Pre-Traverse City Notebook: Kent Johnson and Kirill Marchenko Are Connecting

By Coby Maeir on September 14, 2022 at 7:51 pm
Kent Johnson
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
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Beginning on Thursday, the Jackets will participate in the NHL Prospects Tournament. On Wednesday, the group practiced in Columbus one final time before heading to Traverse City, Michigan.

Here's what forwards Kent Johnson and Kirill Marchenko told the media after practice. 

Kirill Marchenko

Marchenko said he's getting comfortable in Columbus and has been to the home of former Jacket and fellow Russian Fedor Tyutin, who Marchenko said has helped him with groceries and shopping.

He's also excited to get back out on the ice again.

"I'm very happy because I [haven't played hockey] in six months," he said. "I [really miss playing] hockey."

While the absences of both Oliver Bjorkstrand and Alexandre Texier may open up a spot in the lineup for Marchenko, he said that hasn't factored into his mind.

"For me, my mentality [doesn't] change," he said. "I'm just [going to] work and keep [working]."

When asked about whether or not he's heard about how easy or difficult an NHL training camp is, Marchenko gave a very simple response. 

"I'm from Russia," he said. "Our training camp starts in July."

Marchenko has enjoyed playing with 2021 No. 5 overall pick Kent Johnson. 

"I like [to] play with him," he said. "I'm happy because he is a very good center [and] a good player and he gives very good passes. And that for me is very nice because I like shooting."

Kent Johnson

Johnson reciprocates Marchenko's enjoyment of sharing the ice.

"It's fun," he said. "He loves hockey out there, which is nice. He just enjoys practicing [and] loves scoring. So it's pretty fun to skate with him and obviously [he's] a great player."

Johnson also talked about the level of communication he has with Marchenko. 

"We can communicate pretty well," he said. "It's good he's making an effort to improve his English which everyone really appreciates and it's already pretty good."

Even after just a short time playing together, Johnson is impressed with specific aspects of Marchenko's game.

"I think he's a really powerful skater," he said. "[He's a] big guy, skilled, [and] can shoot the puck hard so I'm obviously pretty pumped to see him in a game."

Johnson also reflected on his golden goal at the World Juniors in August and if he's thought about that goal.

"Definitely," he said. "It's pretty crazy, especially in Canada, how big it is. It's just really exciting. I'm so lucky that Columbus let me play in the tournament and everything, so it worked out great."

When asked if that goal was the best moment of his career, his answer was simple.

"Yeah," he said. "I haven't had a better one yet."

Johnson said he's worked on everything this off-season, but highlighted his work to get stronger.

"From when I got back from worlds to now I've probably gained eight pounds," he said.

He also said he plans on playing center in the upcoming NHL Prospects Tournament.

"It should be a good challenge for me," he said.

The Jackets will begin play on Thursday at 3 p.m. ET against St. Louis.



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