Notes and quotes from the locker room

Guess what was back tonight? That’s right, Marc Crawford’s favorite catch phrase — stay the course!

“We had a number of opportunities and didn’t get the job done and, you’re right, it’s a familiar refrain,” Crawford said. “But, at this time of year, all we can do is continue to keep persevering and continue to try to stay the course. One solace in all this hopefully is that guys learn to hate losing. There’s some dejected people in our room right now. I don’t think anybody’s quitting. I think there’s a lot of effort. What can you ask for except better excecution, and we’re trying to work on that.”

But that wasn’t all. We have a double stay the course!

“I hope our guys continue to be really sour about losses,” Crawford said. “I hope the one thing we need most — which is a win — comes our way and, when it does, you have to think that sort of confidence will spur us on and make these one-goal losses turn into victories. We’re very close now. We’re doing more things right than we are wrong, and we have to stay the course.”

Maybe he means stay the course to the first pick?

Here’s what Kopitar had to say …

“Weve got to find a way to win hockey games because its definitely not fun coming to the locker room after the game. Its getting old, the losing. The guys are frustrated and miserable.

“Weve got to improve this. Theres 20 guys in here. If we can get one percent more out of each guy, thats 20 percent better.

Neither Crawford nor Nagy seemed to think futher disciplinary action was needed against Craig Rivet for putting his stick up against Nagy’s throat.

Here are Crawford’s thoughts on yanking LaBarbera: “I felt we needed a change right there. We have to get more saves than we’re getting right now. We’ve been out-goaltended in a lot of games here lately.”

The eight-game losing streak is the worst by the Kings since they lost 11 to end the 2003-04 season.

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  • anthony

    I’m not even gonna waste any time commenting on Crawford’s incompetance. Its time to go after the manager.

    Fire Lombardi. Shame on this G.M. for not being able to solve this goaltending catastrophe we have on this team. I’d rather have one solid goalie than have three 50 goal scorers on a team.
    Just look at last years Cup finals. Ottawa’s Heatley 50 goals, Spezza & Alfredson 87 points each, these players were ghosts against J.S. Giguere and the Ducks defense.
    The Goalis position is the most important position on a hockey team. And how does our G.M. solve this problem. He brings in Cloutier and Aubin. Then Prays.
    I’m tired of being told that we’re rebuilding. Give us another 2-3 years. Wait until Bernier & Hickey develope. Well, what if Berneier and Hickey turn out to be another Jamie Storr & Aki Berg (God I hope they don’t). Then we’ll just be told to wait another 2-3 years.
    Damn it, we’ve been waiting 40 years. And enough is enough.
    Furthermore, all his free agent signings have sucked. Players like Blake, Handzus, McCauley, Stuart, Nagy, Thornton, Preissing, Calder Etc.. $25,500.000 have been wasted on these clowns. Not to mention Cloutier 3 Million and Lubo’s 5.5 million after next year.

    My goodness the G.M. job, must be one of the easiest jobs there is. Give me the G.M. position. Give me the $50.3 million salary cap. And I’ll give you a playoff team in one year and a stanley cup contender in three years.

    That’s it!! Wish all my fellow kings fans a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year.

  • we suck

    Stay the course…meaning 1st draft pick Stamkos????

  • Moondoggie

    Kinda sad when you get all excited watching LA score just one goal, just one, kinda like they really accomplished something.

  • Rest in Peace

    I’m with Anthony (hate to admit it though). Deam Lombardi is beginning to screw up this organization.

    Forgot to mention the hiring of Crawford as coach.

  • pr0cess

    So is it mobid to hope for more losses to see how far down the spiral we can go? Till some one snaps, why is it year after year we cant get solid int he net? I think Labs is good but i think you need solid D for a Good goalie, i mean wth was stuart doing out there? And like im not sure said blake was watching the goal post alot, i know staying in position but are D is just really sad, i just look away after the other team is in the zone for more then 1 min, cuase i know 1 of 2 things is going to happen. Goal or penalty. Lets see if we can break a new record as a team the longest lossing streak, just 3 more till we tie

  • 619KingsFan

    Anthony,
    I agree with you whole-heartedly. As a season ticket holder, you have a right to be and should be pissed off!!

