The Kings made a defensive change today as well. Kyle Quincey swapped spots with Sean O’Donnell, meaning Quincey will skate with Drew Doughty in a pairing that should get huge minutes. O’Donnell will skate with Matt Greene while Denis Gauthier stays with Peter Harrold. The reason, as Murray gets to below, is that O’Donnell’s play has fallen off, while Quincey and Doughty remain strong. O’Donnell was one of the early-season surprises, but in his last nine games, he hasn’t recorded a point and has a minus-5 rating. Here’s what Murray said about the swap…
Question: What were the thoughts behind the defensive changes?
MURRAY: “I think we’re using some players a whole lot out there. We’ve been talking about it as a coaching staff, starting four or five games ago, and I also talked to somebody else about it. It was a concern, that I was playing some players quite a few minutes, minutes that maybe they weren’t used to playing in past years. It can be very demanding out there, to dig in that deep night after night. So hopefully by doing this, it can give us an opportunity to look to Quincey, who has played very well for us, to play a little bit more in crucial situations with Doughty. Then maybe on the other side, we can back off on some players so they can feel a little bit of a regroup time. I don’t believe in taking good players out of the lineup to give them an opportunity to get some rest. I do believe that you keep going with them, and you can back off on minutes and it will make a bit of a difference. Over a short period of time, it will give them an opportunity to regroup.”
Question: Was Doughty part of that concern at all?
MURRAY: “No he wasn’t. He is not a concern for me at all. If he gets to be tired, I’ll just tell him to go home and go to bed. He’s (19) years old.”
Question: O’Donnell has been playing about four minutes more per game than he did last season. Was that a concern?
MURRAY: “Not early, but in the last half-dozen games I think there’s a concern on my side of it. It’s very demanding. He has played well but I just see a difference from the first 15 games, when he was outstanding. He still has a huge contribution, but his play was very, very effective, and there are some situations that have developed over the last five or six games. I know it’s just a matter of having to dig down too deep, night after night, to get the job done. So this is going to give him an opportunity to regroup.”