I was flabbergasted to see Doughty and Johnson paired together throughout the game against Dallas last night.
One would have thought that the stretches they played together so far would have put to rest any ambition of these two young guns being able to play well together at this stage of their careers. It’s an ambition we all share. I do not blame Murray for feeling the urge to play these two together. However, as is the case with his in-game adjustments (or lack thereof), I do blame Murray for not adapting to the evidence mounting before him.
Why do these two players, who can be so wonderful in their own rights, absolutely stink up the ice when both tapped on the shoulder at the same time?
- They are too young
- Though sometimes current and definite future stars in this league, neither of these players is ready to play without a safety valve.
- Offense, particularly in our lame system, stems only from good defense. Without their safety valve in Mitchell or Scuderi, the defensive game isn’t there to act as the prelude to offense. Which brings me too…
- Their breakouts suck
- Their spacing on puck retrievals in their own zone is awful. Since both are the type of player to lead the breakout, both try to play the same role on a given shift.
- As such, they get hemmed in their own.
- By the time they get the puck out, the neutral zone is congested and their offensive talents through any zone is neutered.
- This leads to the forwards having to generate zone entry, which immediately leads to the predictable cycle and once again, any talent Johnson and Doughty have is dead in the water before they even get to the word “draw”.
- Instead of generating more offense, both become less offensively effective. In this case, 1 + 1=0.
- If there is a place to pair them together, it is the powerplay.
- Yet we almost never see it except by accident. The PP pairings have consistently been Stoll-Doughty and Johnson-Martinez.
- If the point of the Doughty-Johnson pairing is to generate offense, and the powerplay is purely about offense, whereas 5-on-5 is also about defense, AND we have already established that both of their defensive games suffer when paired together, what the hell is the logic between pairing them together at even strength but not on the powerplay?
- Answer: There isn’t any. Its fucking insane.
- The future.
- Will this pairing we all want to see ever provide the results we expect?
- I believe they will, but not until one of them can be qualified, even loosely, under the category of ‘experienced vet’. This could take 2 years, it could take 5 years. There is no set limit on how many games it takes to play like an experienced vet. It could happen tomorrow… but it won’t. The point is that one of them needs to be at a level where they possess enough savvy of their own defensively to not need someone like Mitchell or Scuderi covering up for them.
- Expecting these two to be the future top pairing of the Kings does not mean they need practice at the pairing. One gets the feeling that Terry Murray is trying to prepare them to play together for years down the road.
- Once again, insanity is at play here. They need individual experience, not group experience. The experience needs to be of the proper nature, and that is to say they need the experience gained from playing with someone experienced. Clearly they the last two seasons with O’Donnell and Scuderi didn’t quite cut it.
- There is no reason to force them together until they are ready. We got Mitchell in large part so that both of these guys would have a vet to cover their offensively-driven asses. By pairing them together, Murray is undercutting Lombardi’s current design of the team.
I fully expect to continue to see these two paired together on a bi-polar basis. I also expect to have several large welts on my skull to match the dents in my wall.
Always and forever, even when bitter,
GO KINGS GO!