If there’s any doubt Los Angeles is a different team since Darryl Sutter replaced Terry Murray as head coach, it was erased when Anze Kopitar spoke on Sunday.
“We’re way more aggressive than we were before,” L.A.’s leading scorer told Kings Insider. “It shows in our game, too.
“With Terry, I used to play about 22 or 23 minutes a night. Sometimes, with Darryl, when I play 19 or 20 I’m probably more tired than I was with Terry. And I’m not saying any bad things about Terry. But we are more aggressive. We’re pursuing the puck a lot more. It’s a more high-intensity game. Not that Terry didn’t stress it, but it’s just at a different level.”
(Uh, Anze? You’re not exactly saying good things about Terry.)
Aggression is hard to quantify — the Moneypuck
nerds enthusiasts have yet to develop a metric — so we have to rely on what players say when it comes to hard work and energy.
That said, Hammond suggests a good indicator of aggression is first-period play. L.A. has shown an improvement in scoring goals in the opening frame, something Kopitar has noticed as well.
“You want to jump on teams and put them on their heels for a little bit,” he said. “In the last couple games, we’ve done that. Last night [vs. Minnesota] we just didn’t start very good, but we bounced right back, which is a good thing.”
L.A. will look to jump on the Oilers tonight when the two square off at Staples, but might have to do it without the services of Jeff Carter. He’s scheduled to get an MRI on his injured ankle today, though Sutter told Hammond the injury is “getting better” and that Carter “was able to put some weight on it.”