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Johnson's Odd Man Out. Again.

I just got off the phone with Brent Johnson, who earlier today signed a one-year deal with Pittsburgh. Here's some of what the former backup goalie had to say about switching allegiances in one of the game's biggest rivalries:

"It's going to take some getting used to," Johnson said of donning the back and gold next season. "But it was the right situation for me. Although things didn't work out the way we had planned in Washington, I'm very happy to be landing in Pitt. Going to the defending Stanley Cup champion is not a bad position to be in [because] you want to win."

Johnson's departure pretty much ensures the Caps will enter training camp with Simeon Varlamov and Jose Theodore as the Nos. 1 and 2 goalies, with rookie Michal Neuvirth looking to unseat one of them.

"I did wait a little while hoping something would pan out with Washington," Johnson said of waiting three weeks before signing with another team. "But it wasn't in the cards. It was just one of those odd man out situations again."

Johnson, who is coming off hip surgery, now joins the Penguins with the expectation of being the No. 2 behind Marc-Andre Fleury.

"I talked to [Penguins GM] Ray Shero, and it wasn't guaranteed, but I think I have the upper hand as long as I play the way I can play," he said. "I'm planning on it. They wanted a guy with some NHL experience."

The Penguins didn't only get an experienced NHL backup, they also got one of the game's truly good guys.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  July 21, 2009; 5:26 PM ET
 
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Comments

We'll miss you, Big Johnson. I'm not too worried as long as we keep our man Brett Leonhardt.

Posted by: Tex21 | July 21, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Now I'm beginning to mind that Johnny became a Penguin. =/

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | July 21, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Crosby finally gets the BJ he's been asking for.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I give him credit for waiting to see if GMGM could do something with Theo. Thanks for that Johnnie and I hope you aren't in net when we play the Pens this season.

Posted by: pkendrick | July 21, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Well...Im happy to have had Johnny here...If they dont treat him right in #!##$burgh he can surely be a cancer in the locker room...Maybe he can break a beer bottle on Geno's head...

Posted by: SA-Town | July 21, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Good luck Johnny. You were a good guy for us and we'll miss you.

Posted by: capsfan01 | July 21, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh well.......Here's to hoping the Penguins loose all their games 1-0

Posted by: dcfury | July 21, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

As long as he's a Penguin he'll still be dead to me.

Posted by: StikSav | July 21, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

GMGM strikes again.....losing another really good guy in the locker room....when is Ted going to wake up????

Posted by: CB28031 | July 21, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

@CB28031 A really good locker room guy? First off, that isn't a priority when it comes to deciding on who's the backup. Second, I'm not sure you know what you're talking about as far as locker room presence. He didn't suck but in no way was he a go-to leader in the locker room for the Caps...ever, period. Good guy, yes...stellar leader, nope. He played his role and knew his position. Best of luck to you with the Pens (as much as I can say that because I hope you guys lose every time you step on the ice. Not you personally well, now that you're a Pen then, yeah I mean you). GO CAPS!!!!!

Posted by: CapsSighting | July 21, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse


GMGM strikes again.....losing another really good guy in the locker room....when is Ted going to wake up????
Posted by: CB28031 | July 21, 2009 6:35 PM |

I effed your Mom in the @ ss. Does that make it any better than what you said?

Posted by: Rocc00 | July 21, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

WOW.

Posted by: capsfan01 | July 21, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

wow...Let's take it down a notch guys.


BJ won't be seeing that much ice-time next year folks, injury pending. MAF is a workhorse.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 21, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Wow is right...

Look...it is a consensus...we all like Johnny. Unfortunately it was a numbers game.

Posted by: ralCapsFan | July 21, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

That escalated quickly!

That being said, I hope Johnny has as much luck in Pittsburgh as Pete Peeters had in Philly.

Posted by: HeShootsHeScores | July 21, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm also grateful that I will never again have to hear that stupid "Sweep the Leg Johnny" song after a big save.

Posted by: HeShootsHeScores | July 21, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

It's a shame. He was one of my favorite goaltenders in the NHL aside from Kolzig when Johnny played in St. Louis. Class player, devotion, leadership and was one of the few players who seemed to actually give a damn going back to the 05-06 season. (even if he had a rugged game).

His best years were this and last year only to be ruined by Huet and an injury alongside a monthly hot streak of Theodore.

Posted by: hockeynightincanada | July 21, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Ov and Knuble will have no problem lighting the lamp behind this traitor.

Posted by: ejohnsto | July 21, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

We'll miss ya Johnny. It was obvious someone had to go, though. GMGM made the right choice.

Posted by: evenadog | July 21, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Not to be mean or anything but I don't really care about Johnson anymore, he's with the Pens now. I want to hear about Mike Knuble.

