The positives

Marc Crawford was asked today about the Kings’ penalty-killing unit, which has killed all seven of opponents’ power-play chances over the last two games. Crawford said:

“We’ve done a good job. It starts with Jason. Jason has made good saves on the penalty kill. We’ve concentrated a lot more on it. I think we’re doing a better job on entries and we’re doing a better job on clears. Penalty killing is very much an experience-based skill. Handzus has done a good job for us there. O’Sullivan is getting more experience, as is Brown. We brought in Klemm, and he’s a guy who can help us out. We’ve used Preissing up front a little bit more, and those defensemen have a pretty good knowledge of the positioning and sticks and closing down. It’s hard work, the penalty kill, but it pays dividends. We’ve been better. We’ve won the special-teams battle in the last two (games). It helped us to win the game in San Jose and it put us in position to win the game yesterday. That’s the type of team that we have. With the talent base we have, we won’t overwhelm teams and have the type of depth in scoring that maybe you’ll see our team have as we continue to grow. And so special teams do become important. They put you in position to be pretty good.”

Crawford was also asked, in a general sense, about taking positives from the last two games. He said:

“We played two of the top teams in our division and we played them extremely well. We were in a position yesterday to get something out of the game. We didn’t get anything out of the game and obviously that’s not what you want, but if you want to look at the glass being half-full, we played a very spirited game. We played well and we were right there. It just shows us, as a coaching staff, and shows the players that if they grab that extra three or four percent, or if they make one more good-habit play, it might be the difference in the game going our way. The old adage is, `You have to get close before you get better.’ We’re close right now. The way to get better is to keep emphasizing work, keep emphasizing team and do the things that allow you to keep your work ethic high and your team focused at a high level.”

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  • Mike

    Rich,

    Whose ass do we have to kiss/kick to get you off the Lakers and onto the team that matters?!

    I meant, The Kings.

    Mike

  • Bryan

    I’m not sure about you guys, but I’m liking the tag-team duo of Matt and Rich. Keep up the good work guys!!!

  • fletch

    As always, thanks Rich and Matt!

  • Derek

    Holy crap. I have to agree with Mike. I just looked at the Lakers blog and practically every post has 0 comments I don’t think Lakers fans even know the site exists. What a waste of talent.

    Seriously, Rich who do we complain to to get you back to the Kings full time?

    I love having Matt here also, but seeing all your time and effort go unnoticed on the Lakers page hurts me.

    Derek

  • Dan H.

    Rich/Matt-

    You guys do great work and it’s very much appreciated. Before this blog we were relegated to the local fish wrap for the news which most of the time was a paragraph from the AP or something.

    It’s always fun to get to work and check out the blogs to find out some actual in depth news about your favorite local team that goes largely ignored in this market.

  • Marc Nathan

    Hey Rich,

    here’s an idea for you… if the Kings PR people go for it…

    how about an in depth interview with Jon Klemm to go through the Monarchs roster and how he sees these kids panning out? Obviously he’ll have to generalize and be overly positive, and we won’t be able to get anything negative out of him, but he’ll shed some positive insight into the future of our prospects/suspects.

    Just a thought.

  • jack handy

    blah blah blah

    as the cliche` goes – actions speak louder than words.

    put guys on the ice that are going to give us 100% every night for 60 minutes.

    until then i will not buy a ticket to a single game this season and will continue to watch from home and throw stuff at my television.

  • Tito Jackson

    Its winning games that counts but they did a great job on the PK against the Ducks. Pretty impressive.
    JlB is playing very well too.

  • KingFan4ever

    This is all well and good but… I am puzzled at the fact that these are such “basic” and “fundamental” routines that ANY player playing in the highest level would not have to be reminded of constantly.

    It’s one thing to remind and reinforce this to young players, but quite another when you talk about guys like Visnovsky and Blake…

    I do agree in the fact that PK is hard work and it takes a solid mindset to be consistent on it.

    So perhaps this is a clear indication that this 2007-2008 LA Kings team is a fractured bunch with a coach who is still searching for answers.

  • El Guapo

    I like the Klemm idea- it would be cool to get prospect updates from him; or coach Morris, Hextall, etc.

    In the meantime- Rich/Mike, do you guys think Crow has lost the ear of the team somewhat, or is the memo thing just an isolated incident?

  • El Guapo

    Also curious if either of you have any insight or opinions about Brian Burke’s ranting and upcoming GM’s meeting about “exorbitant” suspensions and including salary in trades?

  • OPTIMIST

    I’m looking forward to draft-lottery day. That would be the day that the Kings get knocked out of picking 1st overall. You know its gonna happen…

  • Bob Bobson

    Rich, Matt,

    I just read an article by Al Strachan on Foxsports.com which listed as Dean Lombardi being rumored to be the next GM fired (easy there, anthony) with Robitaille waiting in the wings to replace him. Have you heard anything about this ?

    Thanks for all your hard work.

  • Dan H.

    Lets be honest here. I think Lombardi has some good things going for the future. He’s had a few disaster signings already…well two glaring ones in Cloutier and McCauley.

    I think the future looks good and he did get us Jack Johnson. I think more of the problem is player motivation and that’s not the GM’s job. I think Dean has at least this season and next to make his mark. To fire him now is foolish and is going back to the Kings trends of the 90′s.

  • Dave N.

    To Bob B… Far be it for me to step on Rich/Matt’s toes but I can share some info on that.

    Al was on HNIC a couple weeks ago, talking about Brett Hull in Dallas and how several other retired players like Yzerman and Robitaille are working in their respective teams’ front offices. Now, I haven’t read the article but unless he flat out said that Dean is in trouble, I think he might be speaking in general terms, that eventually one day, Robitaille will succeed Lombardi as GM because he is being groomed for it now. I have seen nothing anywhere else to suggest that Dean is in trouble and Al Strachan is known to pull wild rumors out of thin air.

  • Zad

    Lombardi
    Crawford
    Even the players.

    They talk of vague and intangible concepts like confidence, toughness, grit, character, growing, that “extra three or four percent” (the recent nonsense from Crawford), good habits, focus, work ethic, comfort, giving yourself a chance to win, hard work, blah blah blah

    That tells us nothing.

    Let’s talk about how we can win more faceoffs.
    Let’s talk about the specific of what we must do on the forecheck
    Let’s talk about the forwards backchecking and how the defensemen can avoid collapsing back on the opposing team’s rush.
    Let’s talk hockey for goodness sake.

    I can’t even read this garbage anymore that DL, Crow and the players shovel. Is there a contest out there on how you can say absolutely nothing in the most amount of words possible? When did hockey players, coaches and management become bad politicians?

    The players cannot play a simple north to south game with a good first pass out of the defensive zone, they cannot get shots on net, they suck at stickhandling, puckhandling, how about skating, can I interest anyone in a discussion about why no person on this team with the exception of Johnson and Kopitar know how to deke, and these guys want to talk about confidence, working hard and that extra three or four percent.

    Can someone please get these guys to talk puck and how we can substantively improve our play?