Hot out of the Nanook Net, Chad Johnson has been doing nothing but impressing in his short tenure in Hartford. Sure, he had a rough few games, but it didn't take him long to get into the top 10 in stats. A while back, the Rangers called him up for a few games, which he sat out in favor of longtime veteran Henrik Lundqvist, he was subsequently sent back down to Hartford and Matt Zaba, also an NCAA prodigy out of Colorado College for a chance. Well, that didn't last long, as Chad "Dos Nueve" Johnson returned to the number 2 position on the Rangers bench.
Johnson, in his first year of pro hockey since graduating from UAF, recently recalled the first start of his college career coming at the ear-splitting confines of Mariucci Arena, where the Minnesota Golden Gophers were opening their season with the #1 ranking in the nation. Johnson allowed 3 goals that night to Ryan Potulny, Phil Kessel and Blake Wheeler - all future NHLers - but stopped the other 38 shots he faced to send the unranked Nanooks out of Minneapolis with a shocking 3-3 tie.
Nassau Coliseum is set to be the site of the 2nd infamous Rangers-Islanders rivalry game tonight in a home-and-home series, which bears some striking resemblances to his first NCAA start..........It's freakin' loud. Chad sat last night, as Lundqvist backstopped the Rangers in an unfortunate 2-1 loss, making 28 saves, but tonight at the Coliseum, fans should expect to see Dos Nueve between the pipes.
Chad finds himself in a unique situation, as the Rangers head into 3 upcoming games in less than 72 hours, giving Lundqvist a much needed and rare rest, as he is not only the No. 1 netminder for the Rangers, but he is getting the nod from his home country of Sweden to start in net for their Olympic hockey team coming up in February.
New York Daily News
Eager Nanook fans like myself can subscribe to NHL GameCenter LIVE online, for $20.99/month to see Chad play tonight. As a Detroit Red Wings fan, I already have a subscription, but I won't be watching the Red Wings-Lightning game tonight...