Murray: O’Sullivan `not quite there’

And now, the rest of the story… Here’s what Terry Murray said today about the Patrick O’Sullivan situation…

Question: O’Sullivan has been in quite a few different roles since the start of the season. Is it a matter of finding where he fits, or is he not giving you what you need?

MURRAY: “He’s not quite there, with what I need from him. I think him missing training camp is a bit of the concern that I have. You miss all the exhibition games when you’re (supposed to be) battling, you’re competing, your getting your body prepared for the season and your mind prepared for the season. When you come back, after sitting out, you have a lot of adrenaline going and you do jump in and play pretty good, but reality does set in after a few games, and I think he’s just having a little bit of that lull time right now. I need to back off on what I’ve been asking of him and give him that extra work on practice and he will get back on top of things.”

Question: Is it anything in particular with his game?

MURRAY: “You know, it ends up just being a very general `digging in,’ and the highly competitive play that is required every night from a top player that gets a lot of minutes. There’s nothing intentional there, as far as his side of it. You just fall into that lull and sometimes you have to catch yourself. Some players can. He’s a young player that, I think, needs to have the attention brought to him by the coach, and that’s done through meetings and through minutes played.”

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  • Anonymous

    o’sullivan has arguably shown more heart on the team than any other player this year, probably on par with moller and doughty. his conditioning is fine. he is battling, and one of the few people who is standing up for his teammmates. and he’s “not quite there” ??? i say, based on the way he’s played IN GAMES (since i can’t see all of their practices) that his body and mind have been more in the games than most of his teammates, and DEFINITELY more than kopitar, for example.

  • Maverick

    I like Murray and agree with him here, but I disagree with his philosophy on line changes and obviously goaltending. But he is breaking up multiple lines every game… This is not preseason and we are passing the early season mark. He needs to let these lines cement for at least a string of games. Just because it fails one game doesn’t mean it needs a kick in the ass and a magic 8 ball to rejuvenate those players.

    What he is doing with the offensive lines he needs to do with goaltending, what he is doing with goaltending needs to be done with the offensive lines.

  • Quisp

    And there you have it. Makes sense.

  • cristobal

    Well, let him “dig in” on the top line with Kop and Brown for a while. There’s a little bit of a disconnect here because Coach Murray has no idea what it’s like to play in the NHL today, AND, no idea what it’s like to have the skill set O’Sullivan does.

    None of these skaters can be expected to have a fookin clue as to what’s next. Murray’s got the team mentally defeated and he’s playing head games DURING the games. Its pretty tough to “dig in” when the coach keeps filling in the foxhole.

  • Anonymous

    I am ECSTATIC that the only constant Terry Murray plays on this team is our franchise goalten… oh wait…

  • anthony

    TM was frustrated with Sully. Especially with his play. Last night, the first goal scored by Nystrom (a funny goal off his Skate), I’m sure TM blamed Sully for lack of defensive play. In the second period, he took a penalty and the Flames scored on the PP. I’m sure TM blamed him for that too.

    But the idiot, Murray, gave no credit to Sully for standing up for Peter Harrold after that late hit from Vandermeer. He was the first to stand up for Harrold, and Phanuef almost knocked Sully’s head off.
    Does the coach give any Kudos for that sort of play? NO WAY.

    TM is a terrible coach. And here’s why. Instead of looking to ways to better the team, he looks at mistakes of his players to put blame on. That’s why Sully was demoted to the 4th line. By blaming others for his faults, it takes any attention away from his incompetence.
    These are qualities of failure. TM is not a good coach. He’s waaaaay overated.
    TM has failed to get Kopi going.
    TM has failed to get Brown going.
    He benches Sully for no reason.
    He benches a good goalie in favor of a below average goalie. No, a lousy goalie. What slap in the face of Erberg.

