`Considerable improvement’ from Purcell

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Teddy Purcell has one goal and two assists in his six games since being recalled from Manchester, and all three points have been in his last three games. Purcell is now skating on the top line, with Alexander Frolov and Anze Kopitar, and today, Terry Murray talked about Purcell’s development…

Question: What have you seen from Teddy Purcell? He has played a handful of games now and it looks like he’s in a top-six (forward) situation…

MURRAY: “And that’s where he needs to play, in order to give him a fair look and see how things come together for him. The M.O. that he comes with, as we all know, is that he’s an offensive player, a goal scorer, a creative player. He’s out on the power play and we’re looking for him to be able to use his skills to the best of his ability to help us win games. It’s OK. He’s in there, he’s working hard, he’s trying to do all the right stuff on all sides of the puck. You’re seeing him in there quickly on the forecheck and working hard along the boards, trying to get the puck back whenever it is loose. He’s making a good impression. There has been considerable improvement, I believe, from the time that I first saw him, going back to training camp. He’s a young player who is making strides.”

Question: It seems like this is an opportunity, with (Patrick O’Sullivan) gone. He was a top-six, and now Oscar is back too…

MURRAY: “You’re right. (Purcell’s) other looks were, `OK, if he grabs this ball in these two games, then great,’ but I always seemed to slide him to another position. He ended up being a fourth-line center iceman this year. So this clearly is a critical time of the year, where the push is on still, and it’s a great opportunity for him to really step up and show us that he’s ready to make the jump and be a player in the NHL. He will stay in our top six. I’m a big believer that that’s where a player who has that kind of ability need to play in order to show us what he can do.”

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  • Anonymous

    This is the same guy you did the other interviews with, right, Rich?

  • KingRu

    Of Course Murray would say this. He has to justify him pushing Sully out the door

  • Telos

    A little contradictory to his actions of the past, but at the same time I acknowledge that the Kings have more than 6 young skilled players to tryout in the top spots and far fewer positions. Hopefully he continues this mode of thinking and also continues to play Purcell and Moller in more offensive situations to bring out their abilities.

  • Quisp

    [repost, sorry, but Purcell-related]

    Went to practice today to measure Williams but he ran as soon as he saw me coming with the tape measure. What an ass.

    Some observations from practice: Frolov and Murray stayed after and talked for a fairly long time, maybe 15-20 minutes, leaning up against the glass at the score-keeper’s bench. Frolov seemed especially casual and relaxed. I don’t know (obviously) what they were talking about, but they seemed very comfortable and appeared to be talking in depth.

    Doughty, Moller, Purcell, Simmonds, Richardson and Ersberg stayed on the ice for 20 minutes or so. Ersberg, Simmonds and Richardson working with Hardy at one end; Purcell, Moller and Doughty working with Kompon at the other.

    At one point, Moller and Purcell were taking turns working on receiving passes (from Kompon) and shooting from a very bad angle, at the goal line about eight feet from the side-boards. Moller went first and I was struck by the ridiculously high level of accuracy. He was picking the top corner hitting the net a couple of inches from the intersection of the cross-bar and post, 75% of the time. We’re talking about a target about 5″ square from where he was shooting. A couple of times he rang it off the post. Mostly, the shots were perfect or nearly perfect.

    Then, Purcell. Same drill. And he was if anything even better. Because he’s taller, his reach allowed him to bring the puck a little farther out for a slightly better angle. But I don’t think he missed single shot. And of course we’re talking about a second between passes.

    They did variations on this theme, practicing high slot one-timers, Doughty, too. Moller stayed behind to practice taking passes behind the net (from Kompon) and switching forehand to backhand to top-shelf it from the edge of the crease (i.e. moving from behind the net to a shooting position without moving his feet). Then he switched sides, to do the same drill backhand to forehand. Again, the accuracy was astounding. Not that any of this is a great shock — we all know these are professionals etc. etc. — but every once in awhile it’s nice to stand right up next to the glass and watch them literally practicing to the point of near-perfection moves that if any of us were able to do them once we would never forget it. I exaggerate, but not by much.

