Friday, January 8, 2010

Chad Johnson, Stellar in His First Start as a Pro

Chad Johnson pays homage to his collegiate team 
in his first start as a professional goaltender.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Well, I've made a few posts about him already, but I can't ignore this.

Chad "Dos Nueve" Johnson was absolutely stellar in net for the Rangers, as the Chad ran away with the chance and proved to the team that he is going to be their backup goaltender for the foreseeable future.

I'm not going to heavily post on this. Everyone who watched him play as a Nanook knew this was bound to happen. Here are a few recaps and highlights for you to digest.

"He was solid," New York coach John Tortorella said. "He made some great saves without any type of panic in his game. He was there. The puck hit him and he looked very confident. That's a very good sign for a guy starting his first game."

Chad Johnson has played before bigger crowds than this, but he's never had a start on a bigger stage. So what was going through his mind when the game was placed on his shoulders in a shootout?
"Oh, nothing, really," Johnson said. "Try to win the game. That's all I was thinking about."
--New York Daily News

But with Stephen Valiquette doing his best Rick Dipietro impression there was no goalie that Torts could lean on to help out Lundqvist. And after Valiquette was waived Torts seemed less than thrilled to start the 23 year-old rookie in any situation. Hopefully that changed after last night.
--Blueshirt Banter

And my personal favorite...
Meanwhile, here was Chad Johnson’s reaction to his 31-save performance.
“I’m disappointed right now,” he said. “When I let everything settle in and realize that was my first start, I think I played pretty strong. I’ll go over the tape with Benny (goalie coach Benoit Allaire) and analyze how he thought I played. I think it was just a solid game but I would have liked the two points.”
Allaire’s advice to Johnson was to treat his first start like his second.
“The first five minutes I got out there I was a little nervous,” Johnson said. “But it’s just hockey like any other level, obviously a llot quicker. My job is the same, it doesn’t matter what level. I think I settled down after the first five minutes.”
While his diving stick save on Nick Peverely will no doubt wind up on all the highlight shows, Johnson was less impressed with that play.
“It was just desperation,” Johnson said. “When Benny goes over it he’ll be disappointed, he doesn’t like anybody to sprawl. I went down too soon on the first shot and committed on him. I didn’t see the guy back door off the bench.”
--Ranger Rants

Yeah, that save was in desperation, but it was wicked, check it out...

Here's a few of NHL highlights as well for good measure.

Congrats Chad! Nice helmet!

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