Chat with Erik Johnson Recap
The Blues official site put on a chat session at 3pm today with Blues d-man Erik Johnson. Fans logged on to the site in hopes to have Johnson answer their questions about various topics including the upcoming season, the Olympics and anything else that crossed their minds.
Here we recap the chat session between Johnson and the fans.
EJ = Erik Johnson
Fan = Question submitted by a fan
Frozen = Our analysis/commentary
Fan: Erik, a quick question about your injury, about 3 months ago I had my ACL repaired after tearing it and shredding the cartilage, just wondering how long it took you to be fully confident in the knee again? How long before you fully felt you could go all out?
EJ: Hey Brian, thanks for writing. When I first learned I had torn my ACL I thought I would never be the same. I thought that because I had never researched the injury enough and found out just how many people come back strong from it. I had the surgery in November and I would say I was fully conifdent and not worried about it at all by the beginning of August. It feels so good to be back and ready to go again. I have never been more ready than this and in the best shape of my life!!
(Frozen: A healthy EJ could be a very, very exciting thing to watch)
Fan: What’s the good word, EJ? I was wondering what flex of hockey stick you use and why?
EJ: Everything is good Dustin, just killed Berglund in XBOX tennis so feeling great haha! I use a 100 flex Easton S19 stick. It just came out and is by far the best stick I have ever used. I use a 100 flex because I like my stick to bend a little when I shoot so it gets a lot of whip on it. Thanks for the question!
Fan: Fans are very excited for you to play again. Do you want to be in st. louis for a long career and why?
EJ: I am just as excited as all of the fans, Kyle. This year is going to be one of the best years of hockey St. Louis has seen in a while I think. We have the goaltending, our d is solid, and we have three scoring lines that can cause a lot of havoc for other teams. I really can’t wait. I want to be in St. Louis my whole career, and I mean that. If I have the opporunity to sign a long term deal I will do it in a heartbeat. I want to be here forever. I love the organization, the city, the fans, everything. It is such a great place to live and play hockey. You guys are the best!
(Frozen: If he can stay healthy, I think we would all love to have him here for many years to come)
Fan: Are you nervous about the pressure to perform at an advanced level, even though u have missed so many games?
EJ: Not at all. NOBODY puts more pressure on themselves than me. The only pressure I feel is the pressure I put on myself to be the best defenseman I can be. I want to be the best and I have trained and prepared myself over the past year like I never have before. I am so excited for this year to get it going. Thanks for the question, Kyle.
(Frozen: Good answer. Everyone is their own worst critic)
Fan: Are you close friends with any other team members?
EJ: We have such a tight group of guys on our team, Meredith. Everybody gets along and has a good relationship. All the young guys are pretty close. Like myself, Bergy, Osh, Bish, and the list goes on. It is a fun group of guys and we have a lot of good times together.
Fan: have you ever heard abuilding louder then the columbus clincher and the playoffs also i heard you talk about passion with the blues fans and i agree our fans are off the charts good luck to you personally
EJ: Scottrade Center that night was the loudest I have ever heard a building. The fans were going crazy and it was such a great moment after they clinched the playoffs. It was even harder not being able to be out there on the ice with all of the guys. As happy as I was for the time it was eating me up inside that I could not be out there to celebrate with them. It made me want to work even harder to get back out there.
Fan: Do you think tj oshie will have a breakout year with him getting his feet wet last year?
EJ: WIth Osh nothing would surprise me. He is such a throwback hockey player and such a fun guy to watch play. I think there is a BIG chance Berglund, Oshie, and Perron could have big time breakout years up front. They are all capable of it.
(Frozen: Oshie has big expectations to live up to heading into next season)
Fan: What are your expectations for team USA in the upcoming Winter Olympics?
EJ: Hey Ryan, I think the only goal Team USA can have going in to the Olympics is a gold medal. And only a gold medal. Hopefully I have a chance to be a part of that. It has been one of my dreams ever since I was a little kid in Minnesota.
(Frozen: Team USA has made it clear they think they can best Canada as well as other hockey superpowers such as Russia. One thing is certain: it won’t be easy)
Fan: Who would you rather fight, Janssen or King?
EJ: I would rather die……Just kidding. But I honestly could not pick they are both top NHL fighters and they would both destroy me.
(Frozen: The big question is, will both men remain on the roster for the 2009-10 season? Do the Blues have room for two enforcers with so many talented players waiting in the wings?)
