Kings Gameday, Part III of III: Jonesin' for More Jones?





So, Randy Jones is playing toni-


 

Whoa whoa whoa, buddy, calm down.  I didn't even know you could get this site on a Game Boy.  What I was saying was, Randy Jones is playing tonight and it's not necessarily a bad thing.  Randy Jones isn't a terrible #6 defenseman; in fact, he's probably pretty good at it.  The problem is that Jones has been used as a #3 defenseman when he's been on the ice.  The problem wasn't Jones, it was Mark Hardy and by extension Terry Murray. Hopefully they'll use Jones like they've used Peter Harrold and the Jones will be fine.

The Kings generally like their first 5 defensemen to have specific roles:

Drew Doughty- #1 defenseman.  Does everything.

Jack Johnson-  Even-strength and penalty kill 2nd unit.

Rob Scuderi- Even-strength cover for Doughty and penalty kill 2nd unit.

Matt Greene- Penalty kill 1st unit, secondary shutdown unit.

Sean O'Donnell- Penalty kill 1st unit, secondary shutdown unit.

The 6th defenseman would ideally be able to play on the power play and then at even strength to give everyone else a rest along with Jack Johnson.  That's the role that Randy Jones filled for most of the season.  That's the role he played in Game 1, when he had more even strength time on ice than Drew Doughty.  (Ed. Note- AAAHHHHHHHHH)  The problem is, Jones sucks at it.  He simply can not play a consistent shift at even strength without costing the Kings a goal or two.  The question is, how do you fix that?  Peter Harrold was the answer, but he gave up a brutal turnover in the 1st period of the last game that led to a goal and was benched by the end of the 2nd, so he's out.  What now?

I think the answer is to shorten the bench, like the Kings did in game 3:

Players EV TOI PP TOI PK TOI
Doughty 20:23 1:50 2:46
Johnson 17:31 1:50 1:04
Scuderi 17:32 0:00 2:48
Greene 18:54 0:00 4:11
O'Donnell 19:14 0:00 3:05
Harrold 8:55 0:00

0:00

 

In game 3, the Kings pretty much stapled Harrold to the bench and used Doughty, Johnson and one of either Greene or O'Donnell in a rotation.  One of those defensemen were on the ice at all times during the game.  O'Donnell and Greene were usually out there together, but both took additional shifts with Johnson and Doughty after penalty kills and in important situations.  O'Donnell and Greene are not perfect but they're big and they're mean and they can get away with the little things they let you get away with during the playoffs.  They're going to be playing a much bigger role as these playoffs go on.  They need to fill the role that was once filled by Jones along with their old roles.  Hey, it's the playoffs, you wanna live forever?

Of course, the Kings shouldn't play exactly like they played in game 3; seeing Jack Johnson on the ice more would be good.  Randy Jones will re-take Harrold's place tonight and will hopefully play somewhere between the 21 minutes he played in game 1 and the 9 minutes Harrold played on Monday.  14 minutes sounds about right.  He can skate the easy shifts with Jack Johnson while Sean O'Donnell or Matt Greene skate the hard ones.  Jones isn't that bad, he's just not good.  I mean, he's better than Harrold.  Giving him easy minutes might go a long way to keeping the Kings fresh and in the game.  Hey, he might even score!

...OK, I guess that's asking for a little too much.

Prediction: Kings win, 2-1.  Goals by Smyth and Handzus (PP).  The Kings get a 5-minute power play when Kevin Bieksa stops Ryan Smyth from going to the front of the net by pulling a gun on him.

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