Kings' game day skate: Jones returns on defense after being told to move his feet
Kings defenseman Randy Jones didn't realize that his game had regressed until he was pulled from the lineup for Games 2 and 3 of the Kings' playoff series against Vancouver and sat through taped examples of his recent misplays.
"I didn’t feel that I had lost it," said Jones, who had a good start after he was claimed off reentry waivers in late October but became more inconsistent as the season progressed.
"When you’re going long stretches at this time, you think you’re making the right plays, and you think you’re doing something, but you’re really not. You don’t realize it until you see it on video or you’re in the stands watching the game. So I don’t want to say that I lost it or anything like that, but it’s playoff time and everyone’s got to be great."
Simply using his skating skills and making better decisions are all Coach Terry Murray is asking from Jones. Taking Peter Harrold out and inserting Jones was the only change Murray made for his lineup for Game 4 Wednesday night at Staples Center.
"I have an experienced player going in, in Randy Jones. He’s been in this situation many times. He was taken out for reasons that I did speak to him about, and I think he did get the message and we’ll get him back in and get him going," Murray said after the Kings' morning skate in El Segundo.
Murray also said this wasn't the first time he had talked to Jones about allowing his game to slip and proved it by showing tapes of his performances.
"That’s exactly what happens with Jonesy, and that goes back with him through my time in Philadelphia when he’s coming into the league as a young player from the Phantoms," Murray said, referring to the Flyers' top farm team.
"They had a great year down there, and they won the Calder Cup, and he comes in and shows flashes of being a top-four defenseman in the National Hockey league, and then he gets into this lull in his game where he’s standing and watching and waiting for things to happen. Gets the puck on his stick and instead of being assertive with it, he throws it around the boards, and it gets to be a turnover situation. That’s the areas that I addressed with him on a fairly regular basis.
"Most importantly is, get your feet moving. Get skating. He’s a good skater. He can carry the puck out of danger and he can make good plays."
We'll all be able to judge that Wednesday night. More later at www.latimes.com/sports.
-- Helene Elliott
Photo: Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, center, and defenseman Randy Jones (12) watch the puck as Edmonton Oilers center Mike Comrie (91) centers it during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Los Angeles on April 10, 2010. Credit: Jason Redmond / Associated Press