Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson had his season cut short by shoulder surgery in March. But the former Olympian says his shoulder is “100 percent” in advance of September’s World Cup of Hockey, where he will represent the United States.
“I’ve got my family at home, so I spend a lot of time at home with my wife and my little girl,” he told BlueJackets.com, talking about his summer. “And then just training and rehab to get my shoulder back to 100 percent, which it is now, so I put in a lot of time on that. Right now I’ve got about a month left before World Cup of Hockey, so just making sure I’m in shape for that.”
The 29-year-old defender has represented his country many times, including twice captaining Team USA at the IIHF World Championship. It will be his first time back in the red, white, and blue, since the 2012 World Championship. At the World Cup he will play under Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella.
“I don’t even know where to begin with that,” he responded to being asked about his excitement for the World Cup. “First of all, being back in training camp with all the former teammates, guys that I’ve known for a long time, that I’ve played a ton of international tournaments with, that’s always a special and cool thing. I think playing a tournament of that magnitude in Canada, that’s an experience that’ll probably be a lot similar to the 2010 Olympics, which was the best hockey experience of my life.
“I don’t think it’s ever routine,” he continued. “I’ve been very fortunate playing a lot of tournaments for the United States. This was the one tournament that I haven’t played in yet, so I’m really cherishing this opportunity. There’s absolutely nothing routine about it, whenever you get a chance to represent the United States it could be your last, so you try to cherish it, and make it count.”
The World Cup is set to kick off on September 17.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.