The Kings have shown some bad signs this season, but it’s got nothing to do with poster board.
Attention now turns to the Columbus Blue Jackets, who sit dead-last in the NHL‘s Central Division with a 3-5-1 record.
*New KingsCast TV – Episode 178 “What’s up with Mike Richards?”*
Jeff Carter will surely be flowered with arena-synchronized boo-birds from Blue Jackets’ faithful every time he touches the puck Tuesday night, much like he was on March 8th of last season. Meanwhile, an old friend will be skating in opposing colors – Jack Johnson.
This should all brew some blood flow for Tuesday night’s date.
Nationwide Arena – a hostile setting? I guess so? Kind of. It’s no joke these days for the Kings when they hit downtown Columbus, Ohio. Along with the nagging ‘Defending Stanley Cup Champions’ target the Kings carry to opposing buildings this season, toss in the return of Columbus’ much maligned Jeff Carter, and the second reunion with former King, and newest Columbus poster boy, Jack Johnson.
The Buckeye State foreshadows quite the dandy of a date.
Light on D, fine without “3″
Blue-line blues: The Kings remain without two of their primary defensemen Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene. Mitchell, who skated Monday at Toyota Sports Center, should return within the next couple of weeks. Greene is out indefinitely.
Even with this, Jack Johnson isn’t missed, and would not be the guy to fill the holes left by the two aforementioned players. Johnson, who offered a more offensive style, would be a bigger liability now that the Kings’ defensive scheme is terribly light.
For a player that was often found out of position in the defensive zone, and had trouble controlling himself in transition after offensive rushes, he’s a better fit elsewhere – especially with a team where he can log heavy minutes and play as a free spirit.
Speaking of minutes, the Columbus Blue Jackets are using Johnson for every penny he’s worth. As forwarded by Jon Rosen, Johnson logged 34:59 minutes of ice time Saturday night against the Detroit Red Wings. This is the most an NHL player has skated in a regular season game since Dan Boyle with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008.
Red Light: After Saturday night’s 7-4 drubbing by way of the Anaheim Ducks, both Kings goaltenders ended their night in ugly fashion. Jonathan Quick, who started in his seventh consecutive game this season, gave up two goals on Anaheim’s first three shots.
Darryl Sutter, who doesn’t like to do so, pulled his starting goaltender just 5:49 into the contest and granted Jonathan Bernier his first action of the campaign – his first NHL action since March 31st, 2012. Bernier didn’t do much better, but it’s easy to understand the Quebec native had a bit of rust on his pads.
Bernier allowed four goals on 21 shots, and the Anaheim Ducks went on to add an empty-net tally to finalize the scoring. A successful return to NHL action for Bernier would be a difficult feat even if he was given the start, with time to prepare. Instead, he was thrown into the mix in an off-guard fashion, against an Anaheim offense that has started extremely hot.
Columbus’ Nationwide Arena and the Kings’ Jonathan Bernier are quite familiar with each other. In the previous three dates the Kings have played in Columbus, Bernier has gotten the starting nod.
In those three games, Bernier was reliable with a 2-1-0 record. For Darryl Sutter, tonight’s goalie decision could be bigger than you think. If you start Jonathan Bernier, you give the guy much-needed playing time, in a familiar setting, and fresh off of Saturday night’s action.
Oh, and a chance to polish off the rust shown in Anaheim.
If Sutter decides to go with Jonathan Quick, that’s just as fair – as he is the Kings’ clear-cut #1 starter. You never want an early-exit situation to hangover with a goalie and flutter his confidence. I believe Quick is mentally stronger than that, and tonight’s choice will basically come down to a coin-flip type decision from head coach Darryl Sutter.
Jeff Carter, who the Kings acquired from Columbus, has three goals in seven games. The points will come, because Carter is creating opportunity. In these first seven games, he’s fired off 21 shots – an average of three per game.
Jack Johnson, who the Kings sent to Columbus, has one goal and two assists for three points in Columbus’ first nine games. And not a shocker here: Johnson has a -2 rating to go with it. However, he’s doing exactly what Columbus wants – logging ice, creating shots (25), blocking shots (13), and maybe most importantly, being a solid voice and leader in the Blue Jackets’ locker room.
After all, Johnson is donning an “A” on his sweater.
Just weeks prior to Jack Johnson‘s trade from the Kings to the Columbus Blue Jackets on February 23, 2012, he snuck Drew Doughty a beautiful split-second, split-decision pass. Johnson, who was often a textbook-style defenseman with the Kings, did show a different side with this instinctive tap to Drew Doughty to defeat the Blue Jackets.
Forgive me later
March 8, 2012: This date presented the first reunion between the Kings and Jack Johnson since his trade and five years in a Kings uniform. Johnson momentarily upset the Kings’ clawing ways to a playoff position, scoring the game-winning goal on Jonathan Bernier with just seconds left in the first period.
The Kings would go 6-1 in their next seven games, en route to a Stanley Cup Championship.
Give me directions to her place, Jacko
Hung to dry
Kids didn’t like Jack Johnson anyway.
And Jeff Carter bangs hot wives. He railed Scott Hartnell‘s hoochie.
Puck drops 4:00PM PST against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.
Have the radio dial set to 1150 KTLK-AM for that ride home from work.
Episode 178 KingsCast TV: What’s the deal with Mike Richards? – HERE
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