It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how things have gone for the Los Angeles Kings as of late. 14 games in and the Kings aren't where they want to be, especially having lost five straight decisions. Today, though, Rich Hammond of LAKingsInsider spoke with general manager Dean Lombardi regarding his thoughts on the team's perforrmance thus far and where to go from here.
Lombardi mentioned how he liked his team's effort the last couple of games. Personally, I was more impressed with Los Angeles' against Pittsburgh then I was with their effort last night. I was impressed with Los Angeles' discipline in the first period of last night's game in addition to Dustin Penner's early performance where he recorded three shots and on a breakaway.
Lombardi went on to say that he was happy with his team's defensive play but admitted that Los Angeles' offense was currently one of the worst in the league. "we’ve always said that we want to add to our game, and part of that was obviously adding to our offense without losing our defensive identity. We’re still caught there," Lombardi told Hammond. Lombardi also went on to say that a lack of scoring is a prime concern with many other teams in the league. With that said, at least the Kings don't have to feel alone in that department.
Hammond later asked Lombardi if he was willing to admit that things are getting off-page in terms of the players listening to the coaches. Lombardi wasn't prepared to say that which, on the surface, means that Terry Murray's job isn't in danger - or so it seems. Lombardi pointed to that issue with effort and went on to say that if his team had given efforts like they had in the last two games, then the Kings would have a better record, most likely. After all, Los Angeles' last two opponents were teams who are among the best in the league (in Pittsburgh and San Jose). Also, the majority of Los Angeles' penalties recently were of the undisciplined variety and, thus, could have easily been avoided. Having said that, though, like every other negative, it can easily be built upon.
As far as Dustin Penner goes, Lombardi that #25 isn't in the best shape but does see him at the gym, which he has never seen before. That alone should speak wonders for the struggling winger. We saw a bit of good in Penner's game last night and at this point, we can only hope that the effort gradually builds with each passing game. All in all, like the rest of the negative aspects surrounding the Kings right now, Dustin Penner's play is not an issue that Lombardi is willing to give up on.
Terry Murray may still have a job and the Kings are still on a five-game skid but overall, it's actually refreshing to see Dean Lombardi speak up and give his take on the season so far. It's never easy watching games when your team is losing but if last season was any indication, the Western Conference is going to be in a logjam essentially from top to bottom throughout the majority of the season. That doesn't necessarily help the Kings but it certainly doesn't hurt them, either.
Tonight marks the beginning of a four-game homestand for the Kings, which concludes with their first meeting with their cross-town rivals from Anaheim. After tonight's game, the Kings have a date with the Vancouver Canucks and, as we all know, there is no love lost between those two clubs.
As for Lombardi, he spoke out and now fans have a general idea of how he feels. If you want to read the interview in its entirety, you can do so right here: Lombardi talks about early-season skid.
14 games in and Dean Lombardi is still patient so let's all try to be a little more patient, as well, especially yours truly.