Ethan Moreau

Video: Kings GM says team was “wallowing in bewilderment”

LA Kings general manager Dean Lombardi conducted an interesting Q&A with Darryl Evans of Kings Vision this afternoon. It gets compelling around the 1:10 mark, when Evans asks Lombardi if he saw signs that things were going the wrong way:

That quote again, in case you missed it:

I think a lot of this fallout right now is mental. When you heighten the expectations on a team it’s a whole different mindset, and when you don’t look like you can reach that bar you start wallowing in bewilderment.

You can sense it’s put-up-or-shut-up time as Lombardi’s exhausted nearly all his managerial options. He made a trade deadline deal (Dustin Penner), a blockbuster deal (Mike Richards), swung big in free agency (Simon Gagne), sent a message to the veterans (by waiving Ethan Moreau) and will reportedly replace a player-friendly coach with an authoritarian (Darryl Sutter).

If the Kings fail to turn things around, big questions will have to be asked about the core group of players — because shaking up L.A.’s core is really the only move Lombardi has left.

It was a nice run, Ethan Moreau

Ethan Moreau’s run in Los Angeles is pretty much over with after being put on waivers.

The veteran tried to find his game after losing it in Columbus after a great run in Edmonton all those years. As Rich Hammond of L.A. Kings Insider finds out from coach Terry Murray, while Moreau gave them everything he could – it just wasn’t good enough to stay with the team.

“I think his leadership in the locker room was, in a quiet way, very effective. He gave us everything he could. He wanted to win, he cared, he tried hard every time he was on the ice.”

If this were a rah-rah competition Moreau would probably still have a job with the Kings. Instead, it’s all about hockey and he didn’t give them enough grit on the fourth line nor enough offense to make up for it. C’est la vie.


Kopitar on L.A.’s scoring woes: “I’d be lying if I said there was no frustration”


The Los Angeles Kings are the NHL’s lowest scoring team. They rank dead last in goals per game (2.26) and 5-on-5 goals (36) and only have three players — Mike Richards, Simon Gagne and Anze Kopitar — with seven goals or more.

Those ghastly numbers were enough for Kopitar to express frustration to Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider.

“I’d be lying if I said there was no frustration in the room. Everybody would like to score more goals,” Kopitar said. “Sometimes, for the guys, it’s almost better if you lose 5-4 than 2-1 or 1-0, because you have the sense that you did something out on the ice, that you did score a goal.”

Why L.A.’s scoring has fallen off a cliff is mysterious. Outside of a brutal, injury-ravaged season from Dustin Penner, the Kings have had all their offensive stars available. And it’s not like all the scorers are struggling — Kopitar is scoring at a point-a-game clip and prior to getting hurt, Richards was on pace for a career-high in goals.

That said, there are some theories as to why LA isn’t scoring:

— To acquire top-end talent like Richards and Gagne, the Kings were forced to jettison some of their depth. Last year’s key bottom-six guys (Wayne Simmonds, Michal Handzus, Alexei Ponikarovsky) are all playing elsewhere and their replacements (Ethan Moreau, Trent Hunter, Colin Fraser) have done zilch.

— Compounding the depth problem are guys that LA let walk or traded for nothing, like Matt Moulson (let walk as a FA), Teddy Purcell (traded for Jeff Halpern) and Brian Boyle (traded for a third-round pick) — all thriving with their new respective teams.

— GM Dean Lombardi told Hammond “we set out to put a strong defensive structure in place,” and “there’s no doubt in my mind that it starts back there and it’s critical for the playoffs.” This could be a case of a team sacrificing offense for defense, like what we’ve seen with Washington recently.

Ethan Moreau fined $2500 for hit from behind on Chris Kunitz

Ethan Moreau’s lucky to not be another statistic for NHL Director of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan. Moreau was fined $2,500 for hit hit from behind on Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz. The $2,500 is the maximum allowable under the CBA and that money goes to the NHL Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

For Moreau, it’s the first time he’s run afoul of the law at all in the NHL, so a fine isn’t out of the question. Of course now that he’s landed on the discipline radar, the next time something happens he won’t likely to wind up being so lucky. Being a first time offender hasn’t stopped Shanahan from levying a suspension already this season, so Moreau is doubly fortunate.

Moreau getting a two-minute penalty for the hit and then a fine should be enough to keep him flying on the straight and narrow the rest of the way. The question of whether that’s enough to deter future hits is out there and whether or not the punishment fits this crime as well. Shanahan is still busy setting a track record of his own and if other players get lit up for hits similar to this one there’s going to be complaints.

Of course, there are complaints no matter what so… Perhaps Shanahan is just playing the role of Sisyphus in all of this.

Another successful tryout: Kings sign Trent Hunter to one-year deal

Earlier today, Steve Staios was rewarded for a strong training camp with the Islanders on a tryout and given a one-year contract with the team. In Los Angeles, former Islanders forward Trent Hunter has done just the same inking a one-year contract with the Kings and locking down a spot in starting lineup.’s Pierre LeBrun reports the deal is worth $600,000.

Hunter spent eight seasons with the Islanders before being traded to the Devils this summer in the trade that sent Brian Rolston to Long Island. The Devils then bought Hunter out of his contract making him a free agent and after not getting any offers, he had to prove himself on a tryout with the Kings. Mission accomplished as Hunter had a great camp and beat out other hopefuls like Scott Parse for a job. Proper motivation can be a powerful thing and for Hunter the motivation to earn a contract got him to win a job.

Hunter will join another veteran in Ethan Moreau as older guys with experience to give L.A. the depth they need to be a major contender in the Western Conference. Instead of filling out ranks with guys from their AHL team that may not have been ready, guys like Moreau and Hunter give them NHL-experienced players to get the job done. The time is now to win in L.A. and having those kinds of players on the team help push that issue.