What we learned about the
We learned that this season is teetering at the point of no return—as in no return to the playoffs for the defending
“We were a flat team out there, making mistakes,” defenseman
Because they’ve bounced back before doesn’t mean they’re capable of doing it again. They’re older than they were two years ago and have a lot more mileage on them. Their defense withstood losing
We learned that they can't win on the road
With a road record of 5-11-6, the Kings are tied for the fewest road wins in the
"We don't have the intensity and the emotions that we did have in the past and we're going to have to have in the future," center Anze Kopitar said of the Kings' road struggles.
Players maintained they're confident they can make up their deficit, though it seems to keep growing and more teams are passing them.
"There's 32 games left. Thirty-two games left to get this thing going and that's it," Greene said. "We've got a confident team. I'm confident in this group that we can get it going. It's a matter of individuals to do it, to step up and play and get wins."
We learned that
And with good reason. After Tuesday’s morning skate, he said he wouldn’t criticize his players and said reporters should be the ones to offer criticism. But after Tuesday’s game he singled out a bad line change by
Nor did Sutter buy Brown's assertion that the Kings are lacking emotion, using that opportunity to identify Brown by name for the bad line change on Washington's first goal.
Sutter has had little reason to criticize his team since he took over in December 2011. He coaxed and cajoled and got the Kings into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in 2012 and they blossomed in postseason play, surprisingly taking a 3-0 series lead every round en route to winning the Cup. They were worn down by injuries the next season but still made it to the West final; they became comeback kids last spring by fending off elimination seven times.
This is a new dynamic, with underperforming forwards and defensemen who have been overextended. A tweak or two fixed things in the past. That probably won't work now. It will be interesting to see how he handles this and how the team reacts.
We learned that key players might be burned out by playing a lot of hockey the past three seasons
Is their supposed lack of emotion due to fatigue or mental exhaustion?
"I think those are just excuses," Brown said. "I think it's just a matter of getting yourself ready to go. I think it's an individual's responsibility to get himself going. If he's ready to play every night, then it's helping our team. If he's not ready, it's one of those things where everyone has off nights but the emotion can always be there and the work can always be there."
Brown believes the season can still be salvaged and a playoff berth can be won.
"You can look at it one way, that we're out. The other way to look at it is we need to get better and there's plenty of time to do what we need to do," he said. "But right now it's in our hands. We still have time to control our destiny. We can't let it drag on to the point where you have to rely on other teams winning and losing games."
The next lesson will take place Thursday against Mitchell and the Florida Panthers. No absences or lack of emotion will be accepted.