    Matt,
    Nice job with the locker room analysis. Your insights about Crow’s comments provided a much needed dose of comic relief during this losing streak. I’m not saying let’s make this blog all sunshine and happiness like Carla Mueller (sic?) does over at hockeybuzz.com. Let’s call a spade a spade, and turn up the heat on Crow and Dean-O’s track records so far in LA.

    As for Anze: “Theres 20 guys in here. If we can get one percent more out of each guy, thats 20 percent better. Who knew that the young guy was looking for an out from playing for the Kings by studying for his CPA exam?

  • Nick

    What is Lombardi supposed to do about getting a goalie? It’s not like there’s a great goalie sitting in the free agent market. The best we could get is Curtis Joseph or Eddie Belfour at this point. Quite frankly…no thanks. He would likely be forced to give up too much to get a marginal upgrade in the trade market (gerber/emery etc). he didn’t bring in aubin to “solidify” anything. he brought him in as depth and that’s what he’s been. he gave labarbera a shot and for the most part it was working before he hurt his ribs, though he’s been very shaky since coming back. he never had a chance to grab bryzgalov on waivers as he never passed Phoenix, and still that solidifies nothing. It maybe improves the position a little bit.

    It’s been said that he took a shot at Vokoun but Florida out-bid him. Not much you can do there.

    Nagy, Stuart, and to a lesser extent Handzus have been disappointments (though Handzus’s is a 4 year deal and he’s been much better in the last 20 games than he was in the first 20 or however many games). Even when he was struggling offensively he was still a solid shutdown center. But Nagy and Stuart weren’t intended to be cornerstones of anything.

    Preissing has been a disappointment, but he’s been misused for the most part by Crawford. I think it’s mostly a lack of defensive depth (another thing that couldn’t be upgraded via the FA market unless you wanted Souray and his overrated game here). He’s forced to play with a shaky defensive defenseman (whether it be blake or lubo or stuart or modry. i don’t think he’s played with Jack yet) which doesn’t work for his game. On top of that, to start the year he didn’t seem to be getting a lot of PP time, but that could be perception over reality.

    He could’ve gone with Piskula and Harrold but I don’t think it’s a very good idea to go with 3 rookies on the backend, even with one as reliable and solid as Johnson. Especially if they’re forced to play with 3 players that are underachieving (lubo), old (blake), or just plain not that good (modry). their mistakes would be magnified if they were forced to play with the other 3 here.

    The secondary scoring is a concern. The last few days have been frustrating. Frolov finally gets healthy and then Brown misses a couple of games and now Cammy’s out. I’d love to see O’Sully stick with Kopi and Brown, then stick Frolov and Cammy with either Armstrong or Handzus (Handzus is my preference). The center leftover can go between Nagy and Calder.

    Of course that will never happen and he’ll stick O’Sullivan back with Cammy (bad idea imo, too similar in style to play with each other, especially if one is at center) and put Thornton back on the Kopitar line (by far his most inexplicable move of the year).

    Fun. Maybe a few more of these losses against rivals will get Crow fired.

  • http://hbshakes.blogspot.com Shakes

    Looks like we’re getting close to that point in the season when we re-focus on the Lakers instead of the Kings…

    …staying up until 1:30am to watch a loss kinda sucks after a while.

  • joe

    wow, you guys are hillarious.

    It would have been awesome if Nagy had just thrown up on the guy because it looked like he was about to. At least he took a crosscheck to the neck like a man and did something for this team aside from get out of frolovs way.

    but going after DL is ridiculous if he can get assets for Stuart Nagy Armstrong Blake Cammy at the trade deadline this team is gonna look even worse by march unless the young guys that hopefully get called up play awesome, stamkos or doughty would be amazing for this team and anthony if your worrying about bernier go to tsn.ca and watch him play in a game, he is flat out amazing.

    so hooray for losses and get visnovsky some more one timers already….

  • nykingfan

    Gee, another loss. What a surprise.
    The sad part is I was more interested in seeing how Bernier and Hickey did at the WJC than about last nights game. At least Bernier and Hickey look really good.
    That’s our future guys. And probably/hopefully Stamkos…unless Santa left a present for us in the name of Tavares. He’s not likely to win his fight to get in this years draft.

  • Dan H.

    Well there’s not much else to say than what’s been said.

    I’d like to see Nagy get a shot on the second line only because he’s a guy that’s more finesse and in order for him to succeed at all he needs guys around him that are scorers. Playing with Armstrong and Ivanans and the like only ensures that he fails.

    I’d like to see JMFJ get some more PP time since he gets about ZERO now.

    I’d like to see Armstrong get LESS PP time and he’s out there all the time.

    I think another two months of this you waive or trade (if you can) the “veterans” and let the kids come play and get experience together. At that point there won’t be any pressure to win so they can play and develop comfortably.

  • The Ex-Sportswriter

    It’s time to cut your losses and focus on the future. If you “grow” by losing, as Crawford himself has said, why not “grow” with all the young talent in the big leagues? Then next season, they will be second-year players on (hopefully) a much-improved and more-experienced hockey club. What do they benefit from spending a full year in the minors and dominating play there, when they could get a sniff of how things work in Los Angeles? Didn’t this already work for Kopitar, Brown, Frolov? Why wouldn’t it work for the current group? Trade Nagy, Preissing, Blake, Modry, Armstonrg, Thornton, Stuart, any of the old guys who don’t figure in plans for the future and get more prospects or draft picks. For that matter, trade LaBarbera and/or Aubin, too, and bring up Bernier, who is better right now than either one of them. If we’re going to suck the rest of the year, at least let us see the prospects play, so we have some hope that next season and beyond isn’t a mirage.

    Anybody agree or disagree?

  • NMKingsFan

    I don’t think the goaltending issue is so easy as just shopping around and plucking a goalie from some other team, the really good ones are few and far between. Not that a good goalie would make that much of a difference with this team. Look at Chicago landing Khabibulin a few years ago after he won the Cup with the Lightning, he was THE goalie back then, I still haven’t seen Chicago make the playoffs. It’s team defense that the Kings need to improve if they want to go anywhere and it’s not just the D that needs to be accountable, all the forwards need to get back and help out the D and goalie.
    If the Kings don’t get Stamkos, there are 3 stud defensemen just below him in the draft that would really help this club.

  • I HATE CRAWFORD REAL BAD

    Good thing we passed on Bryzgalov.

  • Anonymous

    I do not back losers. Los Angeles is famed for winners and if you do not prove to be a winner, kiss your fan base good bye. No wonder people are backing the Ducks. They know how to put together a winning combination.

    Brian Burke is a proven winner in this town. Dean Lombardi is a losing, “bush leauge” G.M. who does not care about putting a winning product. Maybe Luc should be the G.M and coach, because there are too many excuses these days from the coach on down.

  • vq

    Well, as soon as nagy’s gone he’ll likey be replaced by Purcell, and when Stuart is gone, Boyle will be brought up.

    This sort of stuff is calculated the day after band-aid, stopgap UFAs like Nagy and Stuart are resigned. I guess the question is, will he deal Modry? who has been pretty damn steady out there, and considering blake is almost certainly retiring and heading into Kings management, they are going to need to retain at least one vet just to retain four d-men. Vis, JJ, Preissing, and Modry? Piskula and Hickey will be battling it out for one spot….

  • vq

    Trading aubin? thats comical.

    he signed a 1 year league min deal and is terrible. Pretty sure youll see Esche leave russia or Cujo sign a FA deal before you see anyone trade for Aubin. Or Labs for that matter.

  • CBGB

    I hope the Kings start to play well over the next month – it means our players will have more value and a 2nd round pick is better than a 3rd round pick

    As long as a crappy, last place team sells out Staples center, why should mgmt care?

    I said this after the Colorado game and why I have stopped going or watching – this team has NO HEART.

