MLD 2011 Draft Thread II
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07-29-2011, 09:33 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Philadelphia, PA
With my 1st pick, I'll take
C/RW Mark Johnson
1x NHL All Star Game Participant
1980 Olympic Gold Medalist
Hartford Whalers Captain, 1983-85
United States Hockey Hall of Fame Member
IIHF Hockey Hall of Fame Member
SH TOI/G(80-87, excluding 83-85): 3, 4, 1, 5, 1
Leading scorer of US 1980 Olympic Team
26th in points, 1983-84
29th in assists, 1983-84
Under the guidance of his famous father, he enjoyed three outstanding years at the University of Wisconsin. He racked up 256 points over those years and was twice selected to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association All-Star Team after leading the conference in goals. His relative lack of size caused many teams to avoid drafting him, but the Pittsburgh Penguins selected him 66th overall at the 1977 Amateur Draft with the hope that he would mature in college and gain valuable international experience wearing the colors of the United States.
He played well for the U.S. at the 1978 and 1979 World Championships before committing to the national team as it prepared for the Lake Placid Olympics. Then J
ohnson proved to be one of the top players during Team USA's Miracle on Ice gold medal win in 1980. He scored 11 points in seven matches and was a respected figure in the dressing room. His two biggest goals came in the 4-3 upset over the USSR that paved the way to the gold medal.
After the Games, Johnson joined the Penguins for the last 17 regular-season games and first round of the playoffs. His acquisition brought the team some badly needed headlines in a city where the sports pages were dominated by the Steelers in football and the Pirates in baseball. He played solidly and proved he could stand the pace of the NHL game. As a rookie in 1980-81, he scored 33 points on a weak Pittsburgh squad and then represented the U.S. at the World Championship in the spring and the Canada Cup in the fall. Halfway through the 1981-82 season, he was traded to Minnesota. Following the North Stars' early exit from the playoffs at the hands of Chicago, Johnson again represented his country at the World Championship.
His career took a turn for the better when he was sent to Hartford in a deal consummated at the NHL Entry Draft.
The Whalers utilized his speed and offensive savvy in a way that allowed him to play his best hockey as a professional
. He was often teamed with xxx and xxx and produced consecutive 30-goal seasons in 1982-83 and 1983-84.
In 1984, after a 35 goal season, he was named the Whalers' most valuable player. As William Houston noted, "It took him a while to learn the little tricks needed to make a small man effective in the rough NHL when to drive for the net, when to be aggressive and when to back off to save energy."
A popular player wherever he went, Johnson totaled 508 NHL points. He was
often deployed on both the power-play and the penalty-killing units and was always highly regarded for his on ice intelligence. And his performance at Lake Placid in 1980 made him one of the heroes of U.S. hockey to a whole generation of fans.
Mark will become perhaps the greatest college hockey player ever, as well as Olympic hero and NHL star.
But in the meantime all he wants for Christmas is a Soviet Union hockey jersey, preferably Vladimir Petrov.
Yes, that's correct. The son of an hockey legend and very much an American hockey legend in his own right grew up idolizing the Soviets. I don't think dad could have been any happier.
Mark Johnson emulated the Soviet game perfectly, playing a beautiful brand of hockey based on skill, skating and passing. His teammates called him "Magic," because the things he could do with the puck and the plays he could create with his wondrous passing ability made some think he was hockey's equivalent to NBA star Magic Johnson.
"He was our Gretzky," said Olympic teammate Jim Craig.
He was good.
He led Madison Memorial to the 1976 Wisconsin High School championship in 1976, but he almost missed much of his final year of secondary schooling because some felt the 17 year old was ready for the 1976 Olympic team. After scoring 11 points in 11 exhibition games, he ultimately was not considered for the team as his father, who was coaching Team USA at the Innsbruck Games, feared charges of nepotism.
Father and son would unite the next season at the University of Wisconsin where both will forever be legends. In Mark's freshman year he led the Badgers to the NCAA championship.
Mark, who scored 36 goals and 80 points in 40 games, scored 2 goals and 3 points in the title game against Michigan.
Johnson would complete three seasons at Wisconsin, completing his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology in 1994 after his hockey career ended. But in the 1979-80 season the Americans would not leave their top collegian off their Olympic team this time around, especially since the games were to be played in Lake Placid, New York.
Not even the fact that Herb Brooks, Bob Johnson's fierce rival and downright bitter enemy, was coaching the team could keep Mark Johnson off this team. He was too good. Without him, Team USA had no hope of any hockey glory in 1980.
Johnson led all Team USA players in pre-Olympic scoring, with 33 goals, 48 assists and 81 points, and then led the Americans in Olympic scoring with 11 points.
