Good evening, insiders!
The Kings hit the ice this morning to practice between the two games against Vegas last night and Seattle that comes tomorrow.
Perhaps the 1 vs. Vegas game can be summed up in one word, which Todd McClellan reinforced this morning – the second.
“We were second to everything,” he said. “You can look at it from an analytics point of view, and use all the stats you want, but there is a reason for those stats. When we needed to be first, we were second. We were slow, poor execution, second all over.”
Today’s topic revolved around identity and the first game which is quite unlike the identity we saw last season.
McClellan spoke about identity, touching on the potential differences between this year and last year and how we’re 60 minutes into a season that runs much longer. The Kings had an idea of what their identity might be like last season, but they didn’t see it from the first game. It has taken some time to sort out, and with a new team in a new season, there is still work to be done.
“I think we had an idea of what we wanted to be last year, probably even the year before,” McClellan said today. “Sometimes you add really good players to your squad and we’ve done that and you might want to try and be something you don’t want to. We’re 60 minutes into the season and the first two questions I’ve had are about identity and you’re doing exactly the same thing I do, you’re comparing it to last year and that’s the point. , starts over. What do you want to be, how do we win, what we ought to be. We are finding out now.”
What he said we’re doing is definitely what I’ve been doing, and that compares the way the Kings played last season to the way they played last night. Not necessarily in terms of gameplay quality, but stylistically. The Kings last season were a heavy shooter who always controlled the puck possession battle on a night to night basis. They prided themselves on being tough to play against, their defensive build and winning close matches painstakingly.
Three periods, it was a different look last night. It’s not really fair to make any real comparisons from night one to last season, but as McClellan said, it’s the only comparison we have at this point. The Kings don’t necessarily have to play the same way they did last season, but over time they will need to know what kind of team they want to be and how they can win games with the group they have. McClellan said he issued that reminder to the team earlier today.
“The first thing I did was remind our players that every year is a new year and you take your identity again,” McClellan said. “If you can go back to the seventh losing game in Edmonton, to that press conference, I said it was going to be tough, and it would start over and reinvent yourself year after year after year. The only comparison we had after three stints was last year, so now we take Three periods of hockey this year and comparing it to what there was last year and we weren’t even close to that. As we go now, we’ll have to put the second game against the first because we’re now starting to get a clue this year. Maybe we’ll be a losing team, a gambler, a scorer Five goals a night and we get it done that way, I don’t know, but that looked like we wanted to play. If we as a group felt our identity had to go and we would try it that way, great, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Either we redefine our identity, or we try it differently.”
The process continues tomorrow. It’s a work in progress for the Kings and despite the disappointing nature at the end of last night’s game, which it certainly was, the Kings were still in a one-minute tie game to play, despite moving away from the approach we saw last season. All of this is from a performance that does not match the standards that the team has in its game. On night two tomorrow, in front of Seattle, we’ll be taking another look at what this team will look like, hoping for a solid rebound effort.
McClellan noted that we should see some line-up changes heading into tomorrow’s game against Seattle, although he did not go into details today. Defenseman Brandt Clark took on some power representatives today, a possible sign that he could make his National Hockey League debut tomorrow night. We’ll check the sled tomorrow morning for potential scratches and go from there.
Speaking to those closest to the situation – primarily Todd McClellan and his co-workers – there seems to be universal agreement that Gabi Velardi is on a step faster this season than he was last season.
McClellan – Personally, I think, and the technical staff think it’s one step faster. It seems a little faster, some of that confidence, others a good feeling. He feels good about himself and his game, and his teammates are passionate about him. There are a lot of real positive things in his world right now and we have to keep them there.
Yavalo – of course, yes. It is wonderful to see. He’s definitely put his work in and he’s improved a lot and he’s definitely faster than he was the year before. It was great to see him and I look forward to playing with him.
Bifield – I see that. I think there was a play in pre-season when it wasn’t ice-cold, but the other team’s defender had a lot of space on him and grabbed him, stripped the disc, and we got a chance to get out of it. Even after doing his background checks, he’s back there quickly. He creates a lot of bet, I think he definitely made a huge improvement over the summer.
This is the fourth goal
Finally, McClellan addressed the fourth goal – last night’s award-winning Vegas goal – in more detail. While he admitted he didn’t have an answer in terms of deciding on that play, he was quick to point out that he didn’t think a game was the cause of the loss, because the other 59 minutes and change wasn’t. t reach equality either.
This play has been processed, both with individuals and with the team, as detailed below –
“We cleared the air in practice, because I think that’s the monkey in the room, so what were we doing in this situation? That was just a small part of the game as a whole. So yeah, we can all wonder what the hell is going on in this situation and not I have an answer for you, but if anyone sitting in his booth, coaches included, thinking he was the difference-maker for the night, he wasn’t. There were another 59 and a half minutes that weren’t played the way they were meant to be played.”
I look ahead
McClellan noted that “there will be some changes” tomorrow. As noted above, we can see Brandt Clark, most likely, with forwards Brendan Lemieux and Garrett Anderson-Dolan also check-in options. Clarke took on reps when the Kings exercised the power of the day, working with the second unit, while Lemieux is also one easy to plug in and play as the fourth line, should the Kings choose to move in that direction. Knowing Blake Liszot makes this step easy, if it comes. There’s also an idea of which goalkeeper will play, and whether or not the Kings have a predetermined split, or if Jonathan Quick’s outstanding performance on Tuesday will give him the nod once again.
More to update come morning.
The Kings will be back on the ice tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. for morning skating, before hosting the Seattle Kraken at 7:30 p.m. to wrap up their two-game home game.