Penguins, durable Jack Johnson set for ‘best time of the year’
When the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Nashville Predators on Friday night, they will do so having not played a game since Monday in New York.
That’s the longest stretch of time off the team has enjoyed since the all-star break.
“It’s nice to try to heal up some things and physically feel refreshed more than anything,” defenseman Jack Johnson said. “Three days isn’t a ton, but it’s enough to hopefully help.”
Johnson, Phil Kessel and Jake Guentzel are the three players on the Penguins roster who have appeared in all 77 games of the team’s this season. If Johnson plays the last five, it will be the fourth time in his career that he hit the 82-game mark in a season.
“I take pride in trying to take care of myself,” Johnson said. “I like to think I train hard and do all the things I can to prepare myself for 82 games plus as many games as I can possibly play after that playing a contact sport.”
Johnson said it doesn’t get harder to be physically ready to play at this time of year, despite the accumulation of bumps and bruises that are inevitable in six months of a contact sport.
Quite the opposite, actually.
“You’re gearing up for the most fun part of the season, kind of the real season after this,” Johnson said. “It’s definitely not harder. It’s exciting. There’s so many great things about it. You’ve got the playoffs around the corner, the weather is getting nice. It’s the best time of the year.”
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review assistant sports editor. You can contact Jonathan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .