Penguins' backup goalie Johnson resumes practice
An injury stole a month from Brent Johnson's season, but it hasn't taken his job.
Johnson will be the Penguins backup goalie once he fully recovers from the undisclosed ailment that has hampered him since late-February, coach Dan Bylsma said Friday.
First, Johnson has to get healthy.
The veteran goalie practiced yesterday with teammates for the first time since Feb. 23, when he left the ice early and Bylsma said Johnson "tweaked something." Little has been said about the nature of his injury since. Johnson again declined to discuss specifics but said he was "still not 100 percent."
"I want to make sure everything is ready to go before I get back out there in game situations," Johnson said, "but it's feeling better and better every day."
There aren't many days left.
Bylsma wants to see Johnson play one or two games before the playoffs, but the Penguins have only nine games remaining. That includes tonight against the Senators in Ottawa and Sunday against the New Jersey Devils at Consol Energy Center, neither of which will include Johnson.
"(He will) practice next week a couple of times," Bylsma said, "and if that continues to go well, then we'll look to get him back in the game at some point."
Bylsma said Marc-Andre Fleury could rest for three or four of the nine remaining games, leaving work for Johnson and rookie Brad Thiessen. But after just one practice, Johnson couldn't predict when he might return.
"As soon as the pain goes away 100 percent, I'll be ready to get back in there," Johnson said.
The 35-year-old has 12 seasons in the NHL, including the past three with the Penguins. Johnson has been healthy since needing hip surgery in 2009 while with the Washington Capitals.
He hasn't played since Feb. 19, when he was replaced in the second period of a 6-2 loss at Buffalo. It was his fifth loss in six games. Four days later, he left practice in pain.
"If you (play through the pain) for a while, it doesn't help yourself or the team," Johnson said.
He skated alone this week before being cleared yesterday for full practice in an optional workout at Southpointe that drew only six players. Among them were Johnson and Thiessen, who is 3-0 and has growing confidence among teammates. But Johnson said Thiessen's success hasn't rushed his recovery.
"It's not forcing (my) hand or anything like that," Johnson said. "I'm so happy that he played well and got three wins for us, big wins. That's really important."
Backup goalies typically are used little in the playoffs. Johnson has not started a playoff game for the Penguins, but twice replaced Fleury in lopsided losses.
After a month-long layoff, Johnson has a couple of weeks to make himself playoff ready.
"You want to get as much work before we get into the playoffs," he said, "just in case they need me."
Note: Defenseman Matt Niskanen and center Joe Vitale will not play tonight. Both have upper body injuries.Additional Information:
7 p.m. today, Scotiabank Place, Ottawa
TV/radio: Root Sports/WXDX-FM (105.9), Penguins Radio Network
Notable: The Penguins have won 13 of their past 14 games, with the only loss coming in overtime.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Crosby scores twice, Malkin delivers OT goal as Penguins beat Blues
- Steelers veteran linebacker Harrison focused on stretch run
- Friends, family, history lure natives back to Western Pennsylvania
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin ends practice with third-down work
- Penguins co-owner Lemieux snuffs rumored rift with Crosby
- Emotional send-off awaits Pitt seniors
- Artis leads Pitt to lopsided victory over Cornell
- Pirates sign free agent 1B-OF Goebbert, RHP Webster
- Starkey: Artie Rowell’s incredible odyssey
- Teen charged with firing shots in Wilkins, abducting woman
- Puppies’ eyes glued shut, South Huntingdon animal shelter says