LA Kings Earn Split Against Phoenix Coyotes in Rookie Tournament
EL SEGUNDO, CA – After the first game of their 2009-10 Rookie Tournament, a 6-1 blowout loss to the young prospects of the Phoenix Coyotes, one might think that the Los Angeles Kings’ prospects should have stuck with the drills they were working on during the first three days of their rookie camp.
Indeed, the Kings prospects were a step slow from the opening face-off on Wednesday night at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California. They were outworked and outhustled throughout by the Coyotes prospects who seemed to be intent on skating on, over and through their counterparts.
In that first game, the Kings took some early penalties and immediately put themselves at a big disadvantage and things spiraled out of control from there.
“You get four power plays in the first period, that really set the tone [for Phoenix],” said Kings head coach Terry Murray. “We were outshot 17-4 in the first period. It gets to be an easier game once you get a 2-3 goal lead.”
“They’re good, young players,” added Murray. “They’re talented guys. They’ve got to start playing more together. There was a lot of individual stuff. Whenever you get behind by a couple of goals you want to try to do too much by yourself and, as a result, it goes the other way.”
“Especially in that first period, once you get behind the eight-ball like that it’s really tough to chip away when you’re down,” said Kings defenseman prospect Thomas Hickey. “That’s was the biggest problem. Tomorrow, our focus will have to be on starting [our] game early and getting more shots because they really outplayed us in the first and that set the tone.”
“That’s where the young guys need to manage the game better,” said Murray. “When you’re playing against a team that’s going to line up at the blue line, like they did when they had a 2-3 goal lead, the open ice is what’s behind them. Again, that’s where you get into too much individual stuff, stick-handling, over-thinking and trying to create something that’s not there.”
The Coyotes prospects were intent on taking the game to the Kings physically, and it was evident that Hickey was their primary target. But Hickey did not help himself in that regard, either.
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