Posted by: rachel216 | July 21, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm imagining Johnny with a mullet.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | July 21, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

As soon as I heard this, I called a friend of mine (also a huge Caps fan). I told her I would say a name and she should say the first thing that comes into her head. "Brent Johnson," I said. "I've always really liked him," she said. Then I told her he had just signed a one-year deal with the Penguins. She responded, "Rat bastard. He's dead to me." My sentiments exactly.

Posted by: In2Caps | July 21, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

say it isn't so

Posted by: oo7 | July 21, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

O-M-G!!! I can't believe some of the things that I have read on the past two threads about Johnny! Are you guys serious?!? He's a good guy - he's not a traitor, the Caps just didn't have any room for him. And based on the size of his contract he probably didn't have a lot of options. Would you have preferred that he not play at all next season? Good grief, cut the guy some slack, already. After all, I don't see anyone talkin' trash about Knuble just because he is from Philly. Oh and Cooker?!? Geez, lay off the guy - he left a year ago after only being here for a few months ... he also was not asked back. That does not sound like a traitor to me. I'm just disappointed that the Caps were not able to keep him. *puts soapbox away*

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 21, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

LMAO, a traitor?

what did u people expect him to do? turn down the offer especially in this lousy ecomony??

I'm sure he didn't have a lot of teams to choose from.. some of u people need to wake up and smell the coffee once in a while.

Posted by: joek443 | July 21, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

I feel bad for the guy, always in a tough spot. And now (shudder) an ugly stinking flightless fowl. Yuck.

Posted by: uncatim | July 21, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

What is McPhee and BB going to do to restore the players confidence in JT60, otherwise know as Jose Three-or-more. Are they just going to sweep their lack of confidence in him under the carpet until this mess bears its head again? How can they just ignore this when JT60 got sent to the pine after "1" game in the playoffs? Was it justifiable? YES!

But now what? Do you think the players are going to forget? NO! Even if he's regulated to be back-up goalie, he's still the Three-or-more.

BB and GMGM are "very good" at what they do but they still make there fair share of mistakes (and will these mistakes prevent the Caps from holding the cup). In this case, I think they would have been better served to buy-out JT60 and take the cap hit of $1.34 mil the next 2 years and sign Johnny for 2 years at $525,000 per. This would have given the Caps an additional $2.135 mil cap space this year and cost them $1.68 mil for a back-up goalie next year (Johnny $525,000 & JT cap hit of $1.34 mil). Another plus is that the players love this guy!

Bottom line, Johnny is a better locker room presence than Theo and an equally good back-up goalie.

I think one on BB's weaknesses is his favoritism to his players he has know the longest time that causes him to be blind in evaluating players on an equal plane. Example, Schultz and Fleishmann. I cringe when he gets himself excited taking about how these guys have improved the past year and how good they truly are. I may be wrong but I and numerous other fellow bloggers/fans get the same feeling about these guys.

Posted by: puckman | July 21, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Rocc00,
That kind of filth is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE & OVER THE TOP. You most definitely should be banned FOR LIFE!

Posted by: Puckguru | July 21, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Obviously the idiots calling Brent a traitor have zero clue about sports in 2009.

Posted by: jakopz | July 21, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

What is wrong with some of you? Johnson waited as long as he could on the Caps, but he had to make a move if he wanted to play in the NHL this season. Yes, seeing him in Pittsburgh is terrible, but he took the best option he had. Saying he is "dead to me" and stuff like that is ridiculous. The Caps had no room for him with Theo on the roster...

Posted by: kcbrichmond | July 21, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Thank you very much -Boo-. Someone needed to say it. And those are some good questions Puckman. I have observed the same favoritism coming from Boudreau and McPhee towards J3ormore and Schultz. Def needs to be a more balanced view.

Posted by: capsfan01 | July 21, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Change of subject...
This is for the Fedorov fans:

http://en.khl.ru/news/2009/7/20/13711.html

Posted by: tess2201 | July 21, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

And how does everyone think that we will fair this season w/o an enforcer? Hope our opponents and their coaches realize that if they take liberties and get penalized we are going to crush them on the power play.

Posted by: capsfan01 | July 21, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for for the post Tess. We'll miss Feds. He was there at important times when we needed him. Best of luck to him in Russia.

Posted by: capsfan01 | July 21, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

First of all, BJ would not have signed to the minimum. Second, buying out his contract for no reason when we still have Semin and Backs to re-sign is ill-fated, especially given the likely circumstance that Nyls will have to be bought out at the end of this year (I doubt he will perform well enough to be moved.)

Bottom line, Theo is a much better goaltender than BJ. We only have 1 more year, then we move on to the kids...what is the problem here?

And are you really trying to say Flash has not improved? Say that about Fehr or Schultz if you must, but Flash?

