ShareThis Page
Jack Johnson set for first game in Columbus since signing with Penguins |

Jack Johnson set for first game in Columbus since signing with Penguins

Jonathan Bombulie
Pittsburgh Penguins’ Jack Johnson (73) and New Jersey Devils’ Drew Stafford (18) collide during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Around this time of year, it’s not uncommon for players swapped at the NHL trade deadline to talk about wanting to prove their old teams wrong for letting them go.

There’s none of that in Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Jack Johnson.

On Tuesday night, Johnson will face his old team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, for the first time since signing a five-year deal with the Penguins in July. He spent six-plus seasons with the Blue Jackets, playing a key role on the team’s blue line before slipping down the depth chart at the end of his final season.

After morning skate Tuesday, he sat in his locker and ran down a list of reasons why he felt no particular anxiety or animosity building up for the game later in the day.

Nearly a full season has passed since he left Columbus. He already faced the Blue Jackets on Nov. 24 in Pittsburgh. He’d been in the visiting dressing room at Nationwide Arena before as a member of the Los Angeles Kings. The Blue Jackets have turned over a good portion of the roster with a series of in-season trades.

In other words, nothing to see here.

“Pittsburgh’s home for me now,” Johnson said. “I’ve got a lot of relationships here in Columbus. I was able to come in and have dinner with my family and that’s always awesome. I had a lot of great teammates over the years here.

“I’ve played almost a full season in Pittsburgh. Played Columbus early in the year, got that out of the way. It’s a big game for both teams now.”

A minor war of words broke out in the media between Johnson, Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford, Columbus coach John Tortorella and GM Jarmo Kekalainen immediately after the signing. Johnson said that’s ancient history.

“I didn’t even give that a second thought,” Johnson said.

As for wanting to prove the Blue Jackets wrong for letting him go?

“I’m just trying to help the Pittsburgh Penguins win,” he said. “That’s it.”

Follow the Pittsburgh Penguins all season long.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Penguins
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.