    Marc Crawford was a better coach. At least he had no trouble getting Kopi, Brown, Frolov, Sully, Boyle, Ersberg, playing their top game.
    This idiot can’t. Do any of you guys truly believe that after 10 games Kopi is playing well. He hasn’t played anywhere near the level he played last season. Because this coach is showing signs of incompetence. And players see that. He also plays fovortism.

    Dumbo was an idiot for hiring him. Keep it up. Keep bringing people from the Philly org. Hexxy, Murphy, Calder, Handzus etc. Keep it up. Pay them millions for doing nothing but harm the team. In two years, you’re gone and a new GM and coach will take credit for the team you built. And Sully will be gone by then too.

  • Anonymous

    What bothers me is that Murray takes the time to explain this to Hammond but apparently not to O’Sullivan.

  • Steve-O

    Anthony, you took the words right out of my mouth. Kopitar isn’t the Kopitar of last season. These crazy line changes only screw up the teams chemistry. Thus far, POS is a plus 5 and he was on pace to be point per game player. No way he deserves a demotion. And TM’s handling of the goaltending situation makes me sick.

  • Anonymous

    TM has failed to get Kopi going.
    TM has failed to get Brown going.
    He benches Sully for no reason.

    Why should a coach have to get any of his players “going?”

    They get paid ” to get going.”

    And a demotion and time on the bench is done for good reason. A good coach simply plays it politically correct in the press when it comes to reasoning.

    O’Sullivan can show grit on one shift and then coast for the next 3 shifts. A good coach recognizes that and reacts accordingly.

  • rjc76

    Is it possible for you Anthony to just give your opinions about the way TM is coaching without the name calling. We all don’t like the record we have right now. There’s noone on this blog that doesn’t wish our record was the reverse of what it is right now.

    But come on man grow up. It seems every post you’re calling TM an idiot. Disagree with Coach Murray and what he’s doing all you want, that’s you’re right. But leave the name calling in the school yard. Make your points and leave it at that. Maybe everyone will take you more seriously.

  • cristobal

    Anonymous – What’s the point of having a coach then? Why not let the players coach themselves?

  • anthony

    Thank you Cristobal.
    Well said.

  • Old man

    As a business owner for 48 yrs i`ve learned to listen to my employees,you would be surprised how much you can learn from them.I think TM is trying alittle to hard to be boss I hope he doesn`t lose the players respect. This is a very good team , that can win right now, I`m tired of talking about the future.Lets give Eric a start Please!

  • Anonymous

    Some of you are so quick to jump and start crying. P O’Sullivan does need to understand that you are as good as your last game. Period. One good year is just that, ONE good year. Yes Patrick, you do have to prove yourself over and over. Maybe after some consistent year(S) and a few cups, if you want, you can phone in your permormances. For that same reasons you don’t get the big bucks after only one year. Believe me it is strange to see so many line changes but under the current circumstances, young team and all, why not?? embrace it, it will help youth, will make them realize attributes they didn’t even know they have. A mean, look at Moller the kid had linemates changes, played center, wing and keeps on going. Yeah I know, he will not complain for obvious reasons, however, do any of you see Moller complaining as he gets older. Don’t know about you but I don’t see it. Learn to battle, enjoy the game and play a few playoff rounds then maybe then ask or be frustrated

  • MarkE

    The line changes are ridiculous, if you want to send a message..talk to him or bench him, not musical lines, that doesn’t work. Especially with a young team. As far a goaltending, what the hell does he see in Labs? Labs is 51st in save percentage..YES, 51st are you kidding me. Its worse, the Kings are 15th in shots allowed, so Labs isn’t even facing allot of shots. Forget about the line jungling CHANGE you @#$%@ Goalie.

  • cristobal

    Cheers Anthony.
    Murray can put this all to bed now, just pick your players and stick with them for a while. Its what I’ve been supporting Labs for. Just leave things for a while and asses them when there is a track record. I know nobody agrees in the Labs case, but the double-standard is obvious when considered as a whole.
    The green “exile” jersey is a symbol of the flaw in this approach, IMO.

