Pascal Vincent Explains Why Kent Johnson Was An Extra Skater At Tuesday's Practice

By Coby Maeir on October 10, 2023 at 3:53 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets center Kent Johnson (91) takes a shot on goal during the third period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center.
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

At the first Blue Jackets practice since the revealing of their season-opening roster, Kent Johnson was an extra skater. 

Johnson, who recorded two assists and a -1 rating in four preseason games, scored 40 points in 79 games as a rookie in 2022-23. After Tuesday's practice, Blue Jackets head coach Pascal Vincent said that he's not sure Johnson isn't going to play, so there is a chance he does suit up Thursday night against the Flyers.

Vincent said that Johnson is a great player and does not want to change his play style, but did speak about the team's style of play.

"His adapting to what we're trying to do is a little bit slower," Vincent said. “It's not against him [or] his style of play. I don't want to change him whatsoever."

Vincent also said that in order to win consistently, players must continue to evolve. 

"In KJ’s case," Vincent said. "That's the pace. Like just the pace and going and going. And I know he's going to bring it. He can, like this morning at practice, he was one of our best players. So it's good to see. But it's not that I didn't like his camp, I think there is more pace to him. But his training was right. He's doing everything right. It's just that like I said earlier, we have to make a decision and only 20 guys can play.”

Vincent mentioned Johnson's adjustment is a bit slower, which implies that there is indeed a new system that he and the rest of the coaching staff are implementing. 

We'll see if Johnson is indeed a healthy scratch on Thursday, but if he is, Vincent is sending a clear message. It doesn't matter where they were drafted, how skilled they are, or how many points they scored last year. If Vincent doesn't think a player is one of the best 20, they won't play.

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