The best time of the year is upon us, with just weeks left until the new NHL season begins. The teams are now preparing with pre-season games, and it’s a great opportunity for players to show they deserve a place on the roster when the regular season starts.
The New York Islanders defender Ross Johnston only played for 16 games last season. The 29-year-old enforcer didn’t get that many opportunities despite the Islanders suffering injuries.
Johnson is now on his second season of a four-year contract, and to secure more playing time this season than the last, he needs to show up during pre-season. And that’s exactly what he did in Tuesday’s exhibition game against the New York Rangers.
In the first period, Johnston was assessed a four-minute minor when he retaliated on Vincent Trocheck for a knee-on-knee hit on an Islanders teammate.
In the second period, Johnston was back at it again. This time, he went after Matt Rempe, who just had laid out Isaiah George with a big hit. The fight was lengthy and didn’t seem very pre-seasonly, but fans absolutely loved it.
Johnston didn’t have his best fight against the 21-year-old rookie Rempe, but he was praised for what he brought to the team.
“I love the fight,” Islanders coach Lane Lambert said, per NY Post. “Certainly he does fill a role for us and he does his job.”
But on social media, all the praise went to Rempe, the young rookie who, without a doubt, held his own against a veteran.