  • Cal Poly Pomona Kings fan

    well,
    Kopi and Brown need to start dumping the puck in, remember ALLISON, PALFFY, and DEADMARSH. One would dump the puck, deadmarsh (Brown) would hit anything near the puck, Allison (Kopi) would take over behind the net, and Palffy had the ability to back any d-man off weather he was standing still on the rush. So the point is we need a palffy (without the injuries, remember when laparrier hit him on the bench with a slap shot, that was funny, it was against colorado, in the good old playoff days)

    We knew going in that the team was going to suck, so why are you guys acting surprised. Kings are going for the number one draft pick this year, and maybe the next.

  • wavesinair

    Anonymous said: “What bothers me is that Murray takes the time to explain this to Hammond but apparently not to O’Sullivan.”

    Exactly.

    While Murray’s saying problems are dealt with “Through meetings by the coach.” Patio is saying, “I don’t really know what’s going on,” and “I don’t know the reason,” and “I don’t know if (missing camp) has anything to do with what’s going on or not.”

    This doesn’t make sense at all to an outsider. Rich, any insight or clarification on these two seemingly contradictory parts of the interviews?

  • Anonymous

    i don’t understand how Cammalleri is a selfish “Lord” for looking for more money and (supposedly) being discontented in the locker room, but when Sully holds out all through training camp and is discontented, the blame completely lies with Terry Murray.

    (for the record, Cammo VERY often was the first person to jump to a teammate’s aid when there was a late hit or a cheap shot, and i didn’t see ANY mention of that all year).

    not saying i agree with the demotion, but it’s a two-way street, and in general too many people here like to pick one person to criticize, whether it’s the player or the coach or the goalie. so: i think Murray’s being a little heavy-handed, but you can’t blame him for wanting more from a guy who did miss all of training camp.

    and here’s to hoping we see the opposite of Cammo’s performance from Sully; Cammo was on fire for ten games and dropped off. i think Sully is definitely capable of reaching the level he was beginning to attain last year, and i expect him to be back on the ifrst line within ten games.

  • Jargon

    A player has to prove himself every game. That is a good point. I completely agree, but if that is the case, what is Kopitar doing on the top line? If anything, I think that he is someone who fought to get to the top and is just coasting. He had two exciting years and just kind of plateaued. The line (stated earlier) of the Brown, Kopitar, Player X has not worked out. Ever think that the variable isn’t the problem?

    I feel for Patty O the most because of the rigmarole that he had to go through in years past.

    Patty O has a restraining order against his dad. An “off-game” led to physical and verbal abuse for O’Sullivan. He was supposed to be a top draft pick in 2003 but no one believed he could shake the emotional problems he had. He went from second round to Minnesota’s AHL to Edmonton then to L.A. in the 2006 Draft. He then went to Manchester where he battled to even get onto the Kings’ roster. When he did, he sat quietly and waited to prove himself. Who knows where he would be if it had not been for Cammy getting injured. I can’t imagine what it must be like. Finally feeling like he had proved himself after so long and then getting a reality punch to the face. Harsh.

  • Eric K

    wavesinair and others: i agree, if Patrick O’Sullivan really had no clue as to the reasons for this, then Terry Murray is not handling this the right way.

    for the record, i was the post at 5:22 PM.

  • Arron

    I have some startling news for the majority of you so I would like you to take a seat. Are we sitting yet? Anthony, we are waiting for you….Good here we go.

    When teams are not producing the way they are supposed to, coaches (take a deep breath here) juggle the lines.

    All of them do it so just relax. TM knows more about whats going on in the dressing room and on the ice more than all of us do. If he feels he needs to demote POS to the fourth line than thats what he needs to do. It is up to POS to look at this and say “okay if I want to be back on the top line what do I need to do” and then do it. Whining to Rich about not knowing what is going on isn’t going to help him or the team.

