Murray, on goalies

Picking up from yesterday, here on Terry Murray’s thoughts on goaltending, particularly on whether he thinks it’s important to establish a No. 1 goalie in training camp and how he feels, in general, about playing young goalies…

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Question: The one thing that fans really want to see is an established goalie. Are you setting a goal to establish a No. 1 goalie in training camp or will you feel comfortable with guys sharing time?

MURRAY: You have a No. 1 goalie, but — and there’s a big `but’ there — you have to have two guys. You have to have two goalies. Because of the game today, because of the schedule and the travel and all the things that go along with a long season, you have to have two goalies who are going to play and play at a high level. Ideally you want one goalie who’s going to have a large share of the games, but there’s no doubt that your other goalie has to be able to come in and play at a very high level and do a great job for your team.

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Question: Is consistency big for you? I mean, they had seven goalies here last year…

MURRAY: Injuries were a part of that too.

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Question: Right, and they thought it was best to send Bernier back. But that in-and-out stuff, where it’s, `Now we’re going to this guy,” do you think that hurts a team? Are you comfortable going with what works at the moment or would you prefer to ride the same two guys for 82 games?

MURRAY: Well, you’d like to say that. You’d like to have two goalies who are going to play well and — touch wood — stay healthy all year and have those be your two goalies. But mind you, you have to play well in front of your goalies, as a team. You have to make a big commitment there. I’m talking about checking and I’m talking about cutting back on goals against. That isn’t just your two goalies. That’s your whole team buying in and putting great value in that. So there’s a huge commitment that is needed, from every player that is on your team, to go out and do the right thing on the checking side of things.

Then you’ve got to have a good read as to who your goalies are and what they are. I’ve been on teams where you get a little too sloppy at times and you’re leaving your goalies vulnerable and you’re really exposing them. Every goalie does get exposed and they have to come up with big saves, but time after time and game after game, if you start exposing your goalie, I don’t care who you’ve got, bad things are going to happen. So the commitment is, let’s do the right thing in front of our goalies, and they need to play well too, mind you. If we do that, we’re heading in the right direction.

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Question: Do you have any particular philosophy on playing young goalies? Would you tend to be cautious in that situation or do you want to see what they’ve got?

MURRAY: I’m going to go into training camp with that type of attitude, as I will with all positions. I’ll get an evaluation as to how they play, how they’re handling it and how they’re doing and, again, making the right decision for the team. It’s really important, on the goaltending side of things, that you’re doing the right thing for the player also. That is a very high-confidence, low-confidence position. You’ve got to do the right thing. That’s all I can say right now, without knowing anyone or having seen anyone. we have to make sure we’re going in with that attitude, as in, `Here’s our plan and here’s where we want to get to in this plan.’

When you leave Philadelphia, like I have, a team that was in the final four (of the playoffs) and you’re getting prepared for the start of the year, we want to go in with the attitude that we’re prepared to win all the hockey games. You have to believe that as a player, but we also know, as a young hockey club with a lot of young players, that we have a plan and we’re going to do the right thing for that plan.

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  • gumlegs

    Thanks Rich

    Great Stuff. The new mantra is I check for LA. Hope so. Maybe we can see the opposition trapped in its own zone this year (I’m partial to a vigorous fore check}. Now if AEG would start to write some checks, we can settle back and enjoy the rebuilding. All the grumbling aside, and I distrust AEG vehemently, each new season breeds hope. Go Kings.

  • anthony

    I agree with Murrays analogy on the goalie situation.

    But I really hope that Ersberg is given a legitimate shot at competing for the #1 goalie job. Clearly, he was the best goalie on the team last season.
    I haven’t felt comfortable with a King goalie since Felix the Cat.
    I hope Ersberg doesn’t get short changed or isn’t given a chance to prove himself just because Bernier has been appointed heir to the #1 job.
    May the better goalie win.

    I also believe that Babs’ time has run out with Kings.
    He gives up way too many rebounds and hasn’t shown the ability to steal a game away.
    With all these prospects in the system (Zatkoff, Quick, Rowat, Taylor), Babs seems expendable.
    Do it Deano.

