Johnsson says pain didn't last long

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 15, 2007 - 11:53 PM

Kim Johnsson is healthy and symptom-free.

Sure, the Wild made it sound five months ago like the veteran defenseman would be eating from a straw for the rest of his life, but Johnsson said the effects of the concussion he sustained in Game 4 of the first round lasted just a week.

"I felt right away like it wasn't the one I had [two years ago] in Philadelphia, so I wasn't worried about it at all," Johnsson said. "I had three hits in three weeks and kept playing in Philly. This one, no worries at all."

Now, the 31-year-old is looking forward to another season as the Wild's top minuteman (23 minutes, 33 seconds a game last year). Signed to a four-year, $19.4 million contract in July 2006, Johnsson, who didn't see much power-play time, scored only 22 points last season.

But he's not worried about improving that total.

"I just do what the coaches and team want me to do," Johnsson said. "They want me to play against the best players. I did that and I think me and [defenseman partner Nick Schultz] did a pretty good job of that. We had the fewest goals against in the whole league, so I think we did a really good job at it.

"If we shut down their best guys, that's going to give us a chance to win every game."

Helmet with meaning]

Goaltender Josh Harding, 23, who last year designed a new helmet to raise money for breast cancer to honor his sister, Stephanie Le Bruno, has unveiled a new mask.

It commemorates the I-35W bridge collapse. The bridge, as it once stood, wraps the helmet. In the back is the I-35W insignia and the date, "8-1-07."This tragedy caused so much pain for a lot of families, I felt this would be a good way to honor them and a community that means a lot to me," Harding said.

Also on the helmet is his favorite band, Rascal Flatts. Lead singer Gary LeVox is on one side singing and guitarists Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney are on the other jamming away.

"They called me and were pretty pumped about it," Harding said.

The helmet worked, too, because he took a laser off the melon from Branko Radivojevic.

Incidentally, Le Bruno, 26, underwent three successful surgeries to treat her cancer. She's now pregnant, and Harding raised more than $23,000 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Etc.]

• The Wild's scrimmage Saturday featured a scoreless first half that included a disallowed goal. Defenseman Kurtis Foster scored 23 seconds into the second half for a 1-0 Team Honesty lead in an eventual 6-0 rout with Harding in net. For more, go to startribune.com/blogs/wildblog.

• Three home games sold out in 10 minutes Saturday when single-game tickets went on sale at 9 a.m. The Wild's home opener against Chicago on Oct. 4, the Oct. 30 game against Pittsburgh and the Jan. 18 game against Anaheim sold out. About 27,400 single-game tickets sold over the week.

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