Friday, March 30, 2007

Jack Johnson's Debut

The Big Bulis Rope-a-Dope
Photo: slam

While most of youse Easterlings were sleeping, Jack Johnson made his debut with the LA Kings. Yup, kid has nads of steel. On the night of his debut, young Elway-clone-with-attitude logged nearly 19 minutes of ice time and ran the point on many a PP. Not sure if that's evidence of his immediate impact or of the sorry state of the Kings blueline - probably a little of both. I jotted down some notes on the back of an envelope as I watched. Let's see if I can decipher them now:

First Period-Adrenaline Time

  • Johnson goes -1 in the first when he and his defensive partner overplay a puck down low. Tons of energy and that ubiquitous poo-eating grin for 20 minutes. Kid can change directions on a dime. Instantaneous acceleration and immediate power at the first stride.

Second Period-Test the Newb' Time

  • Jan Bulis cartwheels JJ at the blueline. Yeah it was legal, but Bulis basically got down on his hands and knees and then drove up into JJ's knee region finishing around the hip region. Kings broadcasters say it was clean. Kings broadcasters are weenies. Johnson pops up, bobbs his head to clear the cobwebs and gets right back into the flow. Scott Thornton goes after Bulis, but the Euro turtles and Thornton is sent to the box.

  • At the 9 minute mark, JJ gets caught up ice and then got away with a hook-pull down in front of the Kings net. I saw a lot more freelancing than I expected from a rookie defenseman in his debut.
Third Period-Hammer Time
  • Matt Cooke takes a run at JJ along the boards. Kid levels him with a shoulder lean. Cooke is a tool, nice of the rookie to remind him of place in hockey's caste system.

  • Moments later, Cooke retaliates with a elbow to Johnson's melon along the boards. Kings broadcasters used the term "shoulder," but again the Kings talking heads prove to be weenies. What I saw was JJ getting the pointy part of Cooke's arm in the temple. Johnson retaliates with a wicked slash. The two exchange recipes after the whistle, but nothing happens.

  • JJ's Tverdovsky-like puck cough leads to a Canucks empty netter to close out play.

Alternative Summaries:
Take A: Nuts and bolts, we got screwed.
Take B: Kid's going to be Bryan Berard with a mean streak. He'll score points and hurt some folks when he's healthy, but he'll spend much of his career at Walter Reed.

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