The early stages of the 2019-20 NHL season has seen a number of instances where coaches or players have thrown individuals under the bus for their performance.
We were only a week in when the Jason Zucker-Bruce Boudreau media circus of miscommunication went down, one that Zucker later apologized for after singling out the Minnesota Wild’s head coach while discussing his team’s initial struggles. Then, San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture shredded teammates Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc for “selfish play” in an overtime loss against the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 22.
While those two situations were fantastic for fans to sink their teeth into, Todd McLellan’s recent comments about the play of his Los Angeles Kings may be the best yet.
“I think this (road) trip was good because it let know that there’s some players that probably can’t play in the league right now,” McLellan said during his media availability, following a 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on Sunday. “So, maybe we’ll have to make some changes. There’s some veterans that really have to pick up their play. We’ll have to have a chat with them...”
The 52-year-old didn’t call anyone out by name, but both his frustrations and message were loud and clear. Now, the Kings really have to listen because this isn’t the first time he’s expressed these types of thoughts.
“Some of the players that I think we’ve counted on, or we need to count on, have to play a lot better or they don’t belong in the league,” McLellan said after an 8-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 9, only his third regular season game as head coach.
After wrapping up last season in the Western Conference basement, McLellan’s team hasn’t taken advantage of the fresh slate that 2019-20 presented them. Los Angeles lost its third straight game Sunday, dropping its record to 4-8-0.
It doesn’t take advanced mathematics to figure out their issue: the Kings are currently surrendering a league-high average of 4.08 goals against per game.
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