Little rest for Johnson

Jack Johnson’s ice time had dipped a bit in November, but Johnson played 26 minutes, 57 seconds on Wednesday in Edmonton. Then, the next night, he played a season-high 28:21 at Vancouver. Murray described the bump in ice time as, quite simply, an indication of his satisfaction with Johnson’s play of late…

MURRAY: “He’s getting more minutes because he earns it. He has played very well. He has played hard. He has competed really well in this last road trip, and we like that. That’s our way of saying, `Keep with it. Stay with it. Be physical. Play with the checking game as the priority.’ If he keeps playing like that, we’re going to see good things happen in his game as we keep moving forward with it. That has to be the mindset to build on, the checking part of the game. The offense, he’s got that ability already, so he has earned the right to play.”

Murray was then asked if he wanted to see more offense from Johnson, who has one point (a goal) in his last 10 games…

MURRAY: “All I want him to do right now is be a good defenseman. We talked about that, specifically, in our role descriptions at the start of the year, that this is the focus I want from him. The offense is there. It’s going to happen for him. He’s on the power play, and he is jumping up at the right times, and good things will happen on that side of it, but don’t force the issue. Just be a good checking defenseman. Be hard, be gritty to play against in the dot-to-board game, and we like what we’re seeing out there.”

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