The Invincible M.A.E. (harleymae) wrote,
The Invincible M.A.E.

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Controlled chaos?

Well, I figured that JMFJ would be good for the Blue Jackets just by virtue of him always being positive and not taking it hard when things go badly (which they do a lot in Columbus) and not just accepting it. It kind of surprises me how much his teammates are responding to it, though. You could see that they wanted to win that game for him. I mean, you could also see that the Kings played unenthusiastically - almost as if they were playing the worst team in the league! oh wait, they were - but there was a definite determination to the way the Blue Jackets played, and they kept it up even after Steve Mason got his hand cut by a skate (SQUICK!) and replaced by Sanford.

JMFJ himself played a good game, but he always gives good effort every game so it wasn't even as good as some games I've watched him play with the Kings. There are complaints about him no hitting the net but I used to watch him hit the net all the time and then what happened? No screen so goalie makes the save, no rebound. Or goalie gives up a rebound and the forwards fail to convert. So what happens? He tries to pick corners and misses the net. Also, his past couple of goals have been from around the hash marks and not the blue line, and it's (presumably) easier to hit the net when you're nearer.

I'm unsurprised by the Kings playing better after the trade. Whenever you have a team that's struggling a bit and you know that the GM is going to make some fairly major trade, they're going to struggle more and it's going to be tense and once that trade is done everyone exhales and relaxes a bit and there will be an initial boost after the trade from that tension being gone.

There was a promotion last night where people could bring their Carter jersey in and have the name replaced with J. Johnson (#3 is taken so JMFJ took #7, which was Carter's number in Columbus). Apparently 43 people took advantage of this offer! I'm surprised that 43 people had Carter Blue Jackets jerseys!

... I'm surprised there are 43 Blue Jackets fans (har har har).

Blue Jackets notebook: Ex-King is content with Jackets
By Bill Rabinowitz
The Columbus Dispatch THURSDAY MARCH 8, 2012 5:52 AM

When the Blue Jackets traded Jeff Carter to the Los Angeles Kings for Jack Johnson and a first-round draft pick last month, the conventional wisdom was that Carter was ecstatic to leave Columbus and Johnson had to be despondent about joining the worst team in the NHL.

That was only half-true. Yes, Carter is happy to be with a playoff contender, but Johnson is hardly lamenting his fate as he faces his former teammates for the first time tonight in Nationwide Arena.

“People were telling my parents, ‘Oh, I’m sorry,’ ” Johnson said of the typical reaction to the trade. “Why? I’m happy. It’s been great. The opportunity is a better one for me here. It’s been an easy transition, and that’s pretty much a credit to the guys in the room. I’ve only been here two weeks, but it feels like I’ve been here the entire year.”

Johnson, a former Michigan star, is happy to be back in his native Midwest and eager to be a big part of the Blue Jackets’ nucleus. He scored his first goal for his new club on Tuesday against Phoenix.

As for tonight’s game, Johnson said he will try to treat the Kings like any other opponent. He said he hasn’t been in contact with his former teammates.

“I’ve got a lot of guys on the (Kings) who’ll probably be lifelong friends, but we’re no longer teammates,” Johnson said. “They’re the enemy (tonight).”

Carter acknowledged that the crowd reaction could be “interesting” in his return. The perception among many Blue Jackets fans is that Carter never wanted to play in Columbus.

“I don’t know if that’s completely true,” he said yesterday after the Kings’ practice. “When I got traded from Philly, it was hard on me and something I didn’t expect. But over time, you get over that. I came here with an open mind.

“There were a lot of expectations surrounding the team from the fans and the city. But for whatever reason it didn’t really work out, and it just kind of started to snowball from there. When you’re losing games like we did and giving up late leads, it’s pretty tough on guys. It’s hard to keep going. It was a tough year.”

Now he’s playing for a playoff contender.

“I think that’s what every player wants, so it’s been good,” Carter said.

Carter said he wasn’t surprised by the Blue Jackets’ improved play lately.

“When Richie (interim coach Todd Richards) took over, you could see things starting to pick up,” he said. “Guys were getting more confidence. From day one, the guys who were in that room, there were pretty high expectations. It was a pretty solid team. It was just a matter of time before they got going.”

When you talk about how Columbus fans think you never really wanted to play there and your answer is "I don't know if that's completely true", that's like being asked if you're sexually attracted to boys and you take 30 seconds to answer the question.

This Jack-et Fits
Johnson's presence felt over the last two games
Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 11:20 PM / Features
By Rob Mixer -

Jack Johnson sat in his locker stall, surrounded by the media and wearing an ear-to-ear grin that did not need justification.

Since being acquired by the Blue Jackets just two weeks ago, Johnson has not only stepped into a top-four role on the Columbus blue line, but played a significant role in his new team’s season-best four game winning streak.

The Blue Jackets have faced four consecutive teams (Colorado, Phoenix twice and Los Angeles) either tenuously inside the Western Conference’s top-eight or within shouting distance of a playoff berth. Those teams are 0-4-0, have gained no ground in the standings and scored just five goals in those contests.

Johnson has scored goals in back-to-back games – the goals coming after he previously went 15 games without a goal. He now has a career best 10 goals on the year with 15 games to go, and both tallies in a Blue Jackets sweater were as timely as they were artful.

His rocket over the shoulder of Jonathan Bernier late in the first period Thursday night stood up as the game-winning goal, and it came in his first game against his former team.

