Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Post-Dispatch caught up with Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson on Wednesday, prior to Johnson leaving to play with Team USA at the upcoming World Hockey Championships in Sweden/Finland.
Eventually, the conversation turned to Johnson’s former team — the Los Angeles Kings — and their stunning first-round upset of the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Canucks.
Portzline asked if it was easy or hard to watch LA play well in the playoffs, to which Johnson replied…
“It’s funny. I’ve been asked that by a few people. I don’t feel any emotional connection to the Kings at all. To me, it’s just another hockey game. I’ve completely turned the page like that. If I’m out and I happen to see it on TV, it’s really not a big deal.
“To be honest with you, I could care less if they win or lose. Some guys on that team I played with, I’ll always consider friends. But whether they win or not, it means nothing to me.”
This shouldn’t come as a huge shock. Most of Johnson’s post-trade comments suggested his relationship with the Kings wasn’t great (see here) and his exit conversation with GM Dean Lombardi sounded, uh, blunt (see here).
That said…now you really have to start wondering if Johnson was a divisive presence in the L.A. room. After the trade, the Kings went 12-5-3 (plus 4-1 in the playoffs) and given Jeff Carter’s minimal returns — nine points in the regular season, two in the postseason — it could be argued there was an addition-by-subtraction thing going on with Johnson.
I mean, just listen to him talk about his time with the Kings:
Asked if such a disconnect with his former club surprised him, Johnson said: “Yes, and no. It tells me I’m happy where I am. That’s all I need to know.
“I don’t have any animosity. If I had a chance, I’d probably thank them for trading me, because I feel like I’m in a better spot now. I’m where I belong.”
That sound like a guy who was happy to be in L.A.?