O’Sullivan “frustrated” with role

The Patrick O’Sullivan saga has been interesting to follow, and impossible to ignore after last night, when he got dropped to the fourth line for a major part of the game. Today, O’Sullivan again skated on the fourth line, this time alongside Brian Boyle and Brad Richardson, and after practice O’Sullivan discussed his frustration. The nice thing about blogging is that you can read everything O’Sullivan said, in context, so give it a read. A bit later, I’ll have Terry Murray’s thoughts on the situation. Not surprisingly, they’re a bit different. Here’s O’Sullivan…

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Question: It looked like you were on another new line today. How are you feeling about things these days?

O’SULLIVAN: “I’m pretty frustrated. I don’t really know what’s going on. It seems like our lines change every day. It’s pretty frustrating. I don’t know the reason. I’ve been through a lot in two years, trying to play at this level. I thought that last year I did a lot to establish myself as a player in this league and someone that’s able to play at a high level in this league, but it seems that with the new coach I have, I guess I need to prove myself all over again. That’s frustrating, but then again, I wasn’t here for camp, so I don’t know if that has anything to do with what’s going on or not.”

Question: But you’re feeling fine, physically?

O’SULLIVAN: “Yeah, it has nothing to do with how I feel physically. I feel better than I ever have before. Obviously there’s something, but I don’t know what it is.”

Question: I hear guys say that it matters less who they play with and it matters more that they just have consistent linemates. Is that a fair statement?

O’SULLIVAN: “Absolutely. It’s easy to say as a player, I guess, because you want something that’s going to be consistent and you want to be able to get used to guys, especially when there are a lot of new players. It’s tough when it’s changing all the time, but at the end of the day, those are decisions made by the coach. He’s got the final say and we do what he says. I don’t think anyone here doesn’t believe in what we’re trying to do, so as a player you just shut your mouth and you play, but it is frustrating.”

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  • wavesinair

    This seems like some pretty serious stuff. He says he should shut his mouth and play…as he is opening his mouth to the media and revealing locker room only strife. Seemingly not a smart move, but I’m not there so I don’t know. Gonna be a looooong year.

  • Moondoggie

    I hear Sully’s frustration and I honestly can’t blame him. You develop a repoir with certain players and it becomes easier to play as you know your linemates moves. Even at 3-6, I wouldn’t be making any knee jerk moves except at goalie. We know that Lababs isn’t a No. 1 NHL goalie. I think the team needs a shot in the arm with new blood in goal. Granted, that hasn’t been the teams problem, team defense but scoring. However, I do feel the team would have more punch up front if they felt they could take more chances in the offensive zone, rather than having to worry about backchecking in the neutral or defensive zone due to weak goaltending. Just a thought but mentally, knowing you have a goalie who isn’t going to let in soft goals affords your forwards to be more open, more freewheeling, more creative with their playmaking. That’s what this team has, playmakers but they have to develop those skills with consistant players they are familar with.

  • ReggieMoto

    “I’ve been through a lot in two years, trying to play at this level. I thought that last year I did a lot to establish myself as a player in this league and someone that’s able to play at a high level in this league, but it seems that with the new coach I have, I guess I need to prove myself all over again.”

    Um, sorry, but last year was just that…last year. This year is this year. There should always be competitive pressure among teammates to play on the top line. If POS, Kopitar and Brown can’t get it done, maybe others can. It’s up to TM to do whatever he can or has to do to find the combinations that work.

    It also sounds to me like POS expected to be skating on the first line without having to earn the first line. Too bad you have to prove yourself to your new coach, Pat. Suck it up and do it.

  • Da BLMP

    Someone needs to let O’Sullivan know he needs to prove himself every single night new coach or not. That’s the problem with some athletes. They think because they’ve done well in the past they don’t have to work as hard.

