The tight-knit Bruins locker room provides a culture for everyone involved. It doesn’t matter if you’re a veteran, a young player or an in-season acquisition. They’re all welcomed with open arms once they step foot at Warrior Ice Arena and TD Garden.
Marcus Johansson found that out first hand during his initial interaction(s) with his new teammates following Monday’s trade deadline. He already has some history with members of this year’s Bruins. Jaroslav Halak was a teammate of his in Washington for a brief time following the 2014 trade deadline and John Moore shared the same locker room in New Jersey last season.
But there’s one particular interaction that raised eyebrows following an incident during a Bruins-Devils Jan. 2018 contest. That’s when Brad Marchand elbowed Johansson during the third period of that Eastern Conference tilt at TD Garden.
Marchand earned a five-game suspension for his flying elbow to Johansson’s head. Johansson sustained a concussion and missed a significant amount of time following Marchand’s hit. The Swedish winger didn’t mince words about the incident upon returning to New Jersey’s lineup last season.
But here they are 13 months later. Both Marchand and Johansson aimed to put that event behind them. And they have.
One of the topics Johansson discussed with Don Sweeney upon his first interaction was Marchand himself. The Bruins GM stated that Johansson would much rather be playing with Marchand and not be playing against him. That was a big step.
Then came Johansson’s conversation with Marchand where the two new teammates buried the hatchet. Now, they look forward to sharing the same locker room.
“That’s water under the bridge. You know, it’s hockey and it’s a tough game,” Johansson said following the optional skate in Brighton. “He called me yesterday and we spoke for a bit and he apologized, which I think was great, you know; I said that ‘that stuff happens a lot.’ It’s just fun to be here and it’s fun to be his teammate and I think he’s one of the best players in the league. So I’m happy to be on this side of it now.”
Johansson and Marchand won’t call each other linemates. But the two will enjoy each others company as the Bruins embark on their stretch run.
“I think that with most teams you kind of have guys that bumped heads a little bit. And I think that’s just what it is,” Johansson said. “I think for me, it’s something that I put behind me. I’m happy that I’m just playing hockey right now. I’ve heard great things about Marchy [Marchand] that he’s just a great guy and a great teammate, and I think he’s a hell of a hockey player. So I’m just excited to be a part of this.”
Marchand and the rest of the Bruins are happy to have an upgrade in the middle of their lineup, regardless.
Bruce Cassidy placed Johansson on the second line with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci as the Bruins prepare for their second meeting in eight days with the highly-talented San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. The 28-year-old will also get some power play time on the second unit with Coyle, David Backes and Danton Heinen up front and Charlie McAvoy at the point.
Johansson’s arrival comes at a good time as the Bruins look to extend their point streak to 14 straight to kick off their season-long six-game homestand. His numbers aren’t exactly eye-opening — 12 goals and 15 assists in 48 games played this season — but Johansson’s play of late speaks volumes. The Swedish winger has 13 points in his last 12 games and should fit in nicely as a second or third liner.
“It’s been great. Ever since the call that I got that I was traded the guys have been great. I got a lot of texts and phone calls and I feel very welcome right away,” Johansson said. “This seems like a great organization and a great hockey team, so I’m excited to be here.”
“You play to get a chance to win in the playoffs,” Johansson added. “I’ve gotten that opportunity now and I’m really excited about it.”
Having the opportunity to share the same locker room with talented players like Marchand, Krejci, DeBrusk and Patrice Bergeron is one thing. What Johansson does with that opportunity is key for a successful home stretch and playoff run for the Black and Gold.
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
Bruins Daily is a NHL credentialed media organization that is dedicated to being the leading provider of Boston Bruins news, analysis, and commentary, by focusing exclusively on the Boston organization. Bruins Daily provides written content, studio produced video, and on location video, all with a unique voice that fans can relate to. Complete coverage is provided through all of the latest NHL/AHL news, updates, scores, injuries, transactions and fan events.