KOPITAR: “Yeah, I think so. I think we’re way more aggressive than we were before. It shows in our game, too. With Terry, I used to play about 22 or 23 minutes a night. Sometimes, with Darryl, when I play 19 or 20 I’m probably more tired than I was with Terry. And I’m not saying any bad things about Terry. But we are more aggressive. We’re pursuing the puck a lot more. It’s a more high-intensity game. Not that Terry didn’t stress it, but it’s just at a different level.’’
Question: Does that manifest itself more at the start of a game? The idea of taking the game to the other team right away, instead of sitting back?
KOPIAR: “That’s what you always want to do. You want to jump on teams and put them on their heels for a little bit. In the last couple games, we’ve done that. Last night, we just didn’t start very good, but we bounced right back, which is a good thing. We controlled the game, even in the second and third periods, there wasn’t really anything going on except for that goal, but that could have gone the other way because it was a little bit of a broken play, too. Are we happy about the one point? Of course not, because we wanted to get the two points, but sometimes that is going to happen.’’