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Dreger: Kings management planning to 'stay the course... for now'

Todd McLellan Los Angeles Kings Todd McLellan Los Angeles Kings - The Canadian Press

While the Los Angeles Kings continue to struggle with just two wins in their past 14 games, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reports changes do not appear imminent for the franchise.

"Drew Doughty spoke honestly and directly last night. However, the plan this morning is for management to stay the course…for now." Dreger posted on X Thursday. 

The Kings lost 5-3 to the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday despite holding a 3-1 lead less than 10 minutes into the game.

“I think we’ve got guys in this room who are too worried about themselves and worried about their points and worry about stuff like that,” Doughty said after the loss. “We had a 3-1 lead tonight, and guys started thinking it’s a cookie night, and we stopped playing the way we know how to play.

“We have an awful second period and then aren’t much better in the third. It’s about the team. It’s not about yourself, and a lot of guys on this team, we need to realize that.”

“What I’m seeing is we’re not playing as a team right now,” Kings captain Anze Kopitar added. “We’re worried about scoring goals too much and not buying into the stuff that made us successful the first 30, 35 games of the year. And it’s frustrating, so we’re going to have to correct it and we’re going to have to correct it in a hurry.”

Head coach Todd McLellan, who received a vote of confidence from general manager Rob Blake last week, also sounded off on his team's performance against the Sabres. 

"That’s unacceptable. We’re up 3-1. We’re maybe not playing our best, but the stupidity that went into that loss is unexplainable," he said. "I haven’t until now been able to come in and say, ‘Boy, we played really dumb.’ And that’s what we did.”

The Kings, who have a 2-7-5 since Dec. 28, continue to hold the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference, but have just a three-point cushion on the St. Louis Blues, who are currently outside the playoff picture. 

McLellan was asked once again Wednesday about his job security and vowed to continue to work to find the success the team enjoyed early in the campaign. 

"If I was sitting in your seat and you were standing here, I’d ask you that,” McLellan said. “I’m responsible for this. And when you looked at the team that played the first 25, 30 games, it doesn’t look like the team that’s playing right now. And I’m responsible for it.

“Our staff is doing what we can or what we believe we can to get them to turn it around. We’re trying different things at different times. But I’m going to keep pushing away. I’m going to try and push buttons, poke people, praise people, look at how we do things.

“Our numbers - our underlying numbers - say we’re more the first-half team than the second-half team, but the winning column doesn’t say that, and that’s all that matters. So, it’s a very fair question.”

The Kings have three games remaining before the All-Star break, starting Friday against the Avalanche, with a key matchup against the Blues to follow on Sunday.