  • Gary

    Stay the course! Bernier, Stamkos and Tavares in 09!

  • John Roy Morgan

    I’m going to play devil’s advocate. You all say Trade Nagy, Preissing, Blake, Modry, Armstrong, Thornton, and Stuart. You honestly think another team would take these guys in a trade, and for what?

    You all say get rid of Crawford, OK with whom? Last time we had an interim coach, that was a disaster.

    You say get rid of Lombardi. OK with whom, other than “Anthony” Who is out there with a proven track record?

    A lot say bring up our younger kids right now, and what, feed them to the adults of the HNL?

    Seems right now we aren’t in an position to trade or get rid of anyone. Sad part is, this group of guys, (I can’t call them a team) don’t know or have forgotten how to play as a team.

    Seems a few players remember one of Coach Andy Murray’s saying about playing the best you can because your are individual commodities, meaning play the best you can for yourself because someone is always watching, who might be interested in you. They only guys who play that way are guys we would never trade.

    I don’t have an answer, I think in the end no one has.

    The last nail in this coffin would be to find out that the ownership of this club doesn’t give a Sh@T either.

  • Tito Jackson

    I wish Kopitar was tougher.

  • Anonymous

    “I do not back losers”- go jump on the wings bandwagon then. Loser.

  • Dave K.

    A few comments on last night’s game:

    1) When Nagy got decked in the corner by Joe Thornton (I think it was Thornton — this happened before the incident with Craig Rivet) and was down on the ice for a minute before getting up, none of his teammtes stood up for him. Somebody — Armstrong or anybody else — should’ve gone after Thornton right there on the spot or later in the game. The lack of a physical response was disappointing (but not at all surprising).

    2) The only member of the Kings’ organization who showed any passion or intensity last night was Bailey (the mascot).

    3) When Jonathan Cheechoo was whistled for a penalty, he took a seat in the penalty box and started eating a hot dog. It was shown on the scoreboard. He was smiling for the camera as he was munching away. Hilarious moment, but is this some sort of gimmick that the Kings have dreamed up??

  • philbert

    To be perfectly honest, I’d rather have the Kings really suck and get the #1 draft pick instead of suck and get the #4,5, or 6 draft pick. We basically have no chance of making the playoffs, so we should suck bad enough to get the #1 overall pick. We’re in the lead by 6 points over the Caps!! Whoo hoo!!

  • anthony

    Can any of you believe that there’s only one player on this team that has a Plus rating.
    Scott Thonton, of all people, is a Plus 1.
    And that’s it.
    Every other player, including Modry, is in the Minus category or even at a zero.
    Led by, of course Lubo Minus -15 and Dumbardi’s key acquisition – Handzus at Minus -14.

  • nykingfan

    Ex Sportswriter

    Can Bernier be recalled after the WJC, or does he have to remain at Lewiston for the rest of the year?
    I just want to see the kids get brought up during the 2nd half and hopefully see some progress from them as they mature. It’s the only way we’ll get better, or at least make the games watchable.

  • Rich Hammond

    As I understand it, Bernier can be called back at any time. The “nine-game clock” on his contract would pick up where it left off when they sent him to Lewiston.

  • spiker97

    Too bad the Kings don’t go after someone like Ovechkin. He is unhappy in Washington, his contract is up and although he would be expensive, he would keep people in the seats and also be someone like Kopitar that you could build around.

    Just a thought. He would seem to fit in well with what is available to the Kings right now. He would be expensive, but worth the price.

    Also – the more the current kids play, the better they will be in the future. That’s not far away. They need to play. A lot. Keep that thought in mind next time you say fire Lombardi.

  • Hec27

    Rich,
    Is there any way you can get an interview with Dean Lombardi? I’m extremely interested in hearing what he has to say about the teams current situation.

  • Anonymous

    Rich, isn’t it also correct that the Kings must WIN THE NHL DRAFT LOTTERY before they are awarded the No. 1 Pick in the NHL Draft? It seems like a lot of people who read this blog assume the worst record in the league will earn the Kings the No. 1 pick. But that isn’t a done deal if you finish last. Correct?

