Los Angeles Kings’ Power Play is Not Pretty

Ryan Smyth vs Columbus 2/16/11

These videos are from Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jackets, a game the Kings won. The team has figured out how to cater to their strengths; unfortunately, these strengths don’t always make for pretty hockey.

The mantra for the Kings offense this season has been to get to the middle of the ice and get the puck on net.

Dump. Chase. Grind. Cycle. Shoot. Crash.

The Kings do not often complete something like this:

Jakub Voracek was all over the place during this game. He is clearly starting to build some nice chemistry with Rick Nash, who has been in dire need of a playmaking center throughout his tenure in Columbus. This budding combination is a bit frightening.

Going back to the Kings, there are of course, the occasional creative plays that end up with a nice back-door pass, deked defender/goalie, or top shelf snipe. But these are a rarity. Remove Anze Kopitar from that equation, and there would be less than five occurrences this entire season.

The problem is simply Kopitar’s options. Most the Kings roster are simply not creatively offensive minded; they are hard-nosed (Brown, Ponikarovsky, Clifford) head down (Simmonds, Richardson, Williams) dirty-area scorers (Smyth, Handzus).

Of the other forwards, Loktionov and Stoll are centers, so they only rarely see any ice time with Kopiatr.

Loktionov was initially placed on a line with Kopitar because they both have gifted offensive minds, but Loktionov’s natural centerman instincts eventually persevered, as he is fitting into the role of 2nd line center well. I’m not quite sure how to classify Stoll other than a guy who can pick the glove-high corner in the shootout and hit glass from the point on the power play better than anyone in the league.

Due to these offensive creativity limitations, the Kings’ power play is designed to do just what is outlined above:

Dump. Chase. Grind. Cycle. Shoot. Crash.

Or, in some cases- get puck to Kopitar, place boots in concrete, and hope he can score from the wing:

Is there a word for frustratingly depressing? Depresstrating?

Even though I’ve already stated that I don’t think Dean Lombardi will make a big splash in the trade market this season, the immediate remedy to this problem calls for that such action. Both Pierre Lebrun and Darren Dreger have stated that the Kings are interested in Edmonton winger Ales Hemsky. Although he is not the typical goal-scorer Kings fans have been pining for, at worst he would create some space for the goal-scorer the Kings already have: Anze Kopitar.

While that would be nice, I’m not holding my breath.

3 Responses to “Los Angeles Kings’ Power Play is Not Pretty”
  1. ” I’m not quite sure how to classify Stoll other than a guy who can pick the glove-high corner in the shootout and hit glass from the point on the power play better than anyone in the league.”

    My feelings exactly over the last 2 nights. Don’t see how Stoll can pick the top corner more accurate than a sniper when we all (including the goalie he is shooting on) know exactly where he is going to shoot…and not be able to hit the net at all on the powerplay. I just don’t understand.

    Switching gears, Hemsky could help, sure…but isn’t he a RW? We’re going to be so right-heavy it isn’t funny.

  2. Oh…and nice to see the Kings getting abused in nearly every highlight of the Hemsky video.

  3. crownedroyal says:

    Hemsky is a RW, but Dustin has been switched to the left side before and done OK with it- in fact if memory serves, it seems like only does his between the legs move from the left side.. so that would be awesome if he did that more because it is always so effective.

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