Johnson is latest to arrive in Columbus

Tuesday, 01.08.2013 / 12:15 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Today


The group of Blue Jackets players skating at the OhioHealth Ice Haus gained one more member this morning: defenseman Jack Johnson.

He hasn't been in town for long, but one of the first things Johnson wanted to do was get back together with his teammates -- some of whom he hasn't seen in months nor played a game with since April. The palpable sense of excitement that came with yesterday's maiden skate carried over to this morning, and like the previous session, R.J. Umberger took the informal lead and kept things organized.

Not much changed from yesterday's skate, but there were more "battle" drills and competitive reps that weren't present on Monday. As the number of players on the ice increases (and we expect that to be the case in the next 48 hours), the nature of the practices should change accordingly.

But this morning, Johnson said the highlight was being back where he wants to be.

"It's great...I haven't seen these guys in a while and we've been keeping in touch over the phone," Johnson said. "It kind of makes it more of a reality now that I'm back here skating with the guys and being around the locker room, and moving back into our places."

Johnson essentially stayed put during the lockout and skated with local teams in Michigan, both getting a workout and lending a helping hand with youth hockey programs when given the opportunity. Keeping his workout regimen intact was his primary focus, and Johnson said he went to the gym every day to ensure that when the season gets started, he would be in peak condition.

With an abbreviated training camp on the horizon, conditioning is going to be one of the challenges for teams getting up to speed -- but after today's skate, Johnson said he has no reservations about the Blue Jackets' readiness.

"I don't think we're really looking at (a short camp) as much of challenge," Johnson said. "We're a pretty young team. Everyone's expected to take care of themselves anyway, and usually training camps aren't that much fun.

"It makes us really anxious to get going and get playing. I think we still have the same amount of excitement, just the small group of guys we have here now, that we had at the end of the year last year. We have a good team and a great group of guys in there and we're looking forward to proving a lot of people wrong, because a lot of people haven't given us much credit."

Johnson and his "controlled chaos" defense partner, James Wisniewski, were the lone defensemen on the ice for today's skate but that's soon to change. The consensus by many -- including Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson -- is that the team's strength is on defense, and Johnson did not disagree.

"It's a challenge in every game to score as many goals as we can, and stop them," Johnson said. "It's a fun thing for us. I think our team has a great attitude in that we don't look at it as pressure.

"We set our own expectations, and usually, they're higher than everyone else's."

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Johnson 1 1 1 0 2
D. MacKenzie 1 1 0 0 1
M. Letestu 1 1 0 1 1
B. Dubinsky 1 0 1 1 1
B. Jenner 1 0 1 -1 1
F. Tyutin 1 0 0 -1 0
J. Wisniewski 1 0 0 0 0
B. Comeau 1 0 0 -1 0
N. Nikitin 1 0 0 0 0
J. Skille 1 0 0 -1 0
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Bobrovsky 0 1 0 .875 4.07
 
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