The Invincible M.A.E. (harleymae) wrote,
The Invincible M.A.E.

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I Google Kings news every day now and then. I should probably do a news alert, but having stuff about that hippie Hawaiian singer in my Inbox would irritate me. Anyway, it's usually something about JMFJ fucking up or Donuts being awesome, but this morning I came across this very unsettling bit of news:

Defensemen Willie Mitchell and Jack Johnson missed Friday's practice for a therapy day but are expected to play Saturday.

"Willie got a bruise in the start of the game [Thursday], and Jack just got into a situation where he was pushing off on a guy. He was kind of bent over and had a guy on him and he tried to stand up straight and a little bit of a strain there," Murray said.

He said Johnson's strain is to the lower body. Which narrows things down.

I am very, very, very uncomfortable with the level of detail that Terry Murray has on JMFJ's "lower body injury". *cries*

To make up for this, I did find a nice interview with him about the Olympics. :) (This is apparently an ESPN Insider article so it may not be publicly viewable)

Kings' Jack Johnson reflects on Olympics

There has been a lot going on in and around the Staples Center over the past few weeks. Lady Gaga came out of her shell to headline the Grammy Awards last Sunday. Then, after the arena crew broke-down the intricate Grammy sets, they prepared to host the NBA's upcoming All-Star Weekend.

Nearby, likely in a lovely L.A. conference room, some of the NHL's top executives are listening to pitches from several U.S. television outlets concerning the league's national rights package for next season and beyond, before heading to Calgary for Sunday's Heritage Classic. The eventual result of those discussions/negotiations will determine where American hockey fans will consume major events like the Winter Classic, the All-Star Game and, of course, the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

What there hasn't been in Los Angeles over the past few weeks is elite-level professional hockey.

With their home rink booked, the Los Angeles Kings have been left to roam North America since Feb. 1. At this point, they might want to stay on the road. Terry Murray's team is 5-0-3 in the first eight games of a 10-game road swing. They'll visit the New York Islanders on Saturday before heading back to Southern California to complete the trip against the rival Anaheim Ducks.

Last night, after the Kings' 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, I corralled Michigan-born Kings defender Jack Johnson for five questions (plus one follow-up) on his Olympic experiences, past and future, as well as USA Hockey's now annual "Hockey Weekend in America" initiative.

Here are five for Friday:

1. EJH: What is your lasting memory from the 2010 Winter Olympics?

Jack Johnson:
That's actually a tough one. There were so many great things: the opening ceremonies, closing ceremonies and, obviously, that gold medal game. I don't know if I'll ever play in a game of that magnitude again ... unless I play in another gold medal game. Being against Canada in Canada, I'm pretty proud to say I played in the biggest hockey game ever played.

2. EJH: Has it been hard to live with Kings teammate Drew Doughty since his Canadian team scored that gold medal-clinching OT win over you and your American mates?

He hasn't given me a hard time about it at all. He knows that game could have gone either way. We've had fun sharing memories of it, different experiences. He's got a couple jabs at me, but I also remind him that it took two games and an overtime to beat us.

3. EJH: Do you keep in touch with some of your Olympic teammates on different NHL teams?

It's not so much staying in touch with guys, but we connect when we see each other. Like tonight (Thursday), when I lined up against Ryan Callahan -- I'd never had the chance to play with him before the Olympics -- we talked a little. "Hi, how are you?" "Good to see you," that sort of thing. Then we played on from there. When we see each other it's kind of like time stood still and we forever have a special bond.

4. EJH: Do you think the league should allow the players to participate in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia?

I definitely want to go. Even if the NHL doesn't go, I'd do everything I could to go. I'm all for it. I think it's great for hockey. It's great for the players who are in it and it's a great break for the players who aren't in it. I don't think there's any downside to it. I understand ownership is part of it, but I'm gonna go.

5. EJH: This is "Hockey Weekend in America," an initiative by USA Hockey to help grow the game. Do you like the idea?

Definitely. Hockey is growing. It's not as big as I think it could be in the United States, but I think it's a great thing. I think hockey's a great sport. I think it's catching on here more and more. I know growing up, I fell in love with it immediately, so I know there are a lot of other kids that would, too.

(Bonus question) EJH: Is there anything stunting the growth of the game in the U.S.?

I think the biggest detriment to the growth is the cost. It's so expensive. I know, growing up, when the one-piece sticks came out, when I would break one, my parents would cringe in the stands. That's one reason why it hasn't grown like it could have -- it's an expensive sport. Unfortunately, that's the way it is. I don't know if there's anything you can do to fix that. That's my take on it.

I know it's just an expression, but, living with Doughty? Hee! Also, I like how he starts with, yeah, I definitely want to go in 2014 and then ends with I'm going whether you like it or not, motherfuckers!

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