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Best Parts From Erik Johnson’s Final Radio Hit in Colorado



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On Wednesday afternoon, Erik Johnson said his final goodbye to the Colorado Avalanche and their fans. He joined Brett Kane, Marc Moser, and Vic Lombardi on Altitude Sports Radio for almost an hour, and discussed a variety of topics.

It’s been a busy few days, but I finally had time to sit down and listen to the interview. At the bottom is a link to it in its entirety, but here are some of the parts I found most interesting. It’ll be weird not seeing EJ in the locker room, but professional sports are a business, and tough decisions have to be made every day. Buffalo is getting a world-class person to help mentor some of their young players.

Erik Johnson on buying out the back page of the Denver Post to say goodbye…

“I feel like everyone does the Twitter, Instagram post, thanks the team, and I just wanted to be authentic and genuine, and I felt like that was a good way to do it. I really wanted to just pen something that I felt strongly about, and I thought that was a good way to do it.”

EJ on the reality of leaving the Avalanche…

“I just looked at it from a standpoint of where I was super grateful that I got to play almost 15 years in one city. Not many guys, in any sport, get to be in one spot that long. I just tried to look at it from a perspective of, hey, I got to live in Denver, Colorado almost 15 years, won a Stanley Cup, made some of the best friends ever, it’s my home now. I’m grateful. I would have loved to stay. It really wasn’t about the money. I didn’t get offered a contract here, but I don’t hold any ill will or bitterness, that’s just how the business goes.”

EJ on 2 years ago, when he almost retired and used his NTC to avoid being traded by the Avalanche…

“This is actually a crazy story. It was summer of 2021, so it was that weird shortened COVID season and I didn’t play because I got a pretty bad concussion. I didn’t know if I was going to be back. Actually, I had a couple of chances, I don’t know if Joe (Sakic) will appreciate this, I had a couple teams where I could have been traded to, but they were on my no-trade list, and I said ‘No, I’m not going there.’ It ended up working out that I stayed here, and I thought, for a second, I wasn’t going to be here. I don’t know if I would have retired or not. I really only wanted to stay in Denver, I didn’t want to go anywhere else and play. It was either going to be here or nowhere, because I didn’t really want to leave at the time. I had nixed two trades, and that was the year we won the Cup.”

EJ on Parade Day After the Avalanche won…

“I was like, ‘I’m getting up early, and I’m going to get Bloody Mary’s.’ So I woke up, probably 6 AM, first Bloody 6:30, had one or two at the golf course, and then went downtown. We bought all these squirt guns, because we wanted to squirt beer and water at the fans. And then we had beers at the rink. And then, one of my friends brought me a bottle of Tequila, so thank god we had that, because we ran out of alcohol about halfway through the parade. We would signal to fans to throw beers, and then it was a like a sea of grenades, because every fan thinks you’re looking at them. We’re shielding ourselves. I saved Nate’s life. He had a beer coming in so hot, and I made a backhanded, one-handed snag. It would have been bad.”

EJ on free agency options..

“I had a team in the (Central) division that was real aggressive, and it was a great city, and I was close to signing there, but in my gut, I felt I should go to Buffalo. They were the most aggressive team, but I had about 4-5 other teams. Some good teams, some okay teams, and it just felt like Buffalo was the best fit. I’ve known Kyle Okposo, their Captain, since I was about 10 years old.”

I would recommend giving it a listen below. EJ was always a wonderful interview, and this is another fantastic one. He talks more about winning the Cup, the partying after, some injuries he dealt with, vomiting on the ice after Game 6, and more.

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