The weirdness of seeing Todd McLellan behind the bench for the Los Angeles Kings has mostly worn off by now. Sure, there are flashes of confusion every so often, but that weird jolt you get when you see him is mostly gone by now.
I can’t say the same for those pictures in the preseason of Darryl Sutter with the Ducks, but that might take time for all of us to collectively get over.
One thing that’s helped ease the transition to acceptance is how candid McLellan is in his post-game comments. John Stevens taking over the helm was refreshing after years of “Yes,” “No,” “Two points, leave town” quips from Sutter, who was as tight-lipped about his team as his former GM was loquacious.
(Can’t lie; I desperately miss reading quotes from Dean Lombardi.)
Stevens gave way to Willie Desjardins, who said nothing largely because there was nothing to say about a team that didn’t buy in, from a coach who couldn’t implement a system or a culture change.
So McLellan — being honest about his team’s shortcomings, speaking openly about getting players back on track — is an unexpected breath of fresh air in the way he talks about this team and in the way he gives the impression that he believes wholeheartedly that they can be even better.
Will the team tire of him eventually? Will he get snippy with reporters at some point? Probably; such is the way of pro sports. But for now, watching the Kings buy in to a system and be supported by their coach in their success is making this season worth watching.
Two whole consecutive wins! [Jewels from the Crown]
Post-game quotes and reactions from Todd McLellan, Anze Kopitar, Kurtis MacDermid, and Austin Wagner. [LA Kings Insider]
On October 23, 1979, Marcel Dionne became the first @LAKings’ player to score four goals in a game in a 7-4 win against the Colorado Rockies. The Triple Crown line of Dionne, Charlie Simmer and Dave Taylor combined to score nine points against the Rockies.#LAKings #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/o2F2DKXgdM— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) October 23, 2019
The Wisconsin Badgers, home of prospect Alex Turcotte, are the College Hockey News Team of the Week. [College Hockey News]
Goalie prospect Jacob Ingham is putting up big numbers but also maybe stop making him face so many shots, eh, Kitchener?
Arthur Kaliyev talks about all his goals:
Elsewhere in the World
When is it okay to reach out to a player you previously knocked out? [The Athletic]
The Boston Pride are undefeated. Who will challenge them this year? [The Ice Garden]
Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau sit down for an interview together where they finish each other’s sentences, so that’s pretty great. [The Athletic]
Matt Dumba and Haydn Fleury both honor a late friend with body art and efforts to increase awareness about mental health issues. [NHL]
What’s in a name? Despite being given pronunciation guides, announcers at recent PWHPA showcase games struggled to pronounce players’ names. [Hockey in Society]
This article isn’t about hockey at all, rather, it’s a deep dive into Slovenia’s support of NBA player Luka Dončić. But as a site with a vested interest in the country of Slovenia, it’s worth a read. [The Athletic]
With only two games on the agenda tonight, we recommend the Pittsburgh Penguins/Tampa Bay Lightning game, because at least those are two competent teams. Yes, glass houses and stones and all, but really, come on. Do you legit want to watch Ottawa/Detroit? Thought not. Pittsburgh/Tampa Bay airs at 5:00 p.m. Pacific on NBCSN.