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Posted at 2:20 PM ET, 02/ 8/2011

Capitals rookie Marcus Johansson 'wants to learn everything'

By Katie Carrera

Marcus Johansson, right, celebrates a short-handed goal against Pittsburgh. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)


Marcus Johansson should play in his 42nd NHL game tonight against the San Jose Sharks, just three games shy of the most he ever played in a single season in the Swedish Elite League and the hectic schedule has been one of the biggest elements the 20-year-old rookie center has needed to adjust to this year.

"It's a lot of things but I haven't played this many games, I think, in a season and it's different," Johansson said. "It's fun and I want to play as much as possible. It will just come with time how to play when you're not having a good day without being too bad so you can keep it on [an even] level. That's a thing I've got to learn."

On Sunday in Washington's 3-0 win over Pittsburgh, Johansson was on one of his noticeable upswings in a season of peaks and valleys. His speed was readily apparent, he created scoring chances for linemates Matt Hendricks and Mike Knuble and even added a beauty of a short-handed goal for the Capitals' second tally of the contest.

The focus for Johansson, along with many of the team's younger players, is to establish a rhythm to his game so he can be a factor every night.

"I've informed him a few times of how important consistency is for an NHL player, but he's 20 years old. Sometimes you're going to get it and sometimes you're not," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Hopefully he's responsible enough and consistent enough that the can have those games on a day-to-day basis."

Johansson has often leaned on Nicklas Backstrom for on-ice advice and off-ice help this season -- for tips on where to find Swedish food and for a ride to games -- and Backstrom said he doesn't mind serving as a sounding board for his younger teammate.

"I think he's going to be good. He's a good guy and he wants to learn everything," Backstrom said of Johansson. "I think his speed is his biggest thing and he has good skills, too. He can score. He's just pretty much all around but, his speed is the biggest thing. He's a fast skater. I wish I was like that."

While Backstrom may be his closest friend and mentor, Johansson has had the experience of playing with nearly every other forward on the roster at this point in the season and his developing comfort level isn't going unnoticed by the rest of the Capitals.

"I think I benefit just from his youth," Hendricks, 29, said of playing with Johansson. "It's fun to play with him, to be a part of it....When he got here I thought he was very mature for a 20-year-old kid, but I think his maturity level on ice has gone up. He's really learned how to be a pro. It's not just a once-a-week type job; it's every night..... He's starting to figure that out."

By Katie Carrera  | February 8, 2011; 2:20 PM ET
Categories:  Marcus Johansson, Nicklas Backstrom  
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Next: Got questions for Capitals players? Ask them here.

Comments

Great, finally we will have another center and maybe in time another great center (he sure reminds me of watching Igor Larionov when he skates thru the middle) but how about the guy with the quote.

When is GMGM going to show Hendricks somelove for his work ethic this year get him signed up already. YOu gave that guy who brings shame on Scott Stevens number a 2 year extension so he can sit on the bench. OMG !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: bqts | February 8, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Calgary is hurting this year and may not make the playoffs. Anybody else think their #13 could fill our needs at 2C? not sure who I'd give up to get him, but he has a little over a year left on his current contract at $3M-and-change.

And no, I'm not Jokin(en).

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 8, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

...and where can you go to find Swedish food in this town (other than Bäckis' house or the Swedish Embassy)?

LOL

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 8, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Calgary is not hurting right now - in 8th position and has points in 11 of its last 12 games. While they looked like sellers a month or two ago, I don't think they are anymore.

Posted by: chatton | February 8, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I too would like to see Hendricks extended, IIRC it was Cstanton1 who pointed out his value - I have been impressed especially for his low cap hit

Posted by: Redwolf1 | February 8, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Calgary is hurting this year and may not make the playoffs. Anybody else think their #13 could fill our needs at 2C? not sure who I'd give up to get him, but he has a little over a year left on his current contract at $3M-and-change.

And no, I'm not Jokin(en).


Posted by: Rhino40

Not unless they agreed to take Poti back in return.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 8, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

@ Rhino

Uhm Calgary has been on fire! They have won 7 out of their last 8 and their only loss was an OTL. and now hold the #8 spot in he west with 61 points (one win away from jumping all the way up to 4th) the west is very tight race, but Calgary is very much in it. And Jokinen...no f'in way. wouldn't fit our system at all.

Posted by: capsfan387 | February 8, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

...and where can you go to find Swedish food in this town (other than Bäckis' house or the Swedish Embassy)?


IKEA

Posted by: mlody67 | February 8, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't doubt Hendricks' contract will be extended. The guy has made an impression. He gets my vote for an extension. Does anyone have to go though?

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 8, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Extend Hendricks! Another vote -- he works his butt off and plays very well night after night.

He's gritty too.

Posted by: TurbineBlade1 | February 8, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

i don't see how we can't sign him, he won't be that expensive, we have given the chance no one else would, so why wouldn't he want to stay. I would say it's 99.9% sure he signs and the 1% doubt is only existing cuz our GM is McPhee lol

Posted by: capsfan387 | February 8, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

@ capsfan 387

We may have given him the chance but there are lots of teams that wouldn't mind picking a guy like him up now that we gave him the chance to show what off what he can do and will do every night.

