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Chicago Blackhawks News » News » Hawks' Johnson quite an addition at plus-11
Hawks' Johnson quite an addition at plus-11
Hawks' Johnson quite an addition at plus-11
The Blackhawks aren't into individual statistics. They're just trying to stay in playoff position as they enter Game 2 of their six-game trip tonight against the Dallas Stars.


There's one individual stat that's intriguing, though. Defenseman Aaron Johnson, who didn't even make the season-opening roster, is tied for second in the NHL in plus/minus at plus-11. Only Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin (plus-17) rates higher.

Johnson barely played last season, totaling two assists and 30 penalty minutes in 30 games with the New York Islanders and missing more than three months with a torn MCL and ACL. Hawks general manager Dale Tallon signed him as a free agent in July.

''A good signing for us,'' coach Joel Quenneville said. ''He's a depth defenseman. He gives us size and has done some scoring. We couldn't ask for more.''

The plus-minus figure is computed from the number of goals scored by and against a player's team while he's on the ice. The Hawks' Duncan Keith was second among NHL defensemen and fifth in the league overall last season at plus-30. Teammate Kris Versteeg is plus-10 this season, second-best on the Hawks and tops among NHL rookies.

''It's a crazy stat,'' said Johnson, who started the season in Rockford but was called up for the third game after Niklas Hjalmarsson suffered a rib injury. ''It's a good stat, but not like goals or assists. It's more like a five-person battle because everyone on the ice contributes to it. Others save your butt sometimes.''

Johnson is playing about 15 minutes per game in the third defensive pairing. He had two goals and two assists in his first six games after the call-up, then added a game-winning goal Nov. 9 against Calgary. He has yet to be a minus player in any game and also plays on the Hawks' seventh-ranked penalty-killing unit.

''I'm getting used to playing now,'' he said. ''I was up and down to the minors the last three years, and last year I didn't play much. I'm just excited to come to this team and get some games under my belt. I've been on both sides of plus/minus, and I try not to look at it too much. I'm just trying to stay on an even keel through all of this.''

In three seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Johnson was minus-2 in 29 games in 2003-04, plus-9 in 26 games the next season and minus-9 in 61 games in 2006-07. He was plus-2 last season for the Islanders.

He'll try to improve his stat tonight while protecting Nikolai Khabibulin, who'll start successive games in goal for the third time after his stellar work Tuesday in a 3-2 shootout victory at Phoenix.

Comment at suntimes.com.

TONIGHT

Blackhawks

AT Stars

The facts: 7:30, CSN, 720-AM.

The story line: In the second game of their six-game trip, the Hawks face a rested Stars team that last played Saturday. Goalie Marty Turco, who has dominated the Hawks through the years, isn't playing at the high level he once did. He's 5-7-3 with a 3.57 goal-against average and an .870 save percentage.

Len Ziehm



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 20, 2008

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