I would rather the Kings have lost 10-0 than to lose the way they did in Game 3 of their series with the San Jose Sharks. Up 4-0 at the top of second period and the Kings suffered what will likely go down as the biggest meltdown in Kings history. Congratulations, you are a part of history, guys.
It’s hard to find the right words, and I’m not quite sure which words are anger and which words are analytical, but I’ll try my best. I guess that’s a good place to start; trying your best. I would say the Los Angeles Kings that took the ice to start the game certainly did. They ran that scoreboard up so fast Todd McLellan’s head was spinning. But boy did he get it on straight! The Sharks dominated period number 2 and came out of it tied at 5. If you didn’t watch the game, you read that right; tied at 5.
Yet, the loss didn’t happen in overtime, on a goal that looked very much Joe Pavelski’s goal in game 1. The loss happened right after the Kings scored goal #4. They stopped playing. We all see teams go into “penalty kill” mode with a few minutes left in the game, but the Kings decided to do it with nearly 40 minutes left in the contest. They allowed the Sharks to cycle, were content merely to contain and not win pucks, made bad decisions with the puck both on offense and defense, and basically hung Quick out to dry.
I say this is a loss of character because it takes character to have a 4 goal lead and keep playing hard. The Kings didn’t play with that character. The Kings were content to play hard enough to not lose, not hard enough to win.
Earlier today, Mark Purdy posted a column about the Kings fans being akin to a crowd at a Kenny G concert. The Kings fans proved Purdy wrong tonight. The shame is that the Kings effort did not match the effort of their fans.
In my last post I defended Dustin Penner, saying he isn’t necessarily lazy but his style of play often looks that way. However, that last backcheck of the game was just lazy. I won’t pick on Dustin right now because it would be too easy and it might appear as though I’m trying to scapegoat the loss on him, but it was a team loss.
I say I would rather the Sharks win 10-0 because then it’s pretty clear cut; they’re the better team. The Kings simultaneously showed they had the skill and the ability to win, but they weren’t willing to exert the effort. Maybe that’s what they take away from this; you don’t know what a crushing loss like this feels like until you experience it, but now you do. Soak it in. Let it scar your skin so that you have to look down and see it everyday. Then the next time you find yourself in this position you know what to do. Win. I don’t mean that in a smarmy way, but exert the necessary effort to win. Your fans deserve it and when you have it in you to exert that effort, you’ll deserve it too.
And if you ask me, it’s already there. You just have to find it.
About the Author
Written by Eric Cooney
Eric Cooney was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. He shares his thoughts on the NHL as one man who is a northerner, southerner, east coaster, and west coaster. Follow him on Twitter @EricCooney