  • Lou

    Anthony,

    I agree with you on this issue. Especially on Labarbara. I also do not want to see the number 1 handed to bernier. I want him to earn it. Based on that, i think Ersberg has a great shot at a lot of playing time on the kings this year.

    My opinion is that labarbara’s time on the kings is done. Besides this is the last year on his contract and he’s UFA after this season. Time to ship him now before he leaves for nothing. Here is an idea, trade him for a pick in the upcomeing draft. That’ll only give the kings 20 or so picks right?

  • anthony

    Well I’m ecstatic that I didn’t get bashed for once.
    Thanks Lou.

  • nykingfan

    Since I’m hoping to see as many young kids in the lineup this year as possible, if they trade Barbs I won’t be heartbroken.
    I hope Bernier shows the Kings in camp that he is ready to be THE GUY!… I can’t say anything negative about Ersberg because he played his ass off the end of last year, but I bet you wouldn’t find one hockey person who would take him over Bernier….The ideal situation would be Bernier #1 Ersberg #2

  • DellaNooch

    I never agree with you anthony, but I do this time, Ersberg was our best goalie last year, Bernier needs to earn it and Labarbara rebound control coupled with his inablity to lock the starter spot down has made him expendable. He would be a great back up on any team and his salary is dirt cheap. I’d love to get a pick for him

  • wavesinair

    ON WINNING:

    We want to go in with the attitude that we’re prepared to win all the hockey games.

    This is the first time this off-season Ive seen a focus on winning now, this season.

    However, But we also know, as a young hockey club, that we have a plan and we’re going to do the right thing for that plan.

    Im reading plan to mean long-term plan, so this is where I see a potential fatal flaw in DLs reign. The big idea, remember, is to change the culture of losing with the kings. This was the mantra from day one with DL. This should have already been done in 2+ years. This doesnt necessarily mean we should have won the cup by now, but it does mean that the whole organization should be well on its way in going in a winning direction. Clearly that isnt the case and, it seems to me, they are starting over. In this regard, DL has been a failure so far. Of course, you know where I stand; AEG has played a big part in this.

    ON CHECKING:

    I really love that hes emphasizing this and for that, Im starting to dig Terry. Regardless of wins or losses, if I never see another opposing player come into our zone uncontested, I will be very impressed. If I see us stand up their guy at the blue line consistently, I will be ecstatic. I was just talking to a friend yesterday about how many times last year it seems like the opposing team was on a power play even though it was 5 on 5! That has got to change.

    ON GOALTENDING:

    I do disagree on LaBarbara. If he has any desire to continue in the NHL, hell take full advantage of this opportunity. I think hell be on fire this training camp and I think hell be the starting goalie come game one. After that, I got nothing.

    I PLEDGE NOT TO READ OR RESPOND TO CRISTOBALS COMMENTS.
    (I encourage you to take the pledge.)

  • Maverick

    I agree with Anthony that Lab’s time with the Kings is setting. I think he has the opportunity and the skill set to be a decent backup goaltender but do not see him being a #1 for any team. Ersberg definitely deserves a shot at the #1 job, I think the kid can handle it and look forward to him possibly being between the pipes. I think Bernier would be best served in Manchester but who knows, maybe he can steal the show in camp and opening season… Will just have to wait and see. I expect Zatkoff and Quick to get good long looks too.

  • yesitscal

    If the Kings trade Jason, then you’ll have almost zero experience at all between the pipes. Ersberg was good in a stretch last year when the club was playing for nothing, so let’s see if he can really step up this year. Perhaps LaBarbera and Ersberg could split the duties. I don’t see the Kings making the playoffs this season, so it wouldn’t hurt. Besides, if you trade Jason, you’re going to have to find a team who wants to acquire a goalie who gives up too many rebounds and has never secured the starter’s job on the basis of merit. Other teams scouts are probably more aware of his deficiencies than a lot of us are.

