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PLAYER FEATURE: MIKE JOHNSON

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
Every other Monday during the month of September Kings Associate Coach Mike Johnston will post his journal of thoughts on the weeks upcoming and past events. Be sure to check out each entry.


Mike Johnson Journal Entry Two | Read Entry One
September 25, 2006

I think in any coaching situation, you try to have a staff with different strengths. You try to have a staff all on the same page as far as the philosophy of the team and what you want to do, but at the same time, you like a staff with different strengths.

I think some of my strengths compliment Marc's (Crawford) and we tried to put together a staff that has complimentary strengths to ours. But at the same time, we also wanted similar philosophies on how we want the guys to play, how we want the guys to be trained and how we want the guys to be coached.

We talk a lot about our trademarks and our habits. Those are the key things. The system that you play is one thing, and we will definitely have a set fore-check, a set way we back check and a set plan for defensive zone coverage. But it's more about trademarks and habits, and that's what we have to ingrain into our players initially.

Marc and I like an up-tempo style of game. We like a pressing, working type of game. We like an active defense into the offense, and we like a responsible team defensively. We're going to push players to defend hard and we're going to push players to make quicker decisions when they have the puck, while at the same time being responsible with the puck. You can't win at the NHL level without being solid defensively but our style is still going to be up-tempo.

If we play an up-tempo style, we're going to force people to catch us. We're going to keep our feet moving and be the type of team that draws penalties and puts people in penalty trouble. The other end of that is you've got to make sure you convert on the special teams once you have that opportunity. We want to play that style that really pushes teams into an uncomfortable position where they have to hook and they have to hold and they have to interfere.

I know from my experience, you have to start well in this league. So a lot of energy goes into training camp and the start of the season. Then I believe it's just a continual push, so if you get a couple of days off here and there, you've got to recognize that as a player and as a coach and take the time to get away from the rink for a little bit. It's all about energy in our league. With 82 games and the type of travel that West Coast teams have, it's about keeping your energy levels up all of the time. That's really a challenge.

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