In the days prior to the Capitals’ season opener, Coach Bruce Boudreau said that he wanted to see more from the team’s second-year center Marcus Johansson. Boudreau reinforced that message when he made Johansson a healthy scratch against the Hurricanes Saturday night and played Mathieu Perreault instead.
“It was not fun,” Johansson said. “You always want to play. I was not happy at all but we won the game and it’s a new day. Got to keep fighting and honestly, I just want to play. It’s not fun [to sit out].”
Johansson was back on the second line in practice Sunday, skating with Troy Brouwer and Alexander Semin and it appears that the 21-year-old Swede will be in the mix on Monday against Tampa Bay. Perreault practiced as an extra forward on Sunday.
Boudreau wants to see whoever centers that line help create scoring chances for Semin and help bring balance to the Capitals’ offense.
“Just to play up to his capabilities, that’s all,” Boudreau said when asked what he wants to see out of Johansson. “We’re not asking him to be superman or invent the wheel, or to do those things. Just to play up to his potential.”
For Johansson, that means maintaining his work ethic and trying to not get lost in his teammates’ style of play.
“I’m here to play hockey,” Johansson said. “I want to play every day. I don’t want to watch the team play, so it’s good to be back [on the second line].”
--Veteran defenseman Roman Hamrlik, who led the Capitals with 23 minutes and 18 seconds of ice time against Carolina, was given Sunday’s practice off. He was the only player that didn’t participate in the session.