In that time Marchand has attended the NHL All-Star Game and recorded 30 points in 22 games while helping the Bruins move up the Eastern Conference standings. Johansson didn’t begin skating again until March 6 when he took the ice on his own.
[The 2018 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 11 on the networks of NBC]
Marchand was suspended five games and Johansson suffered a second concussion of the season. The Devils forward still isn’t medically cleared to play and has a few more hurdles to clear, according to head coach John Hynes.
Johansson has missed 28 games and on Monday he expressed his disappointment with the hit and Marchand’s suspension.
“It was stupid. There’s nothing else to say about it. I think there was no point in doing that,” he told reporters after Monday’s practice. “There was no hockey play whatsoever there. It’s sad to see that there are still guys out there trying to hurt other guys… It’s sad. It’s stupid. I hope it doesn’t come to him ending someone else’s career before it’s enough. It’s not why we play the game.
“I think there are always situations where you try to hit someone, you try to make a hockey play and things go wrong. Then there are plays like this where I think it’s got nothing to do with hockey. It’s sad to see. I guess I’m unfortunate to be on the receiving end of that.”
The five-game suspension wasn’t enough, added Johansson, who referenced Marchand’s long history with the Department of Player Safety. But that’s all in the past now and there are more important matters to focus on.
“[I’m] trying to put that behind me,” he said. “I just want to get back to feeling normal again. That’s all I can do.”
Stick-tap Amanda Stein for the audio