If you are reading this you have already read the other Kings blogs and you have seen the irate comments venting all over Ted Purcell. Ted Purcell is lost. Ted Purcell falls down. Ted Purcell is not NHL calibre. Ted Purcell shouldn't be on the first line. Ted Purcell has naked pictures of Terry Murray. This, and every comment ever made last season about Kyle Calder now with Ted Purcell search/replaced in.
Ted Purcell is a rookie with something like 87 NHL games under his belt. He is not doing anything at all offensively this season. He has been solid on the other side of the puck, but he is infected with the worst case of goal-scoring blue balls I have ever seen. It's easy to blame him for not "making the most of his opportunity." The opportunity being playing on the first line with Kopitar. But in order for that to be an opportunity, Kopitar would have to be playing well, and he's not.
He's in the middle of a 20-something game scoring drought, in which he's scored twice. Teddy Purcell has been on his line for 2.5 games. Teddy Purcell is a rookie who has not yet found his "game." Maybe he never finds it. I bet he does. Somewhere else. But I can't shake the feeling that playing with Kopitar is not so much Murray's attempt to jump-start Purcell as it is Murray's (maybe unconscious?) attempt to jump-start Kopitar. And that's messed up.
Look at the evidence. Everyone's always trying to "find someone to play with" Kopitar. Who have we seen? O'Sullivan. Okay, he has his own problems; but that didn't work. Moulson. He was derided endlessly for wasting all of our time on the first line for ten minutes last year. Brown; he's bugging me, too; but at least they used to have chemistry. Now they have to be separated. (I advocated for the separation and still think it's correct, but you have to add Brown to the list of RW1 casualties). Now Purcell.
Don't get me wrong. Purcell is not playing well. But remember how old Robert Lang bounced around and was one of those (Purcell-ish) fairly big bodies with lots of skill but with something missing supposedly until he found himself on Jagr's wing and the all of the sudden he's got 600-700 points in the NHL. That's the way it's supposed to work. Kopitar is supposed to Jagr-up Teddy. Because Kopitar is the 6-7 million dollar man. He's our Jagr.
Except maybe he's not. Yeah, yeah, he's 22. But, really, so what. Purcell is 24 and everyone says he's too old to still be learning. And Kopitar makes the big bucks, and wears an A, and is on billboards. He should be able to get Teddy a few goals or at least a "helper" or two. Why can't he?
[BONUS ADDED PARAGRAPH FROM THE MORNING AFTER:] Think back on the games right after Smyth went down. Who was winning those games for us? Remember it was Kopitar, Brown, Frolov (and Purcell) who went into huge droughts, while games were being won by timely goals from the likes of Parse, Richardson, Simmonds, Doughty, Johnson, Jones...also Stoll, who was jump-started by Parse. Everyone but the big guns. And then Simmonds and Jones and Stoll got hurt. If you see the pattern, it's not pretty.
Simmonds did all right as Kopitar's RW, in the few games he filled in when Williams went down the first time. But Simmonds had to return to his place on the real first line of Parse/Moller/Simmonds. Murray has basically figured out that Brown is an ideal third liner and has placed him accordingly with Handzus and Frolov. I expect we'll see Moller tried next, with Richardson stepping into the C2 slot.
And Kopitar has returned to his 08-09 form, where he gets the puck and I wish his line wasn't even on the ice. Two months ago, driving to the net like he was worth the money. Now, no.