On the 21st episode of the show, Ryan Johnsen of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets calls in.
Johansen, who will turn 23 this summer, was drafted 4th overall in 2010 by Columbus, and just completed his 4th season with the club, and It was arguably his best yet. He hit career highs in assists, points, and short-handed goals, and was also not only elected to the NHL All-Star game, but voted the game’s MVP to boot.
We talk about his pseudo “feud” with his brother Lucas, as Ryan’s alumni WHL team the Portland Winterhawks was amidst a battle with the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL’s western conference final earlier in May, which ultimately was won by Kelowna, who also went on to sweep the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL final, and are now competing in the 2015 Memorial Cup tournament in Quebec.
We talk about how Ryan is using his experience in climbing the hockey ranks to the NHL to show his brother the way there, but at the same time how Lucas is committed to getting there on his own accord. We also discussed his decision making process of declining of a full-ride NCAA scholarship to play in the WHL en route to the NHL, the taxing nature of 82 NHL games on the body and what he does in the off-season to recuperate.
Ryan and Lucas’ brotherly dynamic was featured in an article I wrote for the Kelowna Daily Courier on May 4, which includes quotes from Lucas. If you’re interested in reading that, click here to read the story.
We also brought up the Blue Jackets’ frustrating, injury prone season and how frustrating that was to go through in the Blue Jackets’ dressing room, how it’s been for Ryan to play in the city of Columbus through his career, how he’s come to eclipse former Blue Jackets stars like Rick Nash, Jeff Carter, and Marian Gaborik, his thoughts on team veterans like newly named captain Nick Foligno and others that have helped show him the ropes in the league, and the direction the John Davidson and company now have the franchise steered in.
To round out the conversation, we also discussed the IIHF World Championship tournament, why many NHL players decline it each year, why he declined his invitation this year, and whether he’d play next year if Columbus finds themselves out of the playoffs or eliminated early next season.