Posted by: richmondphil | July 21, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

That's a bummer, I always really liked Johnson, really respected the way he played.

Posted by: grahamdumas | July 21, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

You guys really are ridiculous. Theo getting sat out is not producing any sort of weird psychological hold on the locker room. Who gives two craps what the players think? If they can't perform because they are thinking way back in the playoffs of last year, then they should not be playing professional hockey. "Starters" get benched all the time. It happens. The Ducks want to move Giggy, but it ain't happening. Same applies to us.

We are lucky we only have 1 year left, and Theodore is so streaky, hell, he could hit a hot streak right before the deadline and bring us some stock. Buying Theo out would be a ridiculous decision.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 21, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to see Johnson go. But he had fallen too far on the depth chart due to his injury and Varlamov's emergence. He waited as long as he could before going elsewhere. Would have rather not seen him go to the Pens but .... ah well. Can't really blame him.

I had assumed that Jose would be the backup for next year but also assume he'll get plenty of playing time.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | July 21, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

I woke up, smelled the coffee and Johnson being a Pen still sucks and he will be treated like the rest of the Pens trash when he comes to VC.
I think everyone with an IQ over 70 knows it was a business choice but it still doesn't mean we, as Caps fans have to like it or still think he is a great guy.
Pen=Dead to Caps fans.
Hahahha Hope he didn't go there thinking he would get his name on the cup...little late old chap.

Posted by: jotay131 | July 22, 2009 5:42 AM | Report abuse

Further proof that Theo has no trade value.

Posted by: C-way | July 22, 2009 5:50 AM | Report abuse

Well, three weeks into free agency and Johnson signs a one-year deal for $525K with no guarantee he'll even be the back-up. I say there wasn't much Johnny love in the NHL. Who can blame a guy for taking his only offer? It was that or retire. I really think he's worth more than that as a back-up, but you're only truly worth what someone will pay.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 22, 2009 5:59 AM | Report abuse

Not sure what was in the water today but I had two positive thoughts this morning.

Theo) It's very possible that Theo bounces back next year. His contract years have always been his best years. Hopefully his pride pushes him the way Osgood stepped up after the Wings signed Hasek.

B-Mo) I'm convinced B-Mo will be the second-line center we're all looking for. He will really benefit from the easier travel schedule in the eastern conference.

In Dallas, his division games were two time zones away, and he had regular trips to Edmonton, Vancouver, and Calgary.

This season, other than an extended road trip out west, the furthest he will have to travel is Montreal or Miami. That should help bring his durability back to what it was with Vancouver.

Posted by: guiliano89 | July 22, 2009 6:24 AM | Report abuse

Rocc00,
Disagreeing with someone elses opinion is fine, but your response yesterday was totally unacceptable. I hope that you are not around anymore to read this.

Posted by: _Mark | July 22, 2009 7:15 AM | Report abuse

CB28031,
It is ok to take the tinfoil off your head. GMGM is not in a conspiracy to ruin the team.
Johnny was a well liked guy, but GMGM has done a good enough job with goalies that we could not keep him.

Posted by: _Mark | July 22, 2009 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Nice link about Feds, Tess. He seems happy and realistic. Good luck to him in the KHL.

Re: Johnson. Shame, but someone had to go. It's that simple. We will be expecting great things from Varly this coming season--no reason to think he won't be great, and with Theo backing up with Neuwirth waiting in the wings, we're in good shape in the goal.

Since we have Theo, maybe it would be good to support him, instead of trashing him. And, sports fans, Johnson in the Pens camp will just be a fact of life. We'll still hate it if the Pens beat the Caps at any point, but there's no need to single out BJ as the enemy. Chill out.

I can't wait for the season to begin to see how all the changes shake out.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | July 22, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

I would never say a player is dead to me - that's crossing a line in my opinion. Instead I'd like to thank Johnny for what he did here, I always liked him and he was so upbeat in interviews. I'd prefer he weren't a Pen (or a Flyer), but he's lucky to have gotten an offer. There are a lot of goalies still looking for work, and I'm glad he's not one of them. But I won't wish him good luck in Pittsburgh....

Posted by: Highfive8 | July 22, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Well he obviously wasn't a true Cap. We have some pride. Any true Cap player would never go play for the Pens. Off with Gonchar, Cooke and now Johnny.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 22, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Johnson is a fantastic goaltender who deserves a starting position. His friendly (?) competition with Theo last year brought out the best in both of them and helped secure the Southeast. Who knows, maybe he'll step in for Fleury if he gets injured and get a chance to win the Stanley Cup. If he keeps healthy, he's that good. I say congrats on the contract and it's a shame room was never kept for him in Washington - simply one of the strongest assets and team players out there.