    Last observation: Doughty and Moller repeatedly would do mock scoring celebrations, wooo, stick in the air, laughing, etc.. There was a lot of that going on. I know for a fact I have never seen that at a Kings practice before.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for that Quisp, I enjoyed the recap!

  • Roger

    Quisp, Thanks for an excellent report on these guys.
    But, shooting the puck accurately during practice is one thing, and doing it during a game situation is totally something ells. Purcell needs to use his size to create scoring opportunities, and battle for the puck down low in the offensive zone, and crash the net once in a while. Doing these things and doing them well can ensure a spot on the team. I am pulling for him to make the team. And if he doesn’t, he can only blame himself. I hope that the Kings can give another opportunity to Boyle to come up and play on the wing with Zus. He might be able to surprise some people, and that includes DL himself.

    Roger

  • Quisp

    Roger –

    No question.

  • Datacloud

    “He will stay in our top six. I’m a big believer that that’s where a player who has that kind of ability need to play in order to show us what he can do.”

    Uh, really? Is that why Boyle always plays on the 4th line whenever you bring him up? Or Lewis, for that matter? Call me crazy, but I thought both of those guys were skill players.

    …and yes, I know that Boyle needs work on the other parts of his game, but this quote reeks of double-standard.

  • BallPointHammer

    There’s nothing wrong with ‘skill’ guys playing ‘checking/energy’ rolls in order to gain NHL experience, contribute to the total team effort and earn the opportunity to play ‘top 6′ minutes. Really good teams sometimes have young guys play entire seasons in this type of mode before they become permanent top 6. I think the difference here is that Purcell is truly gifted where as Boyle is not.

  • Quisp

    Datacloud –

    It’s not a double-standard, though. Purcell has had to work hard on playing “on all sides of the puck.” Boyle is in Manchester because he doesn’t do it. Lewis is a bit of a different story, since he comes to the party with more defensive chops. And, Lewis did get top-six minutes.

    I think Murray has been, if anything, extremely consistent on this point, the need to play solid defense first.

  • jet

    Datacloud – I understand exactly what you are saying, but it appears the double standard is for centers and wingers and not necessarily individual players. TM seems to really appreciate a strong tough two-way player in the middle. I know Manchester has played Lewis at LW, but he is not a complete player there yet. He would be a better centerman, but he needs to get stronger. Boyle is stronger, but not good enough defensively down low yet.

    We see some of the Kings come right in and play out of juniors, but that is not the norm. I believe Lewis, Boyle and Purcell have only played 18 months of professional hockey.

  • tantrum4

    Datacloud –

    From what I’ve seen from Boyle so far, he has ZERO skill….

  • AK47

    Didn’t Trevor Lewis play on the top line throughout his entire call-up this season? I could swear he was playing on Frolov and Kopitar’s line for a good part of those 6 games he played in the NHL..

    Voynov scored a huge OT winner in Manchester last night, and guess who hooked him nicely?? Brian Boyle.. haha speaking of the devil.

    Voynov and Moller were STEALS in the 2nd round

  • BRS

    I hope this is OK to post but if anyone wants to go to the Kings/Wild game today at 1:00 for free I have tickets for you. They are up in section 305 but are actually pretty good. The first one to email me gets them. I will then email them to you.

    Please make sure you are able to go because I have one favor to ask. I have been to every game this year & today will be the first game I miss (my son’s first high school game) and I collect those line up cards that are free on the way in. All I ask is that somebody can get me a couple & send them to me. So if somebody is interested please email me. I will be home until 12:15 today. Thanks, Brian sequoia2013@aol.com

  • wavesinair

    Quisp said: Ersberg, Simmonds and Richardson working with Hardy at one end…

    I stood on the landing overlooking this set of drills for quite some time. The thing I enjoyed most was listening (very hard to do in that rink!) to Hardy instruct.

    During one exchange, Hardy was in the corner feeding Simmonds in the slot, who would then pass to Richardson in the other slot then shoot (not a one-timer).

    Simmonds’ pass to Richardson was too hard for Hardy’s taste so he told him, “Not as hard!” After a few more attempts, Simmonds wasn’t quite getting it so Hardy came over and showed him.

