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Kings coach on centers: ‘They have to be better players’

Oct 22, 2013, 7:45 PM EDT

richardskopitargetty Getty Images

The Los Angeles Kings seem like they’re beginning the 2013-14 season like many others: in the middle of the pack. Head coach Darryl Sutter indicated that the middle might be where they need more offense, as he called out centers Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and to some extent Jarret Stoll to LA Kings Insider.

“They’ve got to produce,” Sutter said. “The bottom line is Kopi, Mike and Jarret for that matter are all pretty well-paid guys, and they have to produce. They have to be better players. They have to finish the job.”

Kopitar, 26, hasn’t scored a goal yet, but his eight assists gives him the team’s point lead. It’s not too surprising that Sutter is a little easier on the Slovenian star, fairly mentioning that Kopitar hasn’t been getting much puck luck (26 shots in 10 games).

The bigger problem might be Richards’ play. While the 28-year-old’s defensive game seems on par defensively with his recent efforts, he’s not showing the kind of nose for the net that made him a two-time 30+ goal scorer. He also lacks a single goal this season, yet he’s not firing away like Kopitar, with just 14 shots on goal.

Stoll, 31, seems like an afterthought. While he’s a guy whose faceoff skills and two-way play make him worth having around, you’d still like to see more than (you guessed it) zero goals and two assists.

Sutter didn’t just critique the centers – he said captain Dustin Brown isn’t looking especially sharp, and anyone can see that Jonathan Quick hasn’t been at his best – so the Kings generally need more from their best players. Really, when you look at the numbers, 6-4-0 seems pretty appropriate so far for Los Angeles.

  1. earpaniac - Oct 22, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    This is the definition of a “team built for the playoffs”. They’ll be fine. As long as they win enough to get in.

  2. areaman714 - Oct 22, 2013 at 10:20 PM

    They can’t score even strength. It meant their death in the playoffs and it continues this season . . .

  3. blomfeld - Oct 22, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    All the King’s horses and all the King’s men ….

    The bottom line friends is that ‘everyone’ needs to smarten up right now, including my two ‘personal’ favorite players in the game today, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick. The notion of ‘mediocre’ being enough in the dynamic new Pacific Division simply won’t work. So come on you guys, let’s ‘seriously’ get going here eh ?

    fellow King’s fans … have we lost our edge ? :(

    • slysipops - Oct 23, 2013 at 8:08 AM

      the edge may not be lost………but dulled from trying to cut over stone !

    • yustasayin - Oct 23, 2013 at 9:52 AM

      As usual with “Homers” little or no credit is given to the other better 9 teams

  4. slysipops - Oct 23, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    THE NEW KINGS FIGHT SONG ? ……………………………

  5. patthehockeyfan - Oct 23, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    Reading the link in the story to ‘LA Kings Insider’ – which was a summary of a post-game press conference – Sutter’s words didn’t seem as dire as this story’s headline implies.

    Initially, I was a little put off that Sutter would manage his team through the media (rather than directly). But, I do realize that Sutter is a different sort of guy. He has a unique personality, and I think his team respects him. Besides, I’m certain that he said the same things to each player individually.

    Sutter deserves props, too, for suggesting that the goal credited to Carter (Calgary game) should have been Richie’s.

    Finally, I have to take exception to the writer’s words: “The bigger problem might be Richards’ play.” With Jeff Carter on his wing (a natural goal-scorer IMO), Richards’ line is successful with Richie feeding Carter the puck (thus getting an assist). They’re a great combination, and why mess with success?

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