Posted by: fronesis1016 | July 22, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

He's part of the enemy now, I don't care how good of a guy he was. As soon as you put on that black and gold sweater, you are the enemy, plain and simple. He was serviceable and injury prone. I thank him for his contributions here in D.C., but I will not wish him luck as long as he is wearing the colors of the enemy.

Posted by: nag1055 | July 22, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Neurvith will only be looking to unseat Varly since Theo doesn't have a two way contract(which if he did he'd be the most expensive player in the minors). and I seriously doubt theo will be sent away or traded before this coming season.

Posted by: breaklance | July 22, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

While I feel bad that Johnny is now a Penguin, I don't think we should take it too personally. It doesn't prevent us from doing what we always do and that's score goals, right? Let's hope he finds some time in the net when they play us. That will help us exorcise any of our sentimental feelings towards him. Great guy though but like most have said, he's one of them now. His utter humiliation is imminent. =P Bring on the new season!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | July 22, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

The two biggest obstacles between the Washington Capitals and the Stanley Cup?

1) pittsburgh penguins ---WRONG!
2) Detroit Red Wings------WRONG!

They are

1)michael nylander
2)jose threeormore (nice one Puckguy)

And I'm finally sinking into the realization that nylander is untradable and that we are going to have to eat his whole contract. I've been holding on to hope that some team with a possession-oriented Euro-finesse system want him. I am so mad at that guy. What a total peice that sucker is.

Posted by: large23220 | July 22, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I for one can't wait for training camp. I am excited about the new defensive coach. It will be a real battle between 10 guys for 6 spots on the defense. With the addition of BMo and Knuble I think the forward lines will have a lot of changes. Fehr and Flash will have step their games up to make the lineup, like maybe checking someone. Come on September.

Posted by: nimrodrsp | July 22, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I think people forget that until he got hurt, Johnny was giving Theodore a run for his money. He came into camp stating that he would challenge for #1 and frankly, I thought Theodore played better when he thought his job was iffy. In fact, when Theo did start to suck, he was #1 for awhile, and then he got hurt. Is he a legit #1? Probably not, but he could be part of a sharing arrangement. Hopefully , he'll stay healthy, and get a better gig next summer.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | July 22, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone catch that we traded the once highly touted Keith Seabrook to Calgary for what? FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS. We should have gotten a 2nd rounder for that before the draft! Despite the busts of 2005, our cup (no pun intended) runneth over with talent. We don't know what to do with these kids. I hope we figure it out before AO gets seriously hurt or too long in the tooth.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | July 22, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

@political_stratgst

Yeah, it's been noted, and also noted that there hasn't been as big a deal made of it as perhaps there should have been. I hope it doesn't come back to bite us in le arse.

Posted by: SmallZ827 | July 22, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

So Biron signed for 1.4 million today with the Islanders. This makes Mcphee's ridiculous 4.5 MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT more fiscally reckless than it was before. Sure, there were not as many goalies on the market last year but man this guy is picking up a $4.5 check for being a second tier goalkeeper. Coupled with the $4.7 we dumped on Nylander we are looking at 9.2 in our budget for a couple of has beens.

Posted by: diner99 | July 23, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

i truly think the caps should of traded away theo and kept johnny.leis face it,varly is probably gonna be our #1 guy and johnson is a way better back up than theo.plus i think johnny is a wayyyyy better goalie than theo anyway.i really liked johnson and he will be missed.i hate the pens but if the caps dont win the cup next year than i hope the pens do just for the sake of brent johnson.good luck bj,we'll miss ya!now,GO CAPS!!!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | July 23, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

The hatred on this post is unbelivable. Hating Johnny for going to Pitt after he waited several weeks to see if the Caps could make room for him is hardly the actions of a traitor. And to say anyone who goes to Pitt is dead to you makes no sense. I hate the Pens as much as any Caps fans, but I don't hate the people as individuals. Cooke was a rental player from the get go and for that few months we got more out of him than we were from Pettinger and for those (obviously) new fans, Caps traded Gonchar to Boston and then he went to Pitt so it's not like he just bolted there at his first opportunity. Grow up, learn to think and remember, in the end it's just a game (for us fans anyway).

Posted by: ds_kelly | July 23, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Classy guy in a classless town. I wish him health and losses (and a better town to play in next year).

ds_kelly - spot on. Hate is for fans, not players. What a great opportunity for BJ.

Posted by: buzzardbait | July 23, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Too bad the Pens didn't try to sign Theo and leave us with Johnny. . . sorry to see him go, but it is what it is. No real loss to the Caps given our tremendous depth at the position. Johnny was right -- odd man out situation. Wish him well personally, but hope his team loses every game.

Posted by: Exile_in_Philly | July 23, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

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