  • Anonymous

    You can start to tell that Terry Murray is old school, maybe too much so for these guys and maybe the new NHL. He values tough play over skill too much (Ivanans with 2nd line minutes at critical 3rd period junctures last night), motivating players by constantly switching lines (wow, sounds like a certain Crawford we all hated), and sticking with a “#1″ goalie because all successful teams have a clear-cut #1, only problem being that WE DON’T…

    Honestly, I think he’s a good coach. I think his tactics would have been effective in the slower old NHL, but it’s really starting to look like it won’t work here.

  • Maverick

    I agree that Sully sounds a little whiny here and he needs to be proving himself all the time. He is in no way an established elite NHL player like Heatly or something. But you also have to agree with him here. TM needs to keep the lines together for multiple games. A lot of these players are playing with new linemates every single freakin night… How are they expected to develop chemistry and timing when it is always someone new? They need to keep the lines together for at least a string of 5 games and let them cement a little. Why do coaches go line crazy when they get to LA?

  • Anonymous

    O’Sullivan was leading the team in goals and plus/minus while receiving high accolades from the coaching staff when he was playing with Stoll and Moller. He was earning his PT and $$$. He didn’t ask for a change to play with Kopi and Brown. You are misreading his quotes if you think he is complaining.

  • cristobal

    October 22, 2008 8:04 PM

    I told you so.

  • Winsomemore

    Sully has good points. But, he does have to prove himself every night. And, yes, his not being at training camp is probably the major reason he’s being put through this crap.

    It’s not as if all the players don’t know that Coach has the final say. They do. But this isn’t 1978. It’s 2008 and TM should take a good look at his players and put them in situations where they excel, not stuggle and fail which is excatly what he is doing. Wise up Coach!

  • Vicarious

    Asking quite a lot from the young man for the staff to a) forget how well he played–as he was one of our best forwards for the 1st few games; b) require he adjust on the fly to new linemates; and c) blame him–not the staff–when things do not immediately jell. Bizarre. What more do they want from Patio? Maybe they could tell him? Oh well, we expected a long season–at least I did. Hope they do not ruin this excellent young man.

  • Quisp

    Cristobal –

    Maybe you should just quote whatever it is you’re saying “I told you so” about, or link to it. Nobody wants to pour through old posts to find the comment you made at 8:04 PM on the 22nd of October.

    I think many people are over-analyzing the line changes. Lines changes happen all the time on every team, and when a team is losing they happen more frequently than not.

    I wouldn’t over-parse what POS is saying here. He’s frustrated. He should be frustrated. The team just lost its fourth game in a row. He’s played well most of the season, but maybe not as consistently as he or anyone would like. There is certainly something wrong with the Kopitar/Brown/x line, no matter who the x is. They haven’t performed up to their own standards. Whether this is because they haven’t been allowed to play with POS every shift, because there’s no chemistry with Calder/Moulson/etc., whether Brown’s C is messing with his focus, or Kopitar’s contract is messing with his, it doesn’t really matter, does it? It has to be addressed. There are three ways to do it:

    (1) put POS on that line and leave them alone.
    (2) find someone else to play LW on that line.
    (3) break up Brown and Kopitar.

    Personally, I would go with option #1. Murray is trying other options, mostly option #2.

    It sounds to me like there was something Murray didn’t like in POS’s game last night. I didn’t see the game, so I can’t begin to guess what that would be, except to say that there’s probably something Murray wants POS to do that he’s not doing. Maybe he’ll do it playing with Boyle.

  • cristobal

    Quisp – I thought the date would create the link to the comment. Sorry, here it is.

    - “I’m in favor of sticking with the lineup until its proven that certain players will continue to underperform. One mistake and you’re wearing a different jersey than the rest of the team? Maybe it’ll work, but I wonder if the “team” concept is beginning to fracture a bit. Shouldn’t Murray be looking at the scratched players with the attitude that, “in case of injury I have this guy ready to step right in?” And if Moulson wasn’t performing on Mon. night, why was he on the top line ALL night?

