Penguins debut, not fries, on the menu for defenseman Jack Johnson |

Penguins debut, not fries, on the menu for defenseman Jack Johnson

Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins’ Jack Johnson skates Wednesday Aug. 29, 2018 at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

Defenseman Jack Johnson is scheduled to play his first game in a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey when the team visits Detroit for its second game of the preseason Wednesday night.

Before he hit that milestone, though, he learned something very important about the town where he’ll spend the next eight or nine months.

“Pittsburgh style means fries on everything,” Johnson said Wednesday morning. “I know better now. Fortunately, I don’t normally order anything with fries on top.”

Now that he’s figured out how to avoid a surprise serving of fatty foods, Johnson can turn his attention to fitting in with his new team.

Exhibition games could be old hat for a 12-year pro like Johnson, but he said this one is actually pretty exciting.

For one thing, he’s headed back to a familiar part of the country, having played for the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan before turning pro.

He’s also looking forward to playing alongside Justin Schultz, who has been his defense partner consistently throughout the first week of training camp.

“The intrasquad games are competitive and they’re great. It’s good to get going again as a hockey player after skating all summer,” Johnson said. “Then you play preseason games against another team and it’s that much more formal. You get more of a taste for each other. I think we’re both excited about it. It’s fun.”

Most of all, just like the 20-year-old prospects down the hall in the auxiliary locker room, Johnson said he’s simply looking forward to pulling on a black-and-gold game jersey for the first time.

“I’ve been looking forward to playing my first game as a Penguin for a long time now,” Johnson said. “I know it’s preseason game No. 1, but it’s still going to be a lot of fun for me.”

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at [email protected] or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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