Dec 21, 2011, 6:19 PM EDT
The Wednesday Wake-Up Call is where we pick a struggling player and kindly ask him to SNAP OUT OF IT ALREADY. COME ON. YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS!
Jack Johnson, D, LA Kings
Key stats: 1G-2A-3PTS in last 15GP, minus-10 rating.
Cap hit: $4.35-million annually
It’s going to be really interesting to watch Johnson play under new head coach Darryl Sutter. The third overall pick in 2005 (taken behind Sidney Crosby and Bobby Ryan) has had his moments — his 42 points last year led all LA defensemen — but still catches heat for his questionable hockey IQ and frequent mental lapses.
[And by frequent, I mean FREQUENT. Johnson’s career rating is minus-88.]
That’s not something the new coach will to stand for. In his introductory presser, Sutter emphasized responsibility and awareness when discussing the razor-thin difference between winning and losing.
“There are little areas of the game that we can be a lot better at. ” Sutter said. “In the big part of it, this league is a 3-2 league. It’s not a 5-2 or a 5-4. It’s a 3-2 league. There’s still a tremendous amount of impact by being good defenders, and not spending as much time in your own zone, spending time in the offensive zone, controlling the neutral zone. ”
Getting Johnson to ‘play the right way’ could be a tall task for Sutter. Remember, it was only last year when Kings GM Dean Lombardi gave the infamous interview where he said Johnson “never had any coaching [at the University of Michigan]” and “just did what he wanted.”
“Jack was a thoroughbred out there,” Lombardi explained. “But he was all over the place. He was awful as a hockey player. As an athlete, you’re going, wow! Look at the way he skates, shoots, he can pass.
“But he had no idea where he was going.”
So wake up, Jack Johnson. Your team needs you.
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