    Instead of screaming at TM and demanding his head or saying he is better than the coach we just let go or any other childish rants, how about we put the onus on the people who need to get the message…the players. If they want top line minutes then play the game worthy of top line minutes.

  • Jargon

    No one defended Cammalleri because he went to arbitration and then did nothing after 10 games. He made it pretty difficult to defend. Patty O is out there every night in the top percentile of contenders on the team. He is hauling a lot more than players that are getting paid much more than he.

    I am not talking about Handzus because I really like Handzus. I liked him last year and no matter how badly he does, I cannot be dissuaded from thinking he is a good guy for the team.

    Nice post Eric. I agree 100% with everything you said.

  • wavesinair

    Arron, TM isn’t juggling the lines much at all actually. As quisp pointed out, the ‘pairs’ are staying very consistent. Only the last one is new.

    Kopitar/Brown
    Stoll/Moller
    Handzus/Simmonds
    O’Sullivan/Boyle

    Do you think Kopitar is playing a lot of games worthy of top line minutes? Do you think Frolov is playing games worthy of 3rd line minutes? Do you think Stoll is playing games worthy of 2nd line minutes?

    I think TM should try juggling a lot more actually. Let’s see Handzus rewarded by playing on the top line. And Fro for that matter. Let’s have some fun with these young guys and stop expecting them to be a great team this year.

    It totally sucks to write the year off, but hey, that’s where we’re at, so go with it. There’s nothing you and I are going to do to change it. Let’s just hope they make it as fun as it can be for the fans who care about this team.

  • Arron

    Wavesinair, No I don’t think Kopitar is playing a lot of games worthy of 1st line minutes and maybe it is time to demote him to the second line? Problem with that is that most people consider him the 1st line center and putting him on the second line would probably cause most people to think that the wingers were promoted to the first line.

    Do I think Fro is playing games worthy of 3rd line minutes? Yes I do. According to TM the third line actually plays the second most minutes a game next to the first line. TM asked Fro to do a job and he has been doing that very well.

    Do I think Stoll is worthy of 2nd line minutes? Well considering he was demoted to the fourth line I don’t think TM does either.

  • cristobal

    Arron – What does a coach do if he’s already juggling the line and the team is not producing?

  • Arron

    Cristobal, He shakes things up by making one of the “star” players a healthy scratch.

  • Ryan

    I’m sorry, but what a CROCK! Murray’s comments should apply more to Kopitar and Brown than to OSullivan.

  • Anonymous

    in the past (early last year) sully had given the impression that he has felt entitled to minutes without really earning them. however, after showing mass chemistry with brown and kopi in the second half of last year, i would expect him to get a proper opportunity to audition this year…he got one game.

    meanwhile murray gives moulson the chance to prove over and over again that he doesn’t belong on the first line. as well as giving babs a permanent spot in the line-up. apparently having a good practice means more than producing in front of a paying audience. being the teachers pet alone shouldn’t get you top ice time, this isn’t ayso soccer.

    as far as the line juggling goes, it sure didn’t work for crow last year, why expect a different result this year? i know its almost too easy to blame the coach for a team’s lack of success, but among other things, murray has not been able to motivate this team. time to figure it out.

  • cristobal

    Fun with statistics:

    take a look at this page.
    what’s wrong with the picture?

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/boxscore;_ylt=AvEIikg1UivIhHOI4Oo3BVV7vLYF?gid=2008110222

    Detroit slips by Vancouver 3-2 and it’s all PLUS on the vancouver side, and all MINUS on Detroit’s.
    Zetterberg gets his 8th goal and 4th assist to help win the game but is minus-2 on the night.

