Surly & Scribe’s L.A. Kings Season Preview – The Defensemen

It’s September and the best part about September is that it is almost October. The 2011-2012 NHL season is on the horizon.

I generally find season previews annoying, mostly because they all say the same thing. Here is how they go: This player performed ___ last season. This season, we expect ____ from him because of ____. If the writer wants to add a little credibility to the opinions, he or she throws in a few stats. Screw that. I have something else in mind. Each defenseman will be evaluated within the parameters below and each such parameter is solely within our arbitrary and capricious discretion. Let’s get started.

1. At his best
2. At his worst
3. If only he
4. If I were to fight him
5. If Surly were to run from him

Jack Mother F’Ing Johnson

At his best, Jack is a top six forward (not a typo) who plays an efficient two-way game. If you are frustrated with Jack because he is not the prototypical defenseman, you’re a dummy. Judge him by standards consistent with his skill set – a force on the powerplay, offensive upside through the universe and the potential to not be a liability on defense. If he reaches that potential, we will have one of the best offensive defensemen in the league on our blue line.

At his worst, he is Terry Murray’s nightmare – aggressive pinches at the wrong time, giving the inside to rushing forwards, letting cross ice passes get through and, on the offensive side, sending slap shots high and wide.

If only he would focus less on strength and speed on defense and more on positioning & angles and use his lower body to gain leverage on the checks and pins along the boards.

If I were to fight him, distance would be key. I am an athlete as well, so his strength wouldn’t initially overwhelm me but I am guessing there is no way I survive if he gets a hold me long enough – enter cheating and cheap shots – if I can sweep the legs and do some damage while he is down, I may not get killed.

If Surly were to run from him, he wouldn’t get very far. Jack isn’t just big and strong, the Mother F’er is fast so I am thinking he has Surly in the first 10 steps and there is little left of my co-writer by the 6th punch.

Willie Mitchell

At his best, his style resembles water boarding torture – relentless and suffocating. He is the porn star of the hockey world with his long stick. Willie Mitchell was my favorite defenseman last season, until his injury.

At his worst, he is injured or just returning from injury and therefore playing tentative…or not playing at all.

If only he would remain healthy, we would have a rock solid defensive defenseman in our top 4. Mitchell is the glue that keeps the defense together.

If I were to fight him, he would laugh at my jokes and take me fishing.

If Surly were to run from him, he would catch Surly and invite him fishing…because that’s the kind of upstanding guy Willie is.

Rob Scuderi

At his best, Scuderi is a poor man’s Nicklas Lidstrom – exceptional positioning on defense, cuts down the angles better than any other Kings’ defenseman, clears the front of the net and doesn’t overcommit to any play. Now, he comes with no offensive upside, but who cares. That’s not in his job description.

At his worst, he struggles in the rough and tumble games. While Scuderi is no slouch, the most effective way of neutralizing him is playing him hard and physical.

If only he would teach that positioning skill to Jack Johnson…Jack would win a Norris.

If I were to fight him, I would wear a “support our troops” ribbon and talk about my positive experiences with law enforcement. We would become best friends.

If Surly were to run from him, he would probably let Surly go while he and I point and laugh.

Matt Greene

At his best, he is a young Matty Norstrom – defensively competent, physical, a leader on and off the ice. When the game slows down, Greene excels.

At his worst, he has a slow first step, poor mid range speed and is a liability when shutting down creative offensive forwards who stay away from the boards.

If only he would get faster – goodness, what a defenseman he could be if he had speed.

If I were to fight him, I would borrow Willie Mitchell’s stick and at all times maintain a distance of 6 feet.

If Surly were to run from him, Greener would probably crack jokes the entire chase, force Surly to slow down due to laughter and then pummel him.

Alec Martinez

At his best, he has flashes of a top 4 defenseman within him – great speed, especially mid-range (with a beautiful glide), an accurate shot, deft passing, solid defensive instincts, willingness to hit and be hit and a swagger all his own.

At his worst, he is a reliable bottom pairing defenseman. The kid has very new negatives. What a difference a year makes.

If only he can keep improving, he would be interchangeable between top 4, bottom 2 and could fit in any circumstance – power play, penalty kill, 5 on 5, defensive role, you name it.

