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PLAYER JOURNAL: MIKE JOHNSTON

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings

Every other Tuesday 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 Johnston Journal Entry One
September 12, 2006

I think this time of the year is much like the start of school for kids. It's an exciting time for us because we're getting back into the swing of things after a period of time off. It's much different for myself this time around because I'm coming in with a new team and we're dealing with the challenges of a brand new staff and a lot of new faces in the locker room.

I think the excitement of getting into camp and just seeing where your players are at is what its all about for coaches. We're just trying to get a measuring stick of where our young guys are at right now and where we project them for the future. That's what we're trying to do as a staff during the course of the rookie tournament.

We're taking a look at these guys in game action and in practice situations. From that, we'll try and make the players feel comfortable and allow them to show us what brought them here to us. Allow them to show us what the scouts saw in them when they were identified as prospects. We'll give an evaluation to the players at the end of camp and hopefully most of them will move on to the main camp.

We never had an opportunity like this in Vancouver. The luxury of seeing players in games early in camp is tremendous. You get to know them as a player a lot better by watching them in games because, as a coach, when I'm on the ice with them for practice, I'm concerned about the way the drill is going and the instruction of the drill. When I'm in the stands and watching them in game-like situations, I get to know the player a little bit better by stepping back away from the ice surface. I'll be able to do that during the rookie tournament because our minor league coaches are behind the bench.

It was really Dean (Lombardi) and Marc (Crawford) who put of current staff together. And when I'm talking staff, I'm talking about the coaches and our extended staff. I worked with Marc for the last seven years in Vancouver and before that we first connected with the Canadian Olympic team. I coached Nelson (Emerson) for one World Championship. I heard a lot about Jamie (Kompon) coming in here from the St. Louis organization because Marc was close with Joel Quenneville and Mike Kitchen. Being from Vancouver, we worked fairly closely with the Vancouver Giants and from there we got to know Bill Ranford. So Billy, Marc and I have had sort of a casual relationship over the last few years because he also plays for the old Canuck Alumni team.

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