  • The Ex-Sportswriter

    Rich, isn’t it also correct that the No. 1 pick in the draft is NOT guaranteed to the Kings if they finish with the worst record? They still have to win the NHL Draft Lottery, correct? I know the lottery is weighted so the worst team has the best odds of winning the No. 1 pick, but the worst team does not always WIN the No. 1 pick in the lottery. It happens in the NHL and the NBA lottery almost every year, it seems.

  • bk8

    Goaltending is still the major issue with this team.
    DL said he took a shot at Vokoun (needed to give up a number 1) and previously Luongo. IMO the Florida and Vancouver rosters on paper are not that much better than this Kings team. However both teams have goaltenders that steal games for their respective clubs. DL should have paid almost any price for an elite goalie, a void he has yet to fill.

  • Mr. Reality

    Nothing that has happened so far this season should be a surprise.

    All the people calling for Dean Lombardi’s head will be praising him in two years when we’ve got Stamkos, Kopitar, Bernier, Johnson, Hickey, Frolov and Brown running the NHL.

    I’m no fan of Crawford’s constant line mixing, but I’m also objective enough to recognize that he simply hasn’t got the talent that other teams have to work with.

    Let’s give Lombardi a little more than 1 1/2 seasons to do his job before we start calling for his head.

  • Mark

    It won’t matter how many great goalies we pick up when everyone on defense is 2 steps behind the guy with the puck. How many times did San Jose do passing drills against us for 2-3 minutes? We need to stop playing stand still defense and just start hitting people who have the puck. Oh yeah FIRE CRAWFORD.

  • Rich Hammond

    Ex-SW…you’re correct about the lottery. Last year the Kings finished with the third-worst record but got the fourth pick. It’s a weighted system, much like the NBA draft lottery.

    I’ll see what I can do about getting a Lombardi interview, but the team is hitting the road tomorrow so it might take a few days.

  • Anonymous

    when does DL have the “Breakfast with the GM.” He and his leadership are afraid to be confronted because their only response it, “We need to play harder” or we need to “stay the course.” Great cop out lines.

    Years of season season seats and have not seen a playoff game yet.

  • nykingfan

    Rich,
    If they recall Bernier, would that would put him one year closer to restricted F/A?
    If that’s the case, at this point of the season, it doesn’t seem to make sense.
    I’m not sure how that worked last year with JJ when he got called up at the end of the year.

  • Rich Hammond

    If Bernier ends up breaking that 10-game plateau, at any point this season, it does put him a year closer to being a RFA. As I understand it, it doesn’t matter when, or how many times, a player in that situation gets called up.

  • The Ex-Sportswriter

    I think that Bernier is better served playing a year in the NHL than wasting a season in the minors. If that makes him closer to being an RFA, so be it. Pay him what it’s worth. What if he stays in the minors all year and gets hurt? Is that worth the risk? Anything can happen so why not bring up the best goalie in the Kings system and let him get acclimated to life in the NHL, like what has happened with Kopitar, Brown, Cammy, Frolov, etc. – those guys’ careers did not regress or take longer to develop because of less time in the minors. C’mon now, Bernier is supposed to be THE STUD goalie in the minors and is starting in the WJC – why make him spend time in Manchester when it’s not going to help him or the Kings?

    Bring the young guys up (Boyle, Harrold, etc.) and let them play. They couldn’t do any worse than some of the stiffs that are still putting on these Kings uniforms every night in L.A.!!!!

  • Hec27

    Bernier isn’t with Manchester. He’s still in the Junior League.

  • nykingfan

    I would also think he would be better served by spending the year in Juniors and at the end of the season calling him up to Manchester for the playoffs. That would be good experience for him as well.
    I understand that $ shouldn’t matter as it relates to Bernier, but in the cap-era it does. When you have to start paying all of your top young players big contracts around the same time, it means there’s a lot less to spend to fill around them or possibly losing them.
    That’s why it’s so important to keep the pipeline of young talent flowing though the system.

  • John

    Just what cynical Kings fan need, a cynical writer. Nice job Matt