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At the Rink blog

Johnson happy to return to Los Angeles

Friday, 02.15.2013 / 4:03 PM

By Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent / 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

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2012-2013 At the Rink blog
Johnson happy to return to Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES -- Jack Johnson has played his former team twice in Ohio, but Friday marks his first game at Staples Center since he was traded from the Los Angeles Kings to the Columbus Blue Jackets -- close to one year ago, on Feb. 23, 2012.

"It's easy, I know where I'm going," Johnson said.

Johnson wasn't drafted by the Kings but he came up through their organization and was seen, along with Drew Doughty, as a mainstay on the franchise's blue line. He was a fan favorite because of his hard-hitting play and booming shot. Kings fans used to shout an R-rated cheer in his honor.

But Johnson was traded, along with a 2013 first-round draft pick, to the Blue Jackets for Jeff Carter, a move that helped the Kings win the first Stanley Cup in their 45-year history.

"I've got plenty of good memories here," Johnson, who still keeps a residence in Manhattan Beach, Calif., said. "But I've been a Blue Jacket for pretty close to a year now, so the novelty of playing your old team here tonight has worn off. I've still got a lot of good friends on that team, probably lifelong friends. That's just the nature of the business. They've had plenty of guys come and go on that team."

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You don't see many. The [Drew] Doughtys, the [P.K.] Subbans, those are guys that create offense from the back and then on top of that ability, the size that he has. In the West you play against some pretty big players, and being able to clear the crease and contain the [Ryan] Getzlafs and the [Corey] Perrys and [Anze] Kopitars and players like that, we're excited about him going back there.

— Sharks general manager Doug Wilson on Brent Burns returning back to defense