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Former Kings defenseman Jack Johnson prospering in Columbus

February 05, 2013|By Lisa Dillman
  • Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson says he didn't feel any lingering emotional attachment to the Kings after he was traded last season.
Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson says he didn't feel any lingering… (Kirk Irwin / Getty Images )

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Blue Jackets defenseman/ironman Jack Johnson was downplaying his recent impressive feat, having come within one second of logging 35 minutes of ice time against Detroit on Saturday.

How tired did he feel the next day?

“I felt great, actually. I’ve had nine months off,” Johnson said, smiling. “So there’s no excuse not to be ready to go. That’s why you train in the summer too. You train to be able to go through that.

“To play 48 games in 99 days, your body has to be ready to do that. It’s not easy. I love playing. I knew it [the ice time] was up there, but I had no idea. When I was told, it was, ‘Wow. Pretty cool.’ "

The affable Johnson was catching up with several media members from Los Angeles on Tuesday morning, a few hours  before the Blue Jackets-Kings game here. His first 343 games in the NHL were spent with the Kings’ organization before he was traded to Columbus in exchange for Jeff Carter shortly before last season’s trade deadline.

Johnson’s 34 minutes and 59 seconds of ice time against the Red Wings was a franchise record. His heavy workload will probably continue considering the injury woes hitting the Columbus defense. The Columbus Dispatch crunched the numbers, pointing out that the Blue Jackets will have four defensemen playing tonight with under 33 games of NHL experience.

It’s a good thing that Johnson’s preparation for the shortened season was extensive.

“I just kept training,” he said. “It was almost like two off-seasons. I went through my normal cycle of summer training. When the lockout started, you had to regroup and guess when you were going to be playing again. I just kept moving forward, trying to be prepared, any day at the drop of a hat, to have someone say, ‘It’s time to go to camp.’ ”

His separation from the Kings was remarkably efficient and straightforward even when they went on to win the Stanley Cup.

“I didn’t feel any emotional attachment once I got traded,” Johnson said. “I think that was due to people here accepting me with such open arms.

“It was pretty overwhelming at first, to be honest. I couldn’t believe it. I think that’s what made it so easy to turn the page and be a Blue Jacket 100%.”

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