ALLEGHENY HEALTH NETWORK

Kovacevic: For anyone who hates Jack Johnson

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Jack Johnson shoves the Oilers' Jujhar Khaira Wednesday night at PPG Paints Arena. - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

This just in for fans of the Penguins who hate Jack Johnson: He has no idea.

This also in: Neither his coaches nor his teammates can comprehend why anyone would.

Amid the 3-1 throttling of the Oilers on this wintry Wednesday night inside PPG Paints Arena, one in which Matt Murray sizzled again, Sidney Crosby upstaged Connor McDavid again, and Bryan Rust sprung another shorty, on some significantly lower tier, Johnson registered a plus-2 rating and a half-dozen hits ... and the latter was still exerting himself on the exercise bike just before emerging to the locker room at my request to talk about exactly that.

Funny, but for all the countless conversations I've had with the guy -- he's as approachable as the chipped ham slicer at Isaly's -- the one subject I'd never thought to raise was about all the criticism he relentlessly receives, especially from those basing that on advanced analytics.

This seemed like a swell time.

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