A new first line?

With all the talk of players switching lines, there was a subtle but meaningful change after Saturday’s game. The line of Jarret Stoll, Alexander Frolov and Oscar Moller skated in purple jerseys, indicative of the Kings’ first line. Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and (fill in name of left winger) had skated in purple all season. Officially, it means nothing, but symbolically, it points to Terry Murray’s satisfaction with the Stoll line and, probably, some dissatisfaction with the Kopitar line. Here’s what Murray said…

Question: You had Stoll, Frolov and Moller skating in purple. Is that a statement on your part, as far as how well they’re playing?

MURRAY: “They played very well (Saturday) night. I thought with Stoll, that was maybe his best game of the year. He had a lot of good jump. He really was demanding a lot of himself, but (the Flames) end up scoring the two goals. It’s the stuff I talked about after the game, board play, coming up with pucks and making strong plays off the boards. And they were doing it throughout the game. So it was very good. The line seemed to click. Frolov was better last night than at any time this year, I felt, and they had a good feel for each other and worked hard for each other. Let’s do it again.”

Question: You mentioned, after Friday’s practice, the need to sit down with Stoll and address some things in his game. Did he respond the way you had hoped?

MURRAY: “Yes, he did. I had that meeting. I’ll call it a meeting, I guess, but all I’m asking, from a coaching side, is more. I need more. When I see good things that are happening, and what you can do, I need to see it on a consistent level, and (Saturday) night he stepped it up and really played very well.”

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  • Mark

    Why has he asked of more from every player except LaBarbera? He’s asked of more from Ersberg and from the last story he was staying after practice to take hundreds of shots. It’s too early in the season for the coach to get desperate. If you want more from your players that’s fine but to demand more individually and expect to have team chemistry is going to cause this team’s downfall. Each game there has been a player who excels but it’s the team breakdown that causes the ugly 1 goal losses. Pay attention to how each player flows on their line the next game and I can guarantee that you’ll see a lot mistakes like going offside frequently and players not controlling a pass because they weren’t expecting it from their new linemates and look at the defense and how smoothly they work together because they have mostly been put on the same lines throughout the season.

  • wavesinair

    One of the most enjoyable aspects of the game for me as a fan is to see guys like Moller, who really want it, go after it. It’s a great level of energy and determination that he has shown and proves the idea that no one’s job is safe. I love that he and Fro are getting rewarded for their stellar play. I’m not a big fan of Stoll yet, but obviously Murray sees something in him I don’t.

    As a result, this gives Kopi and Brown and wake up call. Will they answer it? I still don’t see the leadership from them that everyone else was so excited about. I know it takes time, but I just don’t see it.

  • Josh

    I can’t say I disagree with the new first line, but a second line of sully kopi and browny should be definite now. Murray is being moronic at this point. Harrold is not good enough to be playing a wing at all. Lines should be
    Fro-Stoll-Moller
    Sully-Kopi-Brown
    Boyle-Handzus-Simmonds
    Calder-Army-Richardson

  • cristobal

    Rich – are the defensemen pairs attached to forward lines with the colored jerseys as well?
    Is there any “responsibility” talk going on right now? Responsibility for the late goals is a hot topic here and I’m wondering if there has been any inter-player arguing or apologies. In other words, is there a communication about what is going wrong individually and collectively?

  • Marc Nathan

    Frolov was better last night than at any time this year

    Who was the idiot that played him exclusively with Handzus and Simmonds for NINE GAMES?

    Who thought it was IMPORTANT that Frolov be a “stopper?”

    Jesus… I thought this guy would be a breath of fresh air after breathing in the stale air of Marc Crawford for two years, and the even staler air of Andy Murray after he had completely lost control of the team, but this guy is a nut job. One minute he’s praising a guy, the next minute he’s making him wear a green jersey, then ten minutes later he has him wearing purple and then at the end of the day gives him a bus pass to New Hampshire.

    Stop the madness.

  • Not Impressed

    I think Stoll has already played on all 4 lines and Frolov and Moller on the 1st-3rd lines. All with different players, and we are only 10 games into the season. It seems like TM is graspping at straws.

  • Matt George

    This whole thing leaves a weird pit in my stomach.

    I gotta say I was real enthused as we all were with the first games of the season.

    The play as a team philosophy was strengthening and it looked like we had a good structure in place to build on.

    Now things are quite a bit different.

    Because of this new approach (old craw) the team feels fragmented. Desperate. Broken.

    This is depressing to say the least.

    .

  • jack handy

    this is already a much more enjoyable year than all of last year was for me. i like the ‘no quit’ in this group. i did not see that at all last year under MC.

    that said would i like to see lines stay together a little longer to help develop some chemistry? yes.

    however, i will give TM the benefit of the doubt when it comes to evaluating the players. in reality there are players starting here that wouldn’t have a shot of making the roster on the majority of NHL teams.

    as someone else pointed out earlier, i am more concerned with what i perceive to be a lack of leadership so far from the new guys.

    the bottom line is that we’re all here crying on a blog [thanks rich!] and not coaching in the NHL. a week ago some [not all] of us thought TM was the second coming. now he is being ripped to shreds because we’ve lost a few close ones [albeit we got our asses handed to us by the canucks 4-0]

    i just wish we had a goaltender that could steal a game for us once in a while… i think we would all feel better…. i know i would.

  • RB from Torrance

    I find it difficult to see how Brownie and Kopi can get any type of rhythm going. The 3rd man in their line changes every week. Despite how much we all love their individual talents, it’s a team sport where synergy matters. I’m hoping that the rotations will stop soon so that we can have some semblance of what we are building towards. A couple people have already said it… Looks like we are grasping at straws.

    It seems that the only two things Murray has come to a conclusion about are LaBarbera (puke!) and the Stoll-Moller-Frolov line.

    I’ve complained enough about LaBarbera. There’s no excuse for how bad he is. I bet that practically nobody comes up to his box at the Meet the Players party. We might as well call him Modry.

  • SAPPER1

    That’s it Murray has lost his mind if he dressing Harrold and moving him uop to forward and not having Richardson or Armstong or Calder in the line up. So I guess it is true he is trying to get the first pick in next years draft. A little early for that.

  • Saevel

    I just don’t get the philosophy. There doesn’t seem to be a coherency between what Murray says and what he does. He’s said early on that the team needs stability, and yet what he’s doing with the lines just screams the opposite. And in every interview I’ve read since he started his line-shuffling, the players have seemed uncomfortable with this.

    And if we’re rebuilding, shouldn’t we be playing Ersberg, a goalie with potential that impressed last year, instead of LaBarbera? Ersberg hasn’t played ONE GAME! Madness..

    And why the hell keep Harrold in NHL as a healthy scratch? Either send him to AHL, or play him and let him learn.

    And why the crap with O’Sullivan? Wouldn’t it be an idea to develop lines with good chemistry instead of moving people around all the time? Jeesh.. frustrating stuff this, for a fan. It just seems so illogical

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