If I were to fight him, I would kick his butt. Period.

If Surly were to run from him, I would tell Surly to turn around and go kick his butt.

Drew Doughty

Words cost money, especially great ones. I have been writing for you for 2 years. That is 2 years of quality material that has kept you informed, entertained and yearning for more. Here we are again. You are reading this article and enjoying it, as you should. But what about me? What’s in it for me? Where is my pay-day? Don’t tell me you’ll buy me a beer. Screw you and your beer. Is that what I am worth to you? A beer? I have paid my dues. I deserve more than, “hey, great article, Scribe” or “Brilliant, amazing, Chaucer has nothing on you”. I want financial remuneration, long-term, something that will take care of me and mine for a very long time. If you want to keep receiving the same prose, then prepare to pay the price. No deal in principles here…just good old-fashioned greed.

Drew Doughty’s replacement

At his best (this season), he would fit nicely in the bottom pairing role while Martinez shows his stuff in the top 4. He will give Terry Murray options so when Murray needs the size and strength out there, he will fit in. When Terry needs more of an offensive upside, he goes to Martinez.

At his worst, he will make mental mistakes. That just comes from youth and inexperience but, with time, comes that experience and I expect he will get better as the season progresses.

If only he can shine from day 1 and make Drew Doughty, in the short-term, look expendable. Nobody in their right mind would want Doughty replaced by any of our prospects during the season’s long haul but, for my team, I don’t want to see them miss a step as a result of Drew’s absence.

If I were to fight him, his mom Judy would kick my butt.

If Surly were to run from him, Judy would scream, “keep running!”

Who am I writing about here? Come on. The kid has skills. He has only begun to show them.

GO KINGS!



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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25 replies

  1. “At his best, Jack is a top six forward who plays an efficient two-way game. ”

    Wait….what?

    • Jack…offense…more of a forward than a defenseman at times…humor…go to bed. You’ve had a long day.

      • That’s more like at his worst…since he stops playing defense to play forward. At his best, he’s Drew’s replacement.

        Jake Muzzin’s mom is Judy.

        I understood what you were trying to say, but you missed the mark. ;)

        • I got your mark right here…Jack and Drew are different kinds of defensemen. It took me a couple of seasons to realize that but the more I watch them, the more I see they have different upsides. The best players excel at their strengths and strengthen their weaknesses – they do not try and become something they are not bred and built to become.

          • Not saying Jack and Drew are the same, just that Jack is the #1 when Drew is out. Jack played his best hockey when Drew was out with his concussion.

            Kings are weaker without Drew, no doubt about it, but it wouldn’t be catastrophic if he misses camp or a few games.

  2. Willie Mitchell was my favorite defenseman last season, until his injury.

    … That’s because he hasn’t been a King long enough for King fans to hate him – yet. Give him another year.

    At his best, Scuderi is a poor man’s Nicklas Lidstrom

    … Uhhhh, what?!?!? A poor man’s offensive defenseman?

    I’d say he’s more of a Sylvain Lefebvre or a Joe Reekie, maybe a poor man’s Rod Langway.

    At his worst, he has a slow first step, poor mid range speed and is a liability when shutting down creative offensive forwards who stay away from the boards.

    … Greene’s biggest liability to me is his hockey sense; specifically, his ability to read and react to how much time he has (or doesn’t have). This usually leads to Matt throwing the puck away in his own zone because he’s rushing a play when he has more than enough time to chip it safely out of danger, or throwing the puck into the corner in the offensive zone when he has more than enough time to creep in and take a shot on net or make a pass.

    • Greener is hit and miss with his hockey sense. Game slows down. he is fine. Game speeds up and you are right, but so much of that is not “sense” as it is the inability of options because he cannot carry / skate the puck out of the zone or at least skate it out of trouble and make that transition pass.

  3. As a Kings fan, it amazes me how Jack Johnson’s consistently dreadful play gets overlooked by adoring fans who believe he is somehow this great defenseman despite all evidence to the contrary. What do people like about his play? He was a -21 last season! Thats pretty bad. More importantly, JJ led the team in even strength minutes but scored only 13 of his 42 points at 5 on 5. In fact, he was the ONLY Kings D-man in the minus (excluding Drewiske at -1).

