New Jersey Devils forward Marcus Johansson, who has missed 28 games battling a concussion stemming from a Brad Marchand elbow to the head Jan. 23, returned to practice Monday and didn’t hold back on his opinion of the hit.
“It was stupid. There’s nothing else to say about it,” Johannson said of the hit from the controversial Boston Bruins winger. “There was no point in doing that. There was no hockey play there whatsoever. I think it’s sad to see that there’s still guys out there that are trying to hurt other guys.
“I hope it doesn’t come to him ending someone else’s career before it’s enough. That’s not why we play the game. I think there’s always situations where you try and hit someone and you try to make a hockey play, and things can go wrong. Then there are plays like this, that has nothing to do with hockey. So it’s sad to see, and I guess I’m unfortunate to be on the receiving end of that.”
Marchand, 29, a talented forward but no stranger to discipline for illegal hits, served a five-game suspension for this one. But Johansson said he wasn’t satisfied with the amount of the time served by Marchand.
“Ah, not really, considering it was the ninth time he got suspended or fined,” Johansson said. “Trying to put that behind me, and I just want to get back to feeling normal again and that’s all I can do.”
Johansson, 27, is in his first season with the Devils, who acquired him from the Washington Capitals for 2018 second- and third-round draft picks. He has five goals and nine assists in 29 games this season, after a career-best 24 goals last season with the Capitals.
The Devils are currently holding onto the second wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference with seven games to play.