“Tonight, I thought our No. 7 was very good,” Blue Jackets interim head coach Todd Richards said. “I thought he was really good. He scored that goal and you could see the emotion there, and it was good for him.

“I like the response from the fans, too – when Jack was announced as a starter and when he scored his goal, I liked the response from our fans.”

Johnson said playing with fellow American defenseman James Wisniewski has helped the transition immensely, and the two have become fast friends on and off the ice. He said they refer to their defense pairing as “controlled chaos,” among a list of other names they’ve come up with in their six games together.

His goal against Los Angeles came on a great read late in the period, and Derick Brassard’s pass attempt was stunted by a Kings defenseman. Johnson saw the loose puck, activated off the point and buried a big goal for Columbus.

“There wasn’t a lot of time left in the period, and (jumping into the play) you kind of roll the dice there but you don’t have a whole lot to lose,” Johnson said. “I just jumped right up the middle and found a bobbling puck there. Our forwards were trying to create something and the puck just happened to come right to me.

“It felt great, no question about it. It was a big goal for us to get one at the end of the period. The team was playing well all period and I thought we deserved another one.”

In the Blue Jackets’ 3-1 win over Los Angeles, Johnson logged 27:20 in time on ice and Wisniewski played a game-high 27:56. They saw most of their ice against the Kings’ top players and the only blemish for Columbus was an Anze Kopitar shorthanded goal – but neither Wisniewski nor Johnson were on the ice.

The pair collaborated for a +4 rating, fired seven shots on goal between them and helped shut down the Kings at even strength.

“This one felt good,” Johnson said. “I was real excited to play this game. This has been a really great change for me and I’m excited to come to the rink every day.

“These guys have a blast here every day and it’s carrying over to the ice. Guys are loose, they’re having fun and that’s what this game is supposed to be all about.”

I'm really unimpressed by him bonding with Wisniewski.

I do fully expect the Blue Jackets to get swept by the Kings next season now, though. :P Also, he didn't hang out with any of the Kings the night before the game because he was moving into his new apartment and didn't answer his phone.

[ Edit: One more article:

Thursday, March 8, 2012
Johnson erases Carter's name in Columbus

By Craig Custance

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets ran a promotion on Thursday night for the poor fans who sunk a bunch of money into a Jeff Carter Blue Jackets jersey. Bring it to the game and they’d swap out the nameplate with Jack Johnson’s for free. It was an easy switch since the defenseman acquired in the Carter trade shared Carter’s No. 7.

Avi Stein was one of the fans who took advantage, though his jersey was autographed by Carter. An autograph he was about to lose in the swap.

“That’s fine,” he said. “I don’t want that autograph.”

The fans in Columbus have moved on. Mostly. Carter was back in Columbus for the first time since being traded to the Kings two weeks ago and he was booed loudly every time he touched the puck. But the cheers for Johnson were much louder. Especially when he scored his 10th goal of the season in the second period, his second in the past two games for Columbus. He leapt high into the glass in celebration.

Thursday night’s 3-1 win over the Kings clearly meant a little something extra to Johnson.

"He was jacked up to play tonight," said his defensive partner James Wisniewski. "He kept telling me, 'Let’s win this one for me. Please.' I’m like, 'Yeah, let’s do it.'"

"This one felt good," Johnson admitted. "It’s the first time I’ve gone on the ice and looked over and saw where I know every single guy on the other team really well. It was a little weird."

The win was the fourth consecutive for the Blue Jackets, who are feeding off Johnson’s playmaking ability along with his positive attitude. Carter, who was held without a point and was a minus-1, made it clear this past summer that he wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of being traded to Columbus. Then at the trade deadline, we learned that captain Rick Nash wants out.

Johnson’s attitude had been quite the opposite and it started with the first phone call he had with general manager Scott Howson. Howson wasn’t sure what to expect from Johnson when he first let him know he was leaving a playoff race and coming to Columbus.

"His genuine excitement came over the phone. It was so nice to hear. It was so refreshing to hear," Howson told ESPN The Magazine. "It made me feel like, 'OK, this has a real chance to be successful. It starts right there with the attitude of wanting to be a part of this."

Johnson now has four points in his past three games and is a plus-6 during that stretch. The Blue Jackets improved to 4-2 since the trade.

In the win over the Kings, they got two goals from Mark Letestu and solid goaltending from the tandem of Steve Mason and Curtis Stanford, who combined to stop 29 of 30 Los Angeles shots. Mason left the game after teammate John Moore’s skate accidentally cut Mason’s hand, requiring 18-20 stitches. Mason said it’s not an injury he expects to keep him out too long.

The wins in Columbus don’t mean a thing in the big scheme of the NHL playoff race, but they mean something to interim coach Todd Richards who is trying to earn a permanent job behind the bench. They mean something to a guy like Letestu, still trying to establish his place in the NHL. They mean something to Johnson. Especially this one.

"You can’t let yourself get wrapped up into it, let your emotions carry over," Johnson said. "For sure, I wanted to get this one."

Well he probably doesn't like that Wisniewski ratted him out with the whole PLEASE WIN FOR MEEEEEEEE thing. Frankly, I don't like the whole "must beat the team that traded you" mentality. I suppose it's a natural thing, but I didn't grow up with sports and I just don't get it on an emotional level, just like I don't really get rivalries. I enjoy watching other fans' rivalries but I'm just not into it myself. ]

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