Inside the box score

So, what did everyone think? Actually, that’s a dangerous question, because it’s not fair to evaluate Jack Johnson, or anyone for that matter, after one game. He had so much to deal with, not just in terms of playing with an entirely new group of teammates but simply just in living his dream, for goodness sake. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to dress for your first NHL game. That said, I think Johnson, and the Kings, will be happy with his game as far as a first effort. He played 18 minutes, 45 seconds, a solid total, and got much more power-play time than I expected. He only took one shot, which probably disappointed a lot of people, but that will come.

How about Bulis going after Johnson in the second period? And Thornton going after Bulis? If you don’t think that speaks volumes, you don’t know anything about team sports. There was a thought in the back of my mind about Johnson. I wondered if any of the Kings might harbor a slight bit of jealousy over all the attention that has come Johnson’s way. Thornton’s actions negate any thoughts I might have had on that subject.

Derek Armstrong returned to the lineup and played almost 15 minutes, but Rob Blake missed the game with the same neck issue that cost him a game last week. I’ll have to check tomorrow and see how much of an issue that is. Seems like Johnson played most of the game in a pairing with Heward. I’d have to assume that Blake would be his regular partner, but I’ll also find that out tomorrow.

Sean Burke’s ever-growing goals-against average took another hit, although not a big one because his GAA is already close to 3.00. Burke has allowed at least three goals in each of his last 11 full games. I long ago stopped putting too much thought into how many “bad goals” a goalie allowed, because I think the defense is often a huge factor, but numbers do mean SOMETHING, and Burke’s aren’t good, especially since he only faced 21 shots.

Dustin Brown continues to impress. I’ve always felt that if he could find a way to put pucks in net on a regular basis, he’d be a very valuable all-around player. Seems like he’s closer to that than ever.

Kopitar got back on the board with a goal, his first since Feb. 24. I think he’s been a bit gun-shy because of his recent back problems, which is to be expected, so maybe this goal will get him going again.

I’ve got nothing too insightful tonight, folks. I’m sick and it’s time for NyQuil induced zzzzzzzz’s.

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  • GMatsuda

    Sick? No wonder I didn’t see you in the media room, press box, etc. Get well soon!

    Yes, Johnson looked good for a first game right out of college hockey. Nothing spectacular, but no one should have been expecting the next coming of Bobby Orr. He played a solid game and seemed to be extra cautious at times…but hardly anyone isn’t that in their first NHL game.

    After talking with Johnson after the game, he is very well-spoken, although more soft-spoken and humble than I expected after all the hype.

    And he’s definitely not 6-1. I’m 5-9, and he can’t be more than 2 inches taller than I am. He might be 6-0, but just barely. I’m thinking more like 5-11. But he’s definitely got one hell of a physical build. Looks like a strong kid for his size.

    And I agree with you about Burke. The party is definitely over. He is clearly not what he was when he first arrived. No one can criticize him for what he did for this team. But lately, he has been average, at best. Some of the goals he has allowed recently probably shouldn’t be blamed on him. But there have been more than earlier in the season, and I thought he looked a bit slow to react to Pyatt’s backhand from the slot for the Canucks’ third goal.

  • Ernest

    Exacvtl what I expected from Johnson tonight. Just get the feet wet and learn a little about the game before training camp. I think he will learn alot over the next 5 games and be at a definate advantage next year in camp.

    Loved the young guns out there taking over tonight. Lots of Cammy, Frolov, Brown, and O’Sullivan stepping up and playing big.

    I agree with Burke but he did what he needed to do. Gave this team a spark and has really got the team looking more like a team. Seemed like there wasnt much chemistry before he got here. Hopefuly the young guns continue to grow because our net looks like a huge question mark over the next few years. We need them to step up so we win alot of 6-5 games.

  • http://letsgokings.com Mike

    You’ve got a new fan in me, Rich. I love your insight. Keep up the good work! Hopefully, you keep up with your blogs during the offseason, too, and give us the scoop LaKings.com will never give.

  • Rich Hammond

    Gann…thanks for the get-well wishes and thanks to those who added their insight from last night. Good observation about Johnson’s height. I guess I get immune to that, because teams do it all the time. Jack does seem like a good guy. He’s been very helpful to the media so far.

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