LA Kings: Richardson Gains From Purcell’s Struggles

December 5th, 2009 by Gann Matsuda Leave a reply »
LOS ANGELES — After losing three of their first four games without veteran left wing Ryan Smyth, things looked quite bad for the still young Los Angeles Kings and their survival in the Western Conference playoff race.

During that stretch, the Kings allowed twelve goals while scoring just eight. To be sure, their defensive play, which was a major strength last season, had finally been exposed with Smyth out of the lineup.

“We’ve got to tighten up defensively,” defenseman Matt Greene said on November 22. “In this league, you’re not going to win games with the old run-and-gun—you’re not going to win championships. That’s something that needs to be addressed immediately, that commitment to defense and to taking pride in not giving up goals.”

“We just have to play with more confidence and make a commitment to defense,” Greene added. “We have to know our assignments. You have to know what you’re doing on the ice before you get out there. A lot of this game is read and react, but there’s a lot that’s structured, too, just knowing where you need to be. That&rs ...

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