    Its an outsiders view so there is no way I can say Murray is wrong, but I disagree with punishment-motivation right now. The Kings have never looked like they gave up on a game. But then again, Murray may have a deal with certain players where they know the consequences of making an error. I don’t think you send a good message to the team when you pull Jason and make him sit through the 3rd alone there at the end of the bench. The team played well in the 3rd, giving up only 2 shots, but they still lost. What good did it do?”

  • Anonymous

    In EVERY sport, when a new coach comes in you have to prove yourself over again. Get used to is Sully and shut your pie hole!

  • Nick

    Hopefully this doesn’t go on the whole season. Changing lines every game has to be pretty rough on the players. I think Sully has been one of the best and hardest working king’s this year.

    I’m not going to put TM in the dog house yet, but i hope he gets this team together soon.

  • Anonymous

    He needs to just shut up and play on whatever line and whatever role the coach puts him in.

    It was his choice to miss camp and now it is his choice to whine about his role.

    Yet another selfish, baby “professional” athlete.

    It has been a long time since we had a coach here who preaches accountability and actually expects it from his team 100% of the time.

    It’s about time.

  • simonsez

    Murray is supposed to be a “teacher.” Any good teacher knows that punishments & rewards (i.e. the line changes) only work if you explain to the student what he’s being punished or rewarded for.

    If he really dropped O’Sullivan without telling him why, and on top of that then explained it to Hammond, then he’s an idiot.

  • Jargon

    There is a lot of heat going in the direction of Patty O for simply saying that he is “frustrated.” I don’t blame him. If he didn’t say it, I am sure that plenty of fans would be asking why he is playing on the 4th line. I don’t see anything wrong with what he said. He didn’t call Terry Murray anything obscene or belittling, he didn’t even use his name or point to him in specific; more of the general area of Terry Murray’s call.

    I think that if Patty O had not missed training camp, we would be in the same situation, but the title would read something like: Kopitar “frustrated with role. I don’t want to jump the gun, but that is one flame that has not been burning all too brightly this season. I would venture to say that O’Sullivan has shown better game than Kopi. The only difference? Kopitar’s mass contribution in preseason. Preseason is all fine and dandy but in the end, it’s the regular season that we need to focus on; it’s where we are and it’s where the points are coming from. I’m going to have to back Patty O on this one.

  • Anonymous

    It is FRUSTRATING the constant line shuffling as a fan. I can’t imagine how upsetting it must be for a pro player.

    Yeah, yeah, they are millionaires…blah blah. It goes beyond that. Just because he’s making top dollar doesn’t mean he isn’t going to be frustrated when the people in charge make like more difficult for him (it’s a natural human reaction).

    I was really hoping that the line shuffling would be over with the departure of Crawford. But, IT’S GOTTEN WORSE!

    Neither Larry Robinson nor Andy Murray mixed up the lines in ALL THEIR SEASONS as Kings’ coach than EITHER Crawford or T.Murray have.

    I’m with O’Sullivan ALL THE WAY on this one.

  • Brian

    Oh God, please don’t be another Camy!

  • Marty

    Put Sully back with Kopi and Brown and stop messing with the top 2 lines. Sully has been one of the better forwards this season.I would suggest a word in Kopies and Browns’ ear would be due.Murray needs to stop playing musdical chairs with the lines if he ever wants the Kings to get out of this early season funk.

  • ziggy33

    Lets be honest Moulson is a nice 4th line player, not a top line scorer. Put O’Sullivan or Frolov on the top line. Cut Ivanans minutes please!!!

  • Chirs Bond

    I would like to see Brown Kopi and Boyle, & Fro,POS-X
    it will work…..Boyle is the key here, sure you can all talk a crap and say I am wrong but Boyle with the right crew you will see….

  • louise

    I’m Frustrated!!!I can’t imagine what level of frustration O’Sullivan is feeling. Is this revenge, WTF? If all the players have to prove themselves then maybe Kopitar and Brown should be moved around too, nite after nite since they haven’t done much either. Judging by the games it looks like Frolov and Handzus should be the ones being rewarded. This is desparation hockey by the coach, he is maybe in over his head? Try another GOALIE!!! That’s the only position he hasn’t tinkered with!

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