4. The Post-Jack Johnson Era Matchup with the Penguins
Unlike many sensationalist writers, I don’t want to overhype the Jack Johnson ordeal. That doesn’t mean though that it can’t still be fascinating.
In a sport without much off-ice drama, the Jack Johnson scenario is unique. I also don’t want to pile on Johnson or pretend like he’s been anything less than a classy player. Despite his potentially misspoken reference to playing in a “winning culture”, the cheeky vet typically played hard and humbly in Columbus.
It only adds fuel to the intrigue that many NHL analysts and the bulk of the Blue Jackets community were befuddled by the Penguins 5 year, $16 million dollar offer to the defenseman whose best days are clearly behind him.
As an avid non-lover of all things Penguins, I am particularly ecstatic with the signing but just as enamored with Pens fans’ blind defense of the bizarrely-generous contract.
The beautiful Blue Jacket icing on that cake is John Tortorella’s very candid response to not only Johnson’s aforementioned comment, but to the Pens GM Jim Rutherford. Rutherford’s delusional assessment that Johnson was benched in the playoffs because of favoritism did not sit well with the CBJ’s fiery bench general.
Countless expletives ensued and a fresh gallon of high-octane gas was dumped square on the Jackets-Pens rivalry.