Kings’ Williams expects ‘dirtier’ play from top players
After four up-and-down games, the Los Angeles Kings expect more from Anze Kopitar and their top line, so winger Justin Williams suggests that they add a little sandpaper.
“I’ve talked to Kopi [about] our 5-on-5 play, and we’re just going to get a little bit dirtier,” Williams said to LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen on Friday. “Play ourselves like grinders.”
The Kings are set to face Williams’ former team (/ex-girlfriends?) the Carolina Hurricanes tonight.
Kopitar’s four assists aren’t anything to sneeze at, but perhaps he’ll need to “get to the dirty areas” to score his first goal of the 2013-14 campaign (he’s 0 for 10 shots so far). Kopitar, Dustin Brown (two goals) and Williams (one goal) have fewer goals than Jeff Carter’s team-leading four, and only seven Kings have found the net, so it’s obvious that L.A. leans heavily on its top-six forwards.
Williams isn’t the only person asking for more elbow grease from talented players.
Slava slacking off?
Head coach Darryl Sutter was critical of defenseman Slava Voynov’s offseason efforts.
“He could’ve done more work this summer, and he’s going to have to do some more work to get his minutes back,” Sutter said.
Voynov, 23, is indeed averaging less ice time this season (20:11 per game) than in 2013 (22:18), something that was especially evident when he received less than 17 minutes of time against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday. It’s tough to argue with Sutter when you look at Voynov’s numbers: zero goals, one assist, just five shots on goal and a -2 rating in four contests.
Simply put, the Kings need consistent production from Voynov after signing him to a hefty contract extension.
No one’s really bashing Jonathan Quick’s work just yet, but the Kings could definitely use some steadier play from their franchise goalie, too.