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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Catching Up with Brent Johnson by @ChicksDigHockey

Brent Johnson was drafted in the 5th round in 1999 by the Colorado Avalanche. He started his NHL career with the St Louis Blues and from there Phoenix, Washington and Pittsburgh. 
I was honored  and honestly had a fan-girl moment when “Johnny” ( @JohnnyGoalie12 ) graciously agreed to an interview.

Pens Initiative: How did your legendary love affair with Led Zeppelin get started?

Brent Johnson:  Led represented to me a time in my life (15,16 years old) where my friends and I were very care free. My sister Meredith who is four years older than us got all my buddies hooked on Zepp. Actually we liked everything she liked  (ACDC, Doors, Pink Floyd, Stones and Weezer) if you can believe that. These are just a few of her influences on me. But where we were influenced by her, she was influenced by my dad. He is probably responsible for all of it. But now everyone turns to me to update them on all types of music. I own so much music I could start an on-line database. If we were to put my music on shuffle, as of today it would play for over 93 days straight. NO BS!!!

PI: I love David Arrigo’s artistry on your masks. They say mask art can be a window into a goaltender's soul. What do your masks say about you?

 Johnson: David Arrigo was one of I think four artist's I worked with over the years, but I think all of these guys have pleased a lot of goaltenders and will continue to do so moving forward. I have always gone with Zeppelin themed masks, ever since my second ( first one was very basic) mask was painted. Lets just say it was a very small window to my soul. It says that I am passionate about music, especially rock-n-roll. But it by no means defined me as a person or goalie.

PI: I’ve read that you were the locker room DJ when you were with the Pens. Did you play what suited you or did you try to set a mood? Who had the worst taste in music? 

Johnson: Yes I was the DJ and I don't care what anyone says I was the best. I always received a ton of compliments. I was always one of the first to arrive at the arena, so I would play my tunes until everyone showed up, then I would just try to appease everyone including coaches. I was the DJ every year in the NHL and my three years in the minors.
I won't rat out guys who have bad taste in music. But I will say that Dance/Club/House/Trance music has no place in a Hockey dressing room, period.

PI: If I asked you to make me a play list of your top 5 all-time favorite tunes what would I get?

Johnson: My top five songs? I will try but this will be very hard.
1: (LZ) Thank You
2: (Pearl Jam) Black, and Just Breathe
3: (Smashing Pumpkins) Mayonnaise
4: (Pink Floyd) Shine On You Crazy Diamond
5: (Simon & Garfunkel) The Boxer
And about two hundred more that could be in there too.

PI: If you hadn’t been a goalie, what would you have done?

Johnson: I would probably be a musician of some sort. Since being retired I have picked up playing the guitar, something I've always wanted to do. I absolutely love it.

PI: When the GMs meet in Toronto next week the fight between Emery and Holtby will likely come up. There is no current rule that would have seen Emery suspended; do you think there should be?

Johnson: This is an emphatic no! I just wish Emery would have stopped hitting a defenseless Holtby. 

PI: The game that I want to know about is the one played 2/11/11. Other than it being a rough night in net for you, what was it like to watch that melee unfold? What were you thinking when you skated toward the blue line and Haley?
 Johnson: That night never bothered me. Yes we lost 8 or 9 to 1, but that was one of the most out of control (gongshow) games I had ever played in and I was partly responsible for the whole thing. That is kinda cool.
When Haley and I were about to go, I knew I was going to handle that tiny fellow. What I didn't see coming was my teammate Eric Godard, who I love, coming to help with the situation. I completely understand why he jumped the bench but I just wish he hadn't. I would have taken that guy out and he wouldn't have got suspended 10 games. All would have been happy except for Haley. Ha!

PI: In 2009 while with the Washinton Capitals, you had hip surgery. How did that impact your career moving forward?

Johnson: My hip surgery was a success. Playing this new style of goal, where you are loading up one leg and put a heck of a lot of pressure on that hip joint, doesn't bode well for Tenders hips. Goalies are on their knees more than ever nowadays. I think you will see a lot of goalies in the future with hip problems. It's just an abnormal movement.

PI: What are your thoughts on the changes to goalie pads and the nets this year? Do you think it would affect your game?

Johnson: The pads wouldn't change things that much. I do think the more room behind the net is going to be the cause of more goals. But goalies will forever adapt to the changes of the game. This doesn't mean scoring won't go up for a while cause it probably will but goaltenders will get accustomed to these changes (tenders are better than ever) and I think our union will go out on top. I honestly think that goaltenders should maybe start a real union of their own. I believe these changes will keep happening in all the major leagues and most of them primarily effect goalies. More scoring is what most people want, but to what lengths will they go? I do not want to see goalies getting hurt just cause most people want more 5-4 hockey games. True hockey fans are just as happy with 2-1 games. Maybe someone should start speaking up for them. Just a thought.

PI: I sat behind you at a game you were in net for at CEC. I was so taken by your athleticism. You stonewalled a 2-1 attempt and made a sprawling pad save that was very Gumby-like. What goes thru your mind when there are 10 guys and all that action in front of you and the crowd is screaming for you to stop that puck?

Johnson: I am thinking to myself and saying out loud "just get the fucking puck out"!

PI: Earlier this year you gave an interview with in which you said you’d rather be remembered as a good guy or a good goalie than for your fight (one-punch-ass-wiping) with DiPietro You’re now one year removed from playing professionally. What would you like your hockey bio to say? 

Johnson: I still have a bunch of people say to me, "Johnny, I was at that game where you one punched DiPietro and you made my season"... I tell them "I am happy that I could make them happy at least once".
I am proud of what I did in my career. I think I had about 140 wins 109 losses and 30 plus ties in about 310 or so games. So for that I am proud. And I can say that my family was very proud of what I was able to achieve in my career as well.

I would like my bio to read...

Good goalie, better teammate, and even better person.

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