By Ian Oland
Despite the rumored interest, former Capital Marcus Johansson did not return to Washington DC during Monday’s trade deadline.
Instead, New Jersey traded the Swedish forward to the most awkward possible place possible: the Boston Bruins.
Here’s the backstory. On January 23, 2018, Johansson suffered a concussion after a blatant and dirty elbow from Brad Marchand. The Bruins all-star forward was suspended five games by the NHL, but Johansson was forced to miss the rest of the regular season due to severe symptoms from concussion syndrome.
Two months later, when he returned to the ice for the first time since the injury, the Devils forward called the hit “stupid” and thought Marchand’s punishment was not nearly severe enough, citing the Bruins forward’s long history with the Department of Player Safety. Johansson’s main hope was that the league curbed Marchand’s behavior before the Bruin ends a player’s career.
“It was stupid,” the mild-mannered Johansson said. “There’s nothing else to say about it. There was no point in doing that. There was no hockey play whatsoever. It’s sad to see there are still guys out there trying to hurt other guys. It’s sad. It’s stupid. I hoping it doesn’t come to him ending someone else’s career before it’s enough.”
“He’s entitled to his opinion,” Marchand said in response, never apologizing for the hit. “I understand that he’s frustrated with the situation. I would be as well. I feel really bad about how things played out, but again, [I’m] very happy to see him out on the ice and hopefully he’s playing soon.”
Monday, the Bruins awkwardly acquired Johansson from the Devils for a 2019 second-round pick and 2020 fourth-round pick, forcing Johansson to become teammates with Marchand.
When asked for comment, Johansson, according to Conor Ryan, said “I’d much rather play with Marchand than against him.”
Sweeney said that Johansson commented on the Marchand elbow during their conversation this afternoon: “I’d much rather play with Marchand than against him.”
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) February 25, 2019
The comment is brilliant because not only does it take the high road, it also, in some ways, still condemns Marchand’s play.
Marchand reportedly called Johansson after the trade was made. Johansson called Marchand “a great guy, a great teammate” and said the phone call “a great gesture from him.”
New #NHLBruins F Marcus Johansson said Marchand called him after trade. "I think that was a great gesture from him … I've heard great things about (Marchand), that he's a great guy, a great teammate."
— Mike Loftus (@MLoftus_Ledger) February 26, 2019
The two players will have a chance to play together for the first time Tuesday night when Boston takes on San Jose at TD Garden.
Marcus Johansson on last year's incident with Brad Marchand: "That's water under the bridge."
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) February 26, 2019
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