    Arron – I’ve heard of and seen that done a few times, but with young guys on a team that was tied for last in the league last year, I don’t think it’s the right move. Despite the criticism from fans, Kopitar and Brown have been guilty only of trying too hard. When a coach comes in and says the team is going to get ugly goals and play a tight checking game, he can’t complain when the team can’t create scoring opportunities because he’s asking them not to focus on that. It’s not like a light switch where you just turn it on and off. If he’s got no confidence that these kids can play possession hockey why does he expect them to turn into that when the goals aren’t coming? Also, O’Sullivan has been getting moved around too much. It looks like Murray is fishing for combinations rather than trying to maximize one strength or another at particular times. He spoke of balanced lines 2 weeks ago but changed them all despite the great team effort we all saw against the SHarks, Ducks, and Blues. He gave O’Sullivan less than 60 minutes to even get back in a groove with the top line and played Harrold on the wing. Too much. Keep in mind, i’m saying all this but think O’Sullivan HAS played poorly (for him) over the last 3 games, AND I think Murray’s doing the right thing with Labarbara.

  • kb

    Rich, can u translate? What do you make of all this?

  • nykingfan

    Sully isn’t the 1st good player to get demoted or benched and he won’t be the last. I love the way Sully plays but over the last couple of games, he’s been fairly invisible. Maybe it’s because of the line changes, but still…I really haven’t noticed him much. That’s not the way he played last year.
    Sometimes players say they don’t know what’s going on because they don’t want to hear it. I’m sure TM has spoken to him about his play. To assume he hasn’t is completely ridiculous.

    While we’re on line juggling..In the beginning of the year when the lines were constant…did anyone see consistency on a nightly basis from the lines? I didn’t. Until TM finds the right combinations, he’s going to continue to juggle lines. It’s up to the players to get their acts together and give the coach a reason to keep lines together. Please don’t tell me it takes time to develop chemistry. Most times it happens quick.

    Anthony…that post was completely out of line. Once again you feel the need to call DL “dumbo”. He hasn’t put together the makings of a pretty good team? He hasn’t built the system to have good young players waiting in the wings to take over? Exactly what were you expecting from the Kings this year? Did you think they were going to win the cup?
    Crawford’s a better coach? You crucified the guy last year. He was the worst coach in the history of the game..or so you thought. Now he wasn’t so bad? You’re a walking contradiction.

  • Marty

    Murray, the only lull has been caused by your constant line shuffling. Sully has been about the best forward this season in effort and stat wise considering the players he has played with. Furthermore I would suggest that Browns and Kopies performance has been second rate except when O’Sullivan has played with them.More losses in order untill Murray smartens up,play your better players together and regulary and you might just win some games.

  • mike in Oregon

    This is another TM move that doesn’t seem warranted, and even if warranted doesn’t make much sense, especially in light of the fact that TM has been so consistent with LaBarbera while he continues producing terrible results. I remember last year, about game ten, the flavor of comments on this blog was decidedly negative and frustrated. I thought perhaps this year, with everyone sort of knowing we would suck, the emotional level of the comments would be reduced. But, this year’s attacks on TM are more warranted than those on Crawford, I think. We were all delightfully surprised this year when we saw that this team can win games. I put the lion’s share of the blame for losing solidly on TM’s decision to stick with LaBarbera, and two, to continue to experiment with lines that are proven commodities. One could argue that O’Sullivan has been one of, if not the best player on the team for the majority of these games. Also, Stoll was not rewarded for his productive play and also “demoted” to the fourth line. We all expect so much from Kopitar, but clearly he is struggling too. Maybe the TM system, does not build self confidence in the players. I can certainly see why it wouldn’t. Benching guys who don’t produce is one thing. But I think TM is making a critical mistake here in messing with the best players on the team in this way. Anyway, this year, knowing that this team can win, makes these moves very frustrating for us fans. Imagine what it must do to the players.

  • Marty

    C’mon Murray Sully has played only one fullgame with Kopi and Brown.Where is the common sense of a coach wanting to win?Murray could be on his way out quicker than anyone could of thought.

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