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Wednesday Wake-Up Call: Jack Johnson

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.

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

Torres apologizes to Silfverberg and Sharks


A statement from Raffi Torres:

“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”

A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:

“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”

Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.