    From what I could tell, Hardy’s point was not to get too excited with the pass. Be calm yet deliberate. Simmonds started to get it and Hardy was yelling, “Yes, that’s it!”

    It was cool to see this play out. To see a guy like Simmonds learning important lessons right before my eyes and how, ultimately, it will help him during games in the future. On countless occasions, we see great teams look so cool under pressure down low, which often results in that one sweet cross ice pass that gets tapped home. Can’t wait to see it!

    Anyway, just my observations…

    I know it’s been said before, but I gotta say it again, I LOVE that Mark Hardy is with this team. I can’t help but think he will be a great head coach.

  • Quisp

    Waveainair —

    Then you must have seen me there with my pinwheel hat (and hovering cereal bowl spaceship…).

    Jet, re centers v. wings:

    Great point! Yes, Boyle’s defensive responsibilities as a center are exponentially bigger. That’s at least as important as anything I said.

  • AK47

    How about Jonathan Bernier’s play of late?

    Feb. 20 at Providence: 32 shots, 31 saves (in relief role)
    Feb. 21 vs. Lowell: 33 shots, 31 saves (win)
    Feb. 22 vs. Hartford: 28 shots, 25 saves (loss)
    Feb. 28 at Lowell: 35 shots, 34 saves (win)
    March 1 at Springfield: 19 shots, 18 saves (win)
    March 4 vs Springfield: 24 shots, 23 saves (win)
    Last night vs Hartford: 24 shots, 24 saves (win)

    That means in his last 7 outings, 5 wins-1 loss, .950 save %, GAA 1.35 and a shut out

    Maybe Ersberg shouldn’t have been re-signed after all? haha just kidding, just kidding..

  • JT Snow

    BallPointHammer,
    I totally agree with you. Purcell is supremely skilled compared to Boyle. There is hope for Boyle yet he just has to find out to use his abilities more effectively..Maybe learn how to drop the mits the scattered time also.

  • Quisp

    Boyle would be fine if we could hook him up to a remote shock collar.

  • Quisp

    AK47 re Bernier/prospects:

    (and therefore only slightly off-topic)

    Bernier won again tonight. Meanwhile, I noticed Martin Jones is now 44-5-3 with the Calgary Hitmen. And Loktionov got a hat-trick and an assist last night for Windsor. There was a feature somewhere that said Loktionov is a “student of old time hockey” and spends his free time watching old Red Wings tapes. By old, he means circa Fedorov, Larionov, Fetisov, Konstantinov and of course the greatest of them all Primorov.

  • Anonymous

    By the way, here’s that Loktionov article mentioned
    by Quisp, above:

    http://communities.canada.com/windsorstar/blogs/duffersdabbles/archive/2009/03/06/spitfires-loktionov-a-student-of-old-time-hockey.aspx

    ========================================================
    I am starting to warm up to Loko.

    Windsor is loaded with offense, but he is improving
    and standing out a bit, even on that team.

    He’ll probably need 1 more season in Windsor, then he could possibly make the Kings at 20 (or at least
    be close to it).

    Looking at the big picture on offense, Purcell is getting gradually better, and may be ready to really break out next season, with just a little more
    growth and grit.

    Moller should keep improving, at least to the 20-G/50-Pt level, over the next couple seasons.

    Simmonds will surely improve his scoring totals,
    but by how much is unknown.

    Stoll & Handzus should hold steady, at least.

    Our D can only improve on the attack, and grow
    in confidence offensively over time. And adding
    the lightning-fast Sir Thomas of Hickey can’t
    hurt either.

    IF IF IF…
    Justin Williams can stay healthy,
    he should help.

    Kopi/FRO/Brown should all at least hold steady,
    or more likely, improve their totals.

    Wheover DL acquires in the summer will help (and he will probably acquire somebody, although I hope he doesn’t do anything overly foolish to bring
    a “big name” to Staples).

    Overall, I think our offense is looking up, and by all accounts, should improve next season,
    possibly even by a lot.
    ======================================================
    –Sergei Prozacutov

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