Posted by: bqts | February 8, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

We have several UFAs at this point on the front line:

Boyd Gordon...does he come back? Doubtful.
Bradley...good chance at similar to the $1M he makes.
Knuble...not at $2.8M. He has lost a step this year. Maybe he comes back one more year at like $1.5M.

So, keeping Hendricks is easy enough. The club wil also have to make final decisions on Perreault, Beagle and AGordon, all of whom must pass waivers next year to be assigned to the AHL.

My guess is BGordon, Knuble and Perreault are gone. Bradley and Hendricks stay. Beagle and AGordon are promoted to the club. Finally, a veteran FA RW is added OR Kuznetsov makes the club.

Eakin I think starts at Hershey but gets called up several times due to injuries.

If the club signs a vet RW and THEN also Kuzzie makes the club, AGordon would be traded to make space or else we can just keep 14 forwards. Another option is DJ King is moved, it's not like he really ever plays.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 8, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't doubt Hendricks' contract will be extended. The guy has made an impression. He gets my vote for an extension. Does anyone have to go though?

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan

Extending Hendricks(which I am for) may mean the loss of Bradley. Unless Bradley is willing to take less money (say $700k or $800k).

With Beagle looking ready for 3rd or 4th line duty on the wing with Hendricks, I'm not sure if there is room for Bradley if Bradley demands $1M or more.

If Hendricks re-signs the wings for next year are:

Ovie/C/Chimera
(Laich, not signed but expected)/C/Semin
?/C/Fehr
Hendrciks/C/Beagle

The UFA decisions are Knuble, Bradley and maybe BGordon(part time wing).

Extra: DJK

Posted by: sgm3 | February 8, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I forgot Laich is also a UFA, and I assume they will bring him back.

Here is my cap spreadsheet for next year. It has Eakin, but I don't think he'll mkae the club. It has him because he's signed. With $4M in projected space, more likely a vet RW will be there instead of Eakin and also possible Kuzzie will be there instead of one of the other forwards.

Ovechkin (2008-2021) 9.538
Backstrom (2010-2021) 6.700
Semin (impending UFA) 6.700
Laich (re-signs 2011-2015) 3.250
Fehr (impending RFA) 2.200
Chimera (impending UFA) 1.875
Bradley (re-signs 2011-2013) 1.100
Steckel (2010-2013) 1.100
Hendricks (re-signs 2011-2013) 1.000
Johansson (EL signed 2010) 0.900
Eakin (EL signed 2009) 0.740
King (impending UFA) 0.638
Beagle (impending RFA) 0.513
AGordon (impending RFA) 0.500
S/T 14 Forwards 36.754
Green (impending RFA) 5.250
Hannan (resigns 2011-2013) 3.750
Poti (2011-2013 - EEK!) 2.875
Schultz (2010-2014) 2.750
Erskine (2011-2013) 1.500
Alzner (resigns 2011 - impending RFA) 1.000
Carlson (impending RFA) 0.846
S/T 7 Defensemen 17.971
Varlamov (re-signs 2011-2013) 2.000
Neuvirth (2011-2013) 1.150
S/T 2 Goalies 3.150
Total 23 Players 57.875
Cap Space (projected) 62.400
Available 4.525

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 8, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Calgary is hurting this year and may not make the playoffs. Anybody else think their #13 could fill our needs at 2C? not sure who I'd give up to get him, but he has a little over a year left on his current contract at $3M-and-change.

And no, I'm not Jokin(en).

Posted by: Rhino40

Oh my lord HE.LL NO! to Jokinen.
http://tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=1056

I will switch directly into the "fire GMGM camp' if he acquires Jokinen and it does not directly bring a Stanley Cup this year!!!

Jokinen has been rumored to be a locker-room cancer and has been to the playoffs ONCE in a dozen or so years. I have never liked him

Posted by: FrankM73 | February 8, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1.

That Poti signing just looks worse every day. How bad would we like that $3m back, as well as that 2nd rounder we traded for Joe Corvo last year?

Posted by: underpants2 | February 8, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

What about a 'young guns" line of MoJo taking center, Beagle Crashing the net, and Kuzzie sniping.

Sounds like fun to me.

Posted by: bloodontheice | February 8, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

u2: Only God knows why McPhee extended Poti. When I die, that's the first question I plan to ask St. Peter.

Assuming I'm allowed to take the northbound train.

As for the #2 pick, we have assets in the organization we could use if we need to make a deadline (like we traded Ted Ruth for Federov).

Still, Pothier, that Finnish LW AND a #2 for Corvo???

That's my second question for St. Peter, although I think that one has even Him stumped.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 8, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

@underpants

yes the Corvo trade was a bust but at the time we thought we were getting him for a steal, and in all honesty we should have been! Corvo never wanted to be traded, he made that clear in his very first interview after he found out, and it was even more clear when he fled back to Carolina come July. he never wanted to be here, he was forced, and so his heart wasn't in it, he never adjusted to our system, so yes he was a bust, but honestly no one can blame GMGM for making that move.

