2005-2006 Kings vs 2023-2024 Kings

JayWells24

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This season is so eerily similar to the 2005-2006 Kings.

Similarities:

Much like this year's squad the 2005-2006 Kings were loaded with veteran players: Conroy, Demitra, Norstrom, Miller, Roenick, Robitaille, etc.

2005-2006 Kings had a coach in Andy Murray that was in his 5th or 6th season (depending if you want to count the lockout year).

2005-2006 Kings were 27-14-6 on January 7. First place in the Pacific Division and right there with Detroit as #1 in the conference. This year's team was in the top 5 in the league with W/L record and points as late as mid December.

Both teams fell off a cliff. This year's squad starting with the 3rd period of the Islanders game back on December 9. The 2005-2006 right after that January 7 game vs San Jose and never recovered. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but by the end of January they were out of playoff contention.

Both times the GM waited too long to make a coaching change. Andy Murray was not let go until March 20 and T-Mac was let go about 4-5 weeks too late IMHO. I loved Andy Murray, but he should have been shown the door when the train started to derail. After the Kings hit 7 losses in a row on January 11 vs Florida it was time for a change. How many GM's will hold onto a coach in a slide like that, especially one in his 5th season?

After the season was done, GM Dave Taylor was let go in favor of Dean Lombardi. Interim coach John Torchetti was not resigned and Marc Crawford was hired as head coach. Within a year all of those Veteran players were traded (team captain) Mattias Norstrom, Aaron Miller, Pavol Demitra, Craig Conroy, Sean Avery, (Robitaille retired) etc. Then a rookie Anze Kopitar hit the scene, a young Dustin Brown started to develop, you had Jon Quick in the pipeline, and everyone knows the rest.

Unfortunately, we don't have those type of generational players waiting in the wings. I hate to say this as I bleed Kings colors, but perhaps another total tear down is what this organization needs. As happy as I was about yesterday's news, the root of the problem is still there.

I hope they figure it out and there are better seasons ahead for our beloved Kings.
 
Andy Murray probably should have been shown the door after the heinous 2004 collapse.
 
And like this season, there were personalities in that locker room in 2006 that weren’t exactly loved by all. Roenick and Avery come to mind. Was it Eric Belanger who made it known when Lombardi came in and asked each player what happened?
 
Byfield and Clarke may be as impactful players as Drew and Kopi. Can’t sweat not having a Quick in the pipeline. If anyone from the Cup years was truly generational, it was him.

I think a lot of people are underselling the Kings’ current pipeline. Potential impact players include:

Turcotte
Pinelli
Thomas
Helenius
Lee
Ziemmer

Dvorak
Krygier
Moverare
Salin

Portilo
Slunkynsky

Spence and Laf will continue to grow into important players. If half the other players hit, this team is in good, and potentially exciting shape. Even with PLD, theory (and history) goes he’ll be a productive player centering the second or first line.

I feel far better about this team than that 2006 collapse because of the pipeline. The question is who is going to value it and capitalize with proper patience and smarts. is Blake cornered, flailing, ahead of his skis, or ready to navigate a continually improving roster? We are all rightly leary now. All is far from lost but the **** up account is also cashed out.
 
You could also argue there are some similarities to two other Kings seasons, both memorable. 2011-2012 (with firing Murray in December, albeit that team had not gotten off to a blazing start and had struggled, especially with offense). Another season (also quite memorable) that really compares with this is the 1992-'93 season. The Kings had one of the best records in the league in early December (despite not having Gretzky). Then, on December 8, they blew a 5-2 third period lead to the Canadiens in a neutral site game in Phoenix (not unlike this season's December 9 Islander game). Over the next two months, they won maybe 5 games, and lost games by scores like 8-3, 10-2, 7-1, and 7-2. Then, things finally stabilized, due in no small part to Rick Knickle, who provided decent goaltending, when even mediocre goaltending was hard to come by. (Is Rittich this year's Knickle? So far, he is). We all know what happened when the playoffs began. Granted, a coach (Melrose) was not fired that season, but it was like three (even 4, if you count the playoffs) seasons in one. What really concerns me about this year's team is that, unlike 1993 or 2012, when the KIngs had rock-solid team chemistry, it seems this year'e team (like 2006) does not. If this season plays out like 2006, then, yes, a total house cleaning is needed. The good news is that the Kings would not have to do a total rebuild, as QB and Clarke could very well be cornerstone pieces (as Clif pointed out above).
 
If this team had a some better goaltending over the last 6 weeks their record would be at least .500 over that span. They would still be sitting in 3rd place with a decent cushion over the Oilers. There were a few games where they absolutely sucked, but they had been in many/most of them.
 
Andy Murray probably should have been shown the door after the heinous 2004 collapse.
He should have been shown the door after the car accident and Tippet took over and led us to the playoffs.
 
Byfield and Clarke may be as impactful players as Drew and Kopi. Can’t sweat not having a Quick in the pipeline. If anyone from the Cup years was truly generational, it was him.

I think a lot of people are underselling the Kings’ current pipeline. Potential impact players include:

Turcotte
Pinelli
Thomas
Helenius
Lee
Ziemmer

Dvorak
Krygier
Moverare
Salin

Portilo
Slunkynsky

Spence and Laf will continue to grow into important players. If half the other players hit, this team is in good, and potentially exciting shape. Even with PLD, theory (and history) goes he’ll be a productive player centering the second or first line.

I feel far better about this team than that 2006 collapse because of the pipeline. The question is who is going to value it and capitalize with proper patience and smarts. is Blake cornered, flailing, ahead of his skis, or ready to navigate a continually improving roster? We are all rightly leary now. All is far from lost but the **** up account is also cashed out.
It was obvious that TM was pushing every button he could, and they weren’t responding. Coaches have a shelf life. The salary cap makes it harder to turn over a roster, he didn’t want to do it, but he had to.

As much crap as we throw at Blake, he owned it to some degree in the press conference. His comments about going to Hiller to get more of an outside view was encouraging. My hope is that depending on how this season goes, if he stays, maybe he’ll wake up that having a front office and development group that isn’t entirely based on his former teammates and close friends. Loyalty can only take you so far in this business, and looking back we won because the org went and rebuilt everything with outsiders. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have former players in the mix, but it never hurts to have differing opinions.
 
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