Erik Johnson had himself one heck of an off-season. He partied like it was 1999 as soon as the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup, and why not? He is the longest-tenured member of the team and has had his share of setbacks in his career. Then, all of a sudden, it was sunshine and rainbows. His day with the Cup included taking it to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in California on a day one of his horses, named MacKinnon, ran a race.
But party time is over, and even though the Avalanche are not officially back to work yet, he and many of his teammates are skating regularly at Family Sports Center. EJ took some time out before his skate today to talk with Altitude 92.5 about the coming season. Some highlights from his talk with Moser, Lombardi and Kane:
- On if winning the Cup seems real yet? “Until you go through it, and have to do it, it’s so much harder than you ever realized. I hade respect, but that’s why I have so much respect now for Tampa. They got back there three years in a row, won it twice. That’s so hard to do. Just the mental ups and downs, the physical ups and downs. For sure, it tops anything I’ve ever done in my life and probably anything I’ll ever do. The only thing you can top it is to do it again.”
- On why everybody on the team did not go to everyone else’s Cup party, like they originally said: “You realize you’ll be on the road the entire summer.”
- He was talking to Bo Byram the other day, and Byram said “the entire town of Cranbrook (B.C.) was in his backyard” for his Cup party.
- Nathan MacKinnon had a mechanical bull at his Stanley Cup party back home in Nova Scotia.
- Erik Johnson contemplated retirement before last season, but thought, “Am I going to retire at 33? (Bleep), that doesn’t sound too good.”
- He said Joe Sakic called him toward the end of July last year and said “If you feel good, we’d love to have you back. We’re going to need you.”
- On Tampa Bay challenging most every goal in the Finals: “Honestly, it was absurd. Every time it was like, ‘This is not real. How is this happening?’ I was just kind of floored, like, ‘this doesn’t make any sense.’ It would be a completely legal goal and they’re barking at the officials. At one point I was just like, ‘give it a rest.'”
- “To me, the best definition of a teammate is someone who does what’s best for the team, not necessarily what’s best for yourself. We kind of had that mindset all year long.”
- “I think everbody is hungry to do it again, I really do. Honestly, I feel just as hungry as I’ve ever been.”