Here’s the latest from Jack Johnson, who looked impressive this morning and who seems on track to defend his title as “hardest handshake on the Kings.”
Q: It’s been a busy summer for you. How was Russia (for the World Championships)?
A: I kind of knew what to expect from Russia (laughs). The place wasn’t exactly paradise but it was a fun tournament. The guys were great. It was a fun experience being out there with some world-class players.
Q: I imagine that was the best part, being able to play with those guys.
A: Definitely, and just being able to be around them and get to know some of those guys, guys who have been in the league for years. It was fun to be around those guys.
Q: What else have you been up to?
A: I’ve been in Ann Arbor, taking a class. I’ve been up to Minnesota for a bit, visiting family and friends there and skating a bit. I’ve been here for camps. I’m getting my frequent-flyer miles.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish from being here this week?
A: Just fine tuning everything. It’s nice to see yourself on video and see what you’re doing right and what you’re not doing right. There are things that you think you’re doing well, and then you see yourself on tape and you realize that you’re not doing as well as you thought you were. It’s a good eye-opener, to see what you need to improve on and get ready for next season.
Q: Where do you think your game is right now?
A: It’s hard to say. You’ll have to ask one of the coaches (laughs). I’m just doing my best right now. I’m not quite where I want to be before the season starts, but I’ve still got time before the season starts.
Q: Now that you’re in the summer, do you look back on those five NHL games you played as being valuable?
A: Really valuable. I know what everything is like now, the pacing and the skill. I know where I have to be in order to play there. It was priceless to be able to play there and not spend the summer wondering what it’s like and wondering if I’m ready or not. There’s not going to be any worries now.
Q: A lot of people already look at you as a cornerstone-type guy. Are you prepared to step into that big role right away?
A: I have high expectations for myself. I want to be that guy. I usually play better under pressure and in the spotlight, so hopefully I can meet everyone’s expectations and maybe go beyond. We’ll see.