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Import Johansson readies for return

BRAMPTON, Ont. – Jonathan Johansson’s goal is to play one more Ontario Hockey League game in 2010.

Centre Johansson hasn’t played for the Brampton Battalion since a 6-3 loss to the host Sarnia Sting on Oct. 30. He missed the next two games while with the Swedish national junior team and has sat out the last 17 games after being diagnosed with mononucleosis. Johansson hopes to return when the Troops host the Kingston Frontenacs on Dec. 31.

“It’s been almost two months, and I figured I wouldn’t be back until after Christmas,” the 19-year-old from Gothenburg said Sunday after the Battalion defeated the visiting Sudbury Wolves 7-4 in its last game before the OHL’s Christmas break. “I hope I can get back in the lineup. I really want to play against Kingston.”

Johansson joined the Swedish team on a four-game exhibition series against Massachusetts universities. He led the team with five shots on goal in a 2-1 win over Harvard on Nov. 1 and didnt earn a point in a 4-1 loss at Merrimack the following afternoon. Johansson missed the next two games, against Williams and Massachusetts-Amherst.

“I felt fine in the first game. I wasn’t tired. I thought I played well in that game, and the second game was pretty good too, and then it hit me. I had no idea it was mono until I got the results back after I went to the doctor when I came back to Brampton.”

Johansson, six-foot-four and 207 pounds, started off-ice workouts two weeks ago in an attempt to regain the 15 pounds he lost. He hit the ice last week, initially on his own and then in a limited role with teammates.

“The mono really knocked me out, but I feel like Ive been getting my strength back over the last two weeks and Im feeling better and better all the time. The first time back on the ice was bad. My legs wouldn’t do what I wanted them to, but the more I went out there after that the better I felt.”

Johansson returned to Sweden on Monday for Christmas and said that along with visiting with family and friends he plans to skate as often as possible with the Jarnbrott Penguins senior team, which is based in Gothenburg and plays in Sweden’s third division.

“Ill try to get out every day. It will be important for me to eat properly and work out when I get back home.”

A first-round pick in the Canadian Hockey League’s Import Draft in June, Johansson has three goals and eight assists for 11 points in as many games. He also lost three games to a knee injury early in the season.

“I was starting to get points before I left, and when I get back in the lineup I need to pick up playing the way I was before I got sick.”

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