Chicago Blackhawks v Pittsburgh Penguins

Brent Johnson hopes his career won’t end amid a lockout

While the lockout leaves a lot of prime-age NHL players in a holding pattern, there’s also a subset of fringe guys who wonder if they’ll ever play at the highest level again.

The Pittsburgh Penguins allowed former backup goalie Brent Johnson to walk, prompting him to tell that he’s worried that his career might be in jeopardy.

“I’m up in the air,” Johnson said. “We’ll see what happens if and when everything starts up.
Yeah, I’m concerned, but at my age you start looking at the future and what you’re going to do next. Lockout or not, I still would have been in the same spot.”

The 35-year-old netminder seemed to lose the Penguins’ confidence in his third and final campaign with the team.

After two straight seasons with 23 games played, he appeared in just 16 last season. The Penguins only used him in relief once during the playoffs even though Marc-Andre Fleury allowed a staggering 26 goals in six contests.

Still, there’s a chance another team might give him a gander if they need a cheap backup. He’s only one year removed from posting an impressive .922 save percentage and his career numbers are respectable.

In the mean time, Johnson is taking up an offer to practice with former Washington Capitals teammates such as Brooks Laich. Read more about how that happened here.

After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.

Greene named 11th captain in Devils history

Dion Phaneuf; Andy Greene
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Andy Greene has been named Bryce Salvador’s successor as New Jersey’s team captain.

Greene, an undrafted free agent that’s spent his entire nine-year career with the Devils organization, becomes the 11th captain in the franchise’s history and third American to wear the “C” (Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were the others).

A former standout at Miami of Ohio, Greene — who served as an alternate captain in each of the last two seasons — has developed into a steady, durable blueliner that hasn’t missed a game in three years. He’s also locked into the Devils long term, having signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the club last summer.

That deal kicks in this season, and runs through 2020.

As for the rest of the leadership group, four players will serve as alternate captains this season: Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, and Adam Henrique.

Elias and Zajac both wore an “A” in New Jersey last year, while Cammalleri and Henrique are first-timers.