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Blackhawks notes: Jack Johnson’s return to Colorado comes at strange time

DENVER — Jack Johnson’s first game with the Blackhawks on Wednesday will include many moments of deja vu.

On the other side of the ice from him will always be the Avalanche players, whom he called teammates until June, when their last memory together — of all things — was winning the Stanley Cup.

The veteran defenseman, who skates alongside Seth Jones on the Hawks’ top defensive pair on Wednesday, needs to turn his allegiance quickly.

“It’s definitely going to be emotional [and] it’s going to be weird,” Johnson said before the game. “I’ve never encountered anything like it. This is different than being traded or just signing somewhere else.

“When you’ve been through something like that with another team, there’s a special bond between you and it wasn’t that long ago. When you face them and have nothing but love for the guys on the other side, it’s definitely a unique experience.”

The scheduling quirk allowed Johnson to attend Monday night’s Avalanche Stanley Cup ring presentation ceremony and banquet as a silver lining.

But next Wednesday he even had to think about another strange situation. How would he transport the ring when the Hawks play in Las Vegas on Thursday and San Jose on Saturday before returning to Chicago? The shoebox-sized case it came in didn’t help.

“You can’t just put it in your pocket,” he said, laughing. “[I’m] definitely not send. It’s still with me, but I’ll just carry it with me the rest of the time. I don’t want it to get out of my hands now.”

Tinordi interjected

Wednesday’s game will also be strange for new Hawks defenseman Jarred Tinordi, but in a different way.

Just three days ago, on Sunday, he ended the training camp with the Rangers when he was suspended. He had no idea if he would be claimed or which team it would be.

“It’s pretty crazy,” Tinordi said. “The clock struck 2:00 [on Monday, and] you wait and wait You know you’re going to hear from someone. [Rangers general manager] Chris Drury texted me [Hawks GM Kyle Davidson’s] number and said, ‘Happy for you.’ Then I spoke to Kyle and that was it. From there we started making some plans.”

Hawks practice on Tuesday and morning skate on Wednesday were Tinordi’s only chance to skate with his new team before the real thing begins.

“When I found out I was being picked up, I put the kids to bed at home, packed my things and got ready to leave tomorrow morning,” he said. “It wasn’t really much time.”

Luckily, he has two things in his favor: Hawks coach Luke Richardson’s new box-plus-1 defensive system is similar to the Rangers’ system, and Tinordi already knows his partner Connor Murphy from overlapping stretches with the Coyotes and the U.S. national teams.

“He’s a veteran,” Richardson said. “He was on different teams, [experienced] many changes over the years during the season. He’s a guy who can get used to it pretty quickly.”

Tinordi was certainly already there. Over the past decade, he has played 538 professional games: 109 NHL games for five different NHL teams and 429 AHL games for six different AHL teams.

“I’m trying to be physical, clear the net front, win my fights in the corners and move the puck fast,” he said. “For me, these are the keys to success.”

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