Fan: Where would you like to go on vacation? Would you head to the beach, go skiing, etc.??
EJ: Obviously I would go golfing. Do you even have to ask?
Fan: After being off the ice for so long, when the doctors finally cleared you to skate again, could you describe the emotions you felt?
EJ: It was a sigh of relief. It was a long year away from the rink and I had to work that knee so hard to be at the level I needed it to be. It was great to have Dr. Stuart say you are ready to go back and be a St. Louis Blue again.
Fan: Do you think you can play top minutes night in night out right off the bat or are you going to ease yourself in?
EJ: I certainly have trained this summer to play top minutes all season. But that is a coaches decision, and whatever they decide I will respect that. But I know I am capable of it. Obviously, the first couple pre season games I will have some rust to wear off but after that I plan on not missing a beat.
(Frozen: The Blues will need him out there, with Brewer set to miss a bunch of time this season)
Fan: How do you feel about the third jerseys? Like / dislike?
EJ: The 3rd jerseys are GREAT. I think they did such a great job making them. It captures the history of the city with the arch, and they kept the blue note which was great. All in all it is a very classy jersey.
(Frozen: Could not agree more)
Fan: i heard you on KMOX last night with berglund. how much comedy and joking around goes on with the players before/after games/practices, flights, hotel rooms, etc
EJ: Glad you were able to listen Chris. Bergy is living with me right now so we rip on each other quite a bit, especially because his english is spotty. Flights are a lot of fun to be with the guys. I remember my rookie year Big Walt would always walk around on the plane and wake us up if we were sleeping or hide our stuff. It was pretty funny waking up and seeing him just laughing when I was still in a daze.
(Frozen: Proof that Tkachuk might just be the biggest kid on the team)
Fan: Erik, any idea who coach Murray plans to use as your regular partner and do you have a prefrence as to who you’re paired with?
EJ: Thanks for the question, Greg. I have no idea who I will be playing with. Whoever Andy puts me with I will be playing with a great player and a good guy. I played with Jackman a lot my rookie year and we played well together so maybe that is a guy I will play with. I am looking to finding out just like you guys!
Fan: Erik you and TJ both from Minnesota, do you give him a hard time for playing for North Dakota?
EJ: I don’t think a lot of people know this, but TJ is actually from Washington. He grew up there and moved there to play high school hockey waaaaay up north in Warroad. But naturally I gave him a hard time for going to No Dak. Even though they beat us pretty bad every time we played them.
Fan: You were joking about golfing right?
Fan: If you weren’t playing hockey, what kind of job would you want ?
EJ: Good question. I am not totally sure. I really like talking on the radio and I think being a sports talk show host would be pretty cool. But I wouldn’t trade playing hockey for anything in the world.
Fan: Have you been able to bulk up over the last year or so? If so, how many llb’s have you put on?
EJ: Quite a bit actually. I came into camp last year before I got hurt at 227. Right now I am weighing in at 235. I have had a lot of time to train this whole summer in St. Louis. It is literally all I have done. I think I went home to Minnesota for 3 days the whole summer. The rest of it I was here with Nelson and some of the guys training. I am easily in the best shape I have ever been in.
Fan: have any of the Blues talked about wanting to play in a winter classic game? has dave checketts done anything to throw the blues hat into the ring as far as getting to play in one?
EJ: I think it would be such a neat opportunity to play in a winter classic game. I would like to think the Blues have a good chance to be in one with the good young talent we have. It would be especially exciting for me because thats how I grew up. I played on outdoor rinks every day when I was little. So it would be something that would be a lot of fun for me, my teammates, and all our fans.
Fan: who are some some of your friends from other nhl teams?
EJ: Quite a few guys. I am close with Kyle Okposo from the Islanders. We were roomates at Minnesota and played summer hockey together since we were 10. Peter Mueller from Phoenix is also a good buddy of mine who I played summer hockey with back in MN. As much as you guys probably don’t want to hear it, I am close with Pat Kane from the Blackhawks as well. When we were in Chicago for Olympic camp we had a dinner about 10 blocks from our hotel. So naturally we would jump in a cab and go to the restaurant. But I was with Kaner and this was right after his little mishap. So being the great guy that I am I walked with him to the restaurant since he wouldn’t get in a cab!
The chat went on for quite some time, with some really random questions as well as an appearance by Johnson’s uncle from Minneapolis (whether it was the real one or not, we will never know). Johnson seems like a very down to earth player and this interaction with fans is what makes St. Louis one of the best organizations in the league.