  • nykingfan

    wavesinair said:
    ON WINNING:
    Im reading plan to mean long-term plan, so this is where I see a potential fatal flaw in DLs reign. The big idea, remember, is to change the culture of losing with the kings. This was the mantra from day one with DL. This should have already been done in 2+ years. This doesnt necessarily mean we should have won the cup by now, but it does mean that the whole organization should be well on its way in going in a winning direction. Clearly that isnt the case and, it seems to me, they are starting over. In this regard, DL has been a failure so far. Of course, you know where I stand; AEG has played a big part in this.

    I disagree
    In 2+ years he has built a foundation from which the club can be successful for years to come. He’s done this by scouting and drafting players and keeping them in Manchester or Juniors until they are truly ready to contribute.
    Until that time is here, he’s had to fill in spots on the roster with guys like Calder, Nagy, etc…these guys are not the future of the franchise.

    The culture will change when guys like Kopitar, Brown, Frolov are the leaders of the club and guys like Purcell, Boyle, Doughty, Bernier, etc are ready to compete on the NHL level. There’s a good chance that that time is now. I feel confident that the team will begin to turn it around this year. It may not be that we’ll have more wins or points, but that the team is able to complete every night with the top teams in the league..whether thats at home or on the road. If we see that we are competing each night, you’ll see the light getting very bright at the end of the tunnel.

  • wavesinair

    good point nykingfan. our developmental system has gone in the right direction for sure. no doubt. i’m really talking about how I see the ‘culture’ and in this regard, the same losing culture continued all through last year. it hasn’t changed… yet. I remember so much talk from Crawford about taking responsibility for winning before last year, and sure enough, it didn’t take and we went on those horrible losing streaks. that to me wasn’t a team with no talent, it was a self defeating losing culture. if everyone was on board last year and we had a truly ‘winning culture’ in place, we wouldn’t have finished 29th last year. looking back, i see it was crawford, hence, now we’re starting over with a new coach. in other words, DL blew it hiring crawford and basically wasted 2 years perpetuating the losing culture. hopefully you get the gist of what i’m saying.

  • JDM

    I get your gist waves. The Crawford hiring blew, and I blame nearly every loss last season on him. I’ve been screaming for his head since I saw the Kings play their first ultra lackluster game under him, and how he reacted and wasn’t able to do jack crap for the team. There were maybe a handful of games in the last two seasons where the team played with a consistent edge for the duration of a full game. Every period was a see-saw.

    If Murray can do one thing to make me happy, it’s to infuse a consistent level of EFFORT. That’s really all I ask for, and I agree with you waves, that even last year we had the talent to win many many more games, and avoid 8 game losing streak, if only the effort was always there, but it just wasn’t. I saw individuals trying and working their butts off every game, but never the team as a whole.

    Re: Labarbera –

    I have to agree with yestical a little, although I do concur with anthony that I wan to see Ersberg grab and keep the number one job for the season. Ideally I think Bernier has a very good camp, but that Labarbera is just as solid and Ersberg blows them both away. That way, Bernier can start in Manchester without being butt-hurt and bruised about it (he’s on record as saying [paraphrase] ‘If I think I earned the job out of camp and end up Manchester, I’ll be really pissed). I wouldn’t want him going through a similar experience as last year. I say, either he’s ready and no one can come near his level of play, then I’d start him, otherwise, he’s got to start in Manchester.

    So, going back to Labs, I say he’s a solid backup and that we could get one more useful year out of him. I wouldn’t mind at all letting him walk for nothing at the end of the season, so long as he holds down the fort, doesn’t crumble and destroy our fragile young D’s confidence (gathering some rebounds, though I hate how many he gives up, could be construed as a positive for our young D as something to work with and on), and is backup up Ersberg. Who needs the draft pick or b to c level prospect he’s worth on the trade market?

  • Shutout

    Here’s the deal with the Kings goaltenders. LaBarbara is a temporary measure to delay the development of young Kings goaltenders. How long does it take for a rookie or inexperienced goaltender to develop? Look at Lundquist on the Rangers or Fleury on the Penguins. It took them 3-4 years to become “all star quality” so again, we all have to be patient (where have we heard that before?). We will not see any Kings goaltenders in the all star game for a long time to come. The team will go with a young guy and ask us to wait a few years before the jury is out on his future. Sit back and wait Kings fans, because the team has no intention of picking up an established force between the pipes.