Posted by: capsfan387 | February 8, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

IKEA® doesn't count...and yes, I too agree that Hendrick should get an extension.

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 8, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

@ tominsocal1

Don't know that GmGm can pull another trade like the Ruth for Fedorov, we got the better end of that deal for sure

Posted by: bqts | February 8, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

IKEA® doesn't count


how about domku cafe? they have scandinavian food...

Posted by: mlody67 | February 8, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

According to Carolina analysts, Corvo has been playing well down there. He is 2nd on the team in ATOI and is a valuable point man on the PP(something the Caps need).

The Caps would be a better team this year if they had Corvo instead of Poti.

Also, the loss of Pothier and Osala is basically giving up nothing.

The 2nd round pick stinks now, but a 2nd round pick in a future draft is approximately equal to a 3rd round pick in the upcoming draft.

Corvo didn't play well for the Caps when he was here, but he is not nearly as bad as some people on here make him out to be.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 8, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

u2: Only God knows why McPhee extended Poti. When I die, that's the first question I plan to ask St. Peter.

Assuming I'm allowed to take the northbound train.

As for the #2 pick, we have assets in the organization we could use if we need to make a deadline (like we traded Ted Ruth for Federov).

Still, Pothier, that Finnish LW AND a #2 for Corvo???

That's my second question for St. Peter, although I think that one has even Him stumped.

Posted by: tominsocal1
----
really tom? the poti extension is highest on the list? not life on other planets, are 51, the virginity of Mary, or was Luther right, or God's opinion on who the best hockey player ever is? or even who the heck did shoot JFK???
...it's the Poti extension! ;-) Lamesauce dude! ;-) LOL

I do agree on the Corvo trade as the second question though :-| heh *cough*

Posted by: FrankM73 | February 8, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

@ capsfan387

We can't blame GMGM for making the Corvo trade?????? Huh?????????? Are you kidding me??? Corvo was a bum before he was traded to Carolina. I would have rather kept Pothier who was getting back his game finally. A prospect, a top 6 d-man (at least on our team) and a second round pick??
I'll blame GMGM EVERY day for that brutal trade. Several of us labeled it a bust from the first second we heard about it. And it was. Even BB's force feeding him the ice time was a joke.

Posted by: rblatch45 | February 8, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Still say Johansson needed this year in the AHL and Cody Eakin was and is second line NHL center ready.

Posted by: dull | February 8, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

sgm,

Corvo, when playing D, sucks. About the only thing he's good at is manning the point on the PP.

Posted by: Steve_R | February 8, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

OK, OK, I admit that I wasn't really serious about acquiring Olli Jokinen; heck, I didn't even look that closely at his stat line--the only reasons I did throw that out there were:

1) Olli Jokinen is, after all, a center, and a decent one, at that. And we need a quality, experienced 2C.

2) It presented a great opportunity for alliteration...kind of like how I always wondered why New Jersey never signed that Miroslav guy who wore #81 and used to play for BUF before later going to NYI, PIT, BOS and now the KHL...

Can you imagine what the headline would have looked like if they later put LL out to pasture and replaced him with Miro as NJ's GM?

Satan Inks Devils' #6 Draft Pick To 6-Year, $6.6M Pact

But I digress...

On second thought, Olli Jokinen has never bad-mouthed the Caps' organization the way a certain Columbus Blue Jacket has done. Talk about a "cancer in the locker room"...

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 8, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

@rbiatch45:
I wouldn't call a secondary source for PP points a bum... it was a gamble based on him helping out and getting healthier. I didn't like the trade then because I absolutely love Osala as a player and plus Pothier was playing well. their stats were almost the same, but Corvo's upside was much better...

Corvo:
http://tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=879
Pothier:
http://tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=2030

Posted by: FrankM73 | February 8, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

@Rhino

RJ has played with Knuble and Chimera at the pro level. And he is also one of Steckel's very good friends. So he would not be a problem in the locker room. That being said I doubt we end up getting someone that we actually would want here anyway.

Posted by: ThePat | February 8, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse

No, Frank, I don't care who shot JFK because, after all, he's dead anyway.

The Caps though are still alive (we think).

The $3.5M in space allocated to Poti this year is bad enough. Now it's going to impact (to a lesser degree) the next two years.

What I really might ask St. Peter is what if we had never signed Poti in the first place. Maybe Nylander wouldn't have needed to be Nylandered. Maybe we could got Billy Guerin in '09 instead of the Pens.

We could been contendahs. We could been somebody. Instead we were losers. Playoff losers. Like bums. With our brother hanging from a meathook near the dock.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 8, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

The Caps need a center so MP can return to Chocolatetown and MJ can move to the 3rd line.

That 2nd round pick GMGM gave up for Corvo sure would be nice right now.

Posted by: ablake70 | February 8, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Still say Johansson needed this year in the AHL and Cody Eakin was and is second line NHL center ready.

Posted by: dull
------------

If Eakin is 2nd-line center ready, what does that make Kuznetzov?

And I'd say MP in Hershey over MJ.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 8, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

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