Though Mike Eruzione scored the famous game winning goal against the Soviets, it was Johnson who scored two keys against the mighty Russians. His first goal tied the game at 2-2 with just one second left in the first period, and his second goal tied the game at 3-3 midway through the third period, setting the stage for Eruzione's game-winner. Johnson then went on to score the game-winning goal in team's 4-2 win over Finland to give the Americans the 1980 Olympic gold medal!
Following the Olympics Johnson moved on to the NHL, joining the Pittsburgh Penguins who drafted him 66th overall back in 1977. He would go on to be
Pittsburgh's rookie of the year in 1980-81
, but he never could get established in the Steel City. His small size and international game put him at a disadvantage in the rough and tumble world of the NHL. He would have to adjust his game if he were to succeed in the NHL.
Adjust he did, and succeed he did. After a short 10 game stint with the Minnesota North Stars, Johnson joined the Hartford Whalers in 1982. It was with the Whalers he is best remembered as a pro, playing on a line with xxx and xxx. In his first year he exploded for 31 goals and 69 points, and then set career highs in 1983-84 with 35 goals and 87 points. That year he was even invited to the NHL All Star game, where he tied an All Star game record (since broke) with 3 assists.
It ended at last, and Brooks had the players coast slowly around the rink so that the lactic acid could work itself out of their muscles. And that was when Forward Mark Johnson broke his stick over the boards.
Mark Johnson, who made the team go. Mark Johnson, who was its hardest worker, its smartest player.
Brooks treated Johnson differently, too.
Johnson is a competitor, one of those rare players who find the puck on their stick all night long
. He is absolutely dedicated to hockey, and was dedicated to the team—a leader by example. Yet, until September, Johnson had no idea where he stood. No one did—Brooks had an ax over everyone's head. But
Brooks took Johnson aside shortly after the Skate Till You Die episode and told him, "You're the guy who's going to make or break us. When you're really playing, our whole team gets better.
Johnson, busting toward the net, weaved through the two Soviet defensemen and picked up the puck. He feinted, dropping his shoulder as if to shoot, and Tretiak went to his knees. Johnson pulled the puck back, moved to his left a bit and slid the puck behind Tretiak and into the net just before time expired.
Wisconsin's spectacular center Mark Johnson, future hero of the 1980 Olympic team
Enter Mark Johnson, son of coaching legend Badger Bob Johnson and a player all
considered the most talented scorer of the bunch.
Brooks was most impressed by the skill of three players who had given his Gophers fits so many problems over the years: Mark Johnson of University of Wisconsin, xxx of University of Minnesota-Duluth, and Dave Christian of the University of North Dakota.
Of the three,
Johnson was the most refined, and was so smooth when he beat you, it was almost painless.
Despite his size, Johnson proved his ability to stand up to a check during the Games. He assisted on the winning goal in the gold medal clinching victory over Finland when he outmuscled a Finnish defenseman behind the net and put a perfect pass on the stick of xxx.
"He's not big, but he's got hockey smarts," Bastien said. "I've seen him five times and every time he had the knack for making the big play."
Mark Johnson, a former University of Wisconsin hockey star who now plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL,
apparently thrives on pressure.
But Tuesday night Johnson,
who has earned the nickname "Magic" from his teammates
, scored twice as the Penguins defeated the Boston Bruins in Boston, 4-2, in the first game in the best of five first round playoff series.
"Mark Johnson has been a big plus for us," said Russ Anderson, a player for the Penguins. "He comes up with the big plays and he's a winner. He's already proven that."
Gretzky, who had only one assist and one shot on goal at that juncture, went into his patented 360-degree puck-handling spin just inside the left point.
But Johnson, who more than held his own against the NHL's leading scorer earlier this season, knew Gretzky's move well.
With impeccable timing, the former Olympic hero darted behind the Oiler center, made a clean steal at top speed and was about 20 feet up ice before Gretzky had realized his pocket had been picked.
Mark Johnson is said to weight 160 pounds, and maybe with his hockey equipment on, he does.
Stronger shoulders than his have buckled under the weight of leadership, but his seem to bend with the burden.
There's no question he makes our club go
," says US coach Herb Brooks of the 22 year old center from Madison, Wisc. who played for his father, Bob, at the University of Wisconsin. "
If I coached against Mark Johnson, I'd key on him.
That's what the Swedish team did Tuesday night in their 2-2 tie with the Americans. They kept sending fresh players out to cover Johnson while he skated shift after shift.
"You might see Mark get 30 or 40 percent of the ice time," said Brooks. "We have to get him the puck."
Johnson helped Tuesday by killing penalties and playing the point on the power play
in addition to taking regular shifts while the team faced 1-0 and 2-1 deficits.
It still wasn't quite over and things got hairy when xxx went out for tripping with less than five minutes to play.
But, again short-handed, Uncle Sam's kids picked up the clincher from ever-hustling Mark Johnson, perhaps the most offensively minded of all the players.
Last edited by BillyShoe1721: 07-31-2011 at
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