Johnson’s status

I spoke with Jack Johnson today, but he continued to insist that he wasn’t planning on coming back until after the all-star break. I’ve got to give Jack credit. He’s been very consistent with the “I’m not coming back early” quotes, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that he would be coming back early. And, of course, barring any setbacks, he’s coming back early. Johnson did say that he doesn’t need any minor-league rehab games and that he feels strong. As previously posted, he has been cleared for contact in practice. Here’s what Terry Murray said today about Johnson’s status…

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MURRAY: “He’s moving along really well. You could see him today. He was doing a lot of the battling drills along the boards, and that’s where we want to make sure that everything is solid. He’s doing extra work at the end of the practice, pushing and battling, and then as you get finished up, it’s `How are you feeling? How are you doing?’ at the end of practice. He’s real close. I’m penciling him in. He’s that close, for me. It’s not going to be tomorrow, it’s not going to be…well, I don’t know after that. It will not be tomorrow. I do have him penciled in, I am writing him into the lineup now and I’m looking forward to getting the games underway.”

Question: So you’re definitely looking at (a return) before the all-star break now?

MURRAY: “Well, I’ll have to have some conversations with several people before I answer that, but it’s very close to happening.”

Question: Obviously there are a few dynamics, Doughty’s injury being one of them, but have you thought about where Jack might fit in?

MURRAY: “Oh yeah. I’ve thought about it a lot, and put down a lot of defensive pairings. That’s not going to be an issue. When he’s ready to go, he’s in. There’s no hesitation on that side of it.”

Question: Is it safe to say he will be on the left side, or would you look at the right side?

MURRAY: “You know, I don’t know if he has ever played the right side. I’ve never talked to him about that. That would be interesting, with the way he can shoot the puck, 5-on-5 and on the power play, that would be a big advantage, but I don’t know if he has ever played there or not.”

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  • smokiemcpot

    Maybe him and Double D will return on the same game. That would be nice.

  • pat

    Maybe I’m mistaken, but didn’t Johnson play the right point on the PP at Michigan?

  • Anonymous

    Shouldn’t the coaching staff (Murray or Hardy) have already known whether or not JJ could/has played on the right side D?

    I’m not a hockey wiz, but at least I do know that a strong slapshot from a lefty on the right point is an advantage. No?

  • Tim

    Pat, you are correct and he played the right side with Mo last year. he like the right side.

  • Anonymous

    JMFJ at Michigan played the right side b/c he had a monster slap-shot and one-timer (yet to be seen at the NHL level yet though), so he would be great on the right side of the power play. Check it out:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6FmD1HecrM&feature=related

  • Marc Nathan

    the stuff Terry Murray claims he doesn’t know is truly laughable. Eventually he’ll be on a line with O’Sullivan and Kopitar, so I guess it doesn’t really matter (smirk.)

  • Bring Back the Shield Jersey

    He doesn’t know if JJ has ever played right-D??!!

    WTF is TM doing!!?? No wonder he can’t find good lines- he has no idea of what his players are capable. Shocking. Mind-boggling. “That would be interesting” iow, “Thanks for thinking of that for me, Rich.” “That would be a big advantage,” Wow, an idea that would be good for the team; at least he’s consistent in his lack of thoughtfulness.

  • EAT THE RICH

    I get depressed when I read Murray quotes.

  • old man

    Cave man Murray,un real.

  • Duckhunter

    I’m usually one who doesn’t question coaching, but rather hold players responsible for the shortcomings, but to be real honest with everybody, TN is really making me wonder if he is all there. I not feeling as confident in him as I did before. I’m still going to give him a year before making any harsh judgments, but I am starting to doubt a few things.

    I really hope they don’t rush JJ back before he’s ready. If he’s healthy fine, but if not he needs to stay the course and come back when he’s strong and fit enough, where he has no questions about his shoulders stability.

  • neil

    I can hardly wait for the coach to start shuffling his defense.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, that is an odd answer. But I think his lack of familiarity with the players may be due to the fact that he was hired so late(I would blame DL for this… good reason for hiring a coach ASAP!).

    Getting back to DL, in evaluating his performance, I think he may be better suited as a scouting director rather than a GM. There’s no denying that he is great at evaluating prospects. But I’m not sure he really has the talent to assembly all the pieces required for a Stanley Cup contending team. In his stint in San Jose he drafted many good young defensemen and goalies, but was never able to put it all together. I hope that won’t be the case here and that he learns from his past mistakes… we’ll see.

  • Bryan

    Wow…some of Murray’s quotes make it seem like he’s “out to lunch.” It’s unsettling that he doesn’t, or at least didn’t, look into what his team (and all it’s parts) is capable of…sigh. Hopefully he’s just playing ignorant to the microphone and there’s a lot more research going on, or that went on, behind the scenes. Otherwise…that has to raise at least a flag somewhere, hopefully?

  • Anonymous

    Jack is my favorite player, and to hear this news is absolutely wonderful!
    I was hoping to be there on his first game back, but the looks of it are unlikely.
    But the first home game he’s back you can bet that i will be there!
    JMFJ! :)

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