Kings after deadline: Islanders weren’t so relaxed, and don’t ask for water in the press box
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Some leftover quotes and notes from the Kings’ 3-0 loss to the New York Islanders Saturday. . . .
Kings Coach Terry Murray never shows much emotion publicly but he clearly was unhappy that the Islanders, who are ranked 14th in the East, had so little trouble getting breakaways throughout the game.
The Islanders’ speed up front had a lot to do with it, and Kings captain Dustin Brown said New York’s Michael Grabner “might be one of the fastest forwards in the league,” but the Kings’ slow-footedness on defense and overall lack of passion were also factors in the regulation loss that ended their 8-0-3 point streak.
Asked about the Islanders’ speed, Murray sounded annoyed and began a rant before checking himself and calming down.
“Look, the Islanders right now are in a very relaxed state. Their players are just playing,” he said. “They’re stretching guys out. They’re leaving the zone early to look for those long opportunities. There’s no pressure, there’s no consequence for anything that happens out there right now so that’s the easiest time in your life to play hockey, when you’re just having fun.
“And give them credit for doing that. They came at us and won the game. They beat us, 3-0.”
The inference that the Islanders have nothing to play for and no incentive to play hard didn’t sit too well with Coach Jack Capuano, whose injury-depleted team has won seven of its last 10 games. “If it was that easy to play against us,” he said, “maybe they should have beaten us.”
With the Kings in dire need of scoring from the left side -- a weakness General Manager Dean Lombardi is trying to fix through a trade by the Feb. 28 deadline -- it was ironic that former King Matt Moulson scored two of the Islanders’ goals Saturday.
Moulson, who has 23 goals this season and 30 last season, was allowed by the Kings to walk away as a free agent in the summer of 2009. He had scored 25 goals for Manchester of the American Hockey League in the 2006-07 season and 28 the following season but didn’t seem to get much of a chance with the Kings.
He played a total of 29 games over two seasons, scoring six goals and 10 points, before the Kings let him walk.
Moulson, who recently signed a three-year, $9.4-million contract extension with the Islanders, said he had no hard feelings toward the Kings or about the opportunities he got -- or didn’t get -- in their organization.
“Sometimes just a change of scenery for people in professional sports can be a good thing,” he said. “It happens all the time.
“The situation seems to have worked out. I was fortunate to get a chance with the Islanders after that. I got on a line with Johnny [Tavares] and it’s a good situation.”
The Islanders need a new arena to replace the outdated Nassau Coliseum and, understandably, local taxpayers don’t want to pay for it. But the club appears to have found another way to finance its building fund.
Kings radio play-by-play announcer Nick Nickson, thirsty after constantly talking through two periods, asked a technician in the press box to bring him some water. Sorry, the guy replied, he’d need some money because the Islanders charge $1 for any beverages consumed after the $10 pressbox meal.
While Nickson looked on in disbelief, color analyst Darryl Evans stood up and peeled two one-dollar bills off a stash in his pocket so neither announcer would have to deal with a parched throat.
Charging for pressbox meals is an accepted practice. But charging announcers for a bottle of water so they can do their jobs was mean-spirited and unprofessional. But the Islanders can probably make a few bucks recycling the empty cans and plastic bottles.
Helene Elliott, reporting from Uniondale, N.Y.