    There is no way that JJ should be locked in to such a long-term contract ($4.3m per through 2017-18…gulp). That contract will be an albatross for years to come for the organization, spending all that money on a minus defenseman who only produces while on the PP…..sounds familiar, like say Wade Redden and Sheldon Souray? Its time people stop talking about what he will or might become and look soberly at what he is (now beginning his 5th NHL season)….and thats average at best and brutal at its worst.

    • it amazes me how Jack Johnson’s consistently dreadful play gets overlooked by adoring fans who believe he is somehow this great defenseman despite all evidence to the contrary. What do people like about his play?

      … I’m at the point where I don’t think it has anything to do with his play, it’s more about him signing a long deal with the Kings; him signing Dean’s deal. It gives the Lombardi apologists something to crow about, I guess?

      • This took me a second but I got it. You see kids, with JT’s comments, if you work backwards from insults directed at the fans and Lombardi’s everything and every time incompetence according to Dutch, the rest of it falls into place. It’s like reading from right to left…it just takes time.

    • Does JJ make some boneheaded plays? Yeah but everyone does. The kid’s got skills. If this is the year he finally breaks out, he’s gonna be brutal. Seems to me he wants to be here and play to win the cup. Unlike some other primadonnas I know of.

    • Or play hockey… Except halpern an matthieu schneider.

    • [comment redacted because it could be offensive to certain races. Sorry Dom. We love you but that went a bit too far. I know you didn't mean it that way. You are a veteran on this site and one of the best]

      • I didn’t. I understand and do not take it personal, or did I mean to offend anyone personally. I was just pointing out stereo types that are false.

  4. hahahahahahahahaha @ the doughty description

  5. My wish list:

    1) A young, mean (very) version of Scuderi – the kind of fellow who takes serious offense at anyone who approaches his goaltender and is able and prepred to do something about it (see
    Bolland cross-check Sedin’s (who cares which one) mouth after Sedin fucked around with
    Crawford in the crease after the whistle was blown. Bolland got “roughing” and Sedin got called for taking a dive (! – I love NHL playoff officiating. McSorley/Diduk all over again)).
    An effective positional defenseman who likes to play up a little higher would also be gold.

    2) Speaking of Bolland, a young guy, probably a bit bigger than Mitchell, who can “mark”
    talented scorers/passers inside the blue line. I mean really crawl into their shorts (figuratively, of course) and give them no room to move. As you say, suffocate them. If he’s a mean fucker (I like this in defensemen) then all the better. This role can, obviously be filled by a forward, perhaps better. Johnson and something for Bolland? – they probably wouldn’t trade him, period.

    My motto for defensemen: “Where the fuck you think you’re goin’?” (Ron Hextall, I know you
    understand me here). I wish for defensemen who create misery – that drain the enthusiasm of goal -scorers for crossing OUR blue line. Beating them means making them want to quit. The Bruins were admirable in this regard – I don’t think Van even wanted to play game 7.

  6. Scuderi is a rich man’s Scuderi. He’s where he’s supposed to be, does what he’s supposed to do, and scores once every geologic age.

    The season before last I wanted Martinez taken out into the parking lot, forced to his knees, and a bullet fired into the base of his skull. If he can improve again as much as he did in a single year from ’09-10 to ’10-11, my only worry is where we’re gonna find space for the Young Lions in Manchester.

    What we need is to get compromising photos of Doughty — you know, some 8×10 glossies of him with his dick up a Cocker Spaniel’s ass. Stuff we can threaten to expose to the media if he won’t play ball. Then he’ll jump at DL’s offer.

    • If I am not mistakes, this is the first time bestiality has been discussed here…

      • Actually……..Jamie Kompon is Terry Murray’s DOG, and Kompon’s been fuckin the fans and the skill out of all our players, so there may have been a mention on the down low…..

  7. That Judy Voynov is not one to mess with… or … is she???? Huh Huh?

    God I’m tired.

  8. My Wish…….

    That all teams GM’s are also as delusioned about Jack MF Johnson and offer up their 1st line wingers, 1st round draft picks and video review of their Daughters having sex with their teams ice crew………given to all fans at the staples center box office season with the purchase of a 300 section ticket.

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