Here’s Johnny!

As I was writing the Game Day Preview for caps.com for the season opener, it dawned on me that the Caps wouldn’t likely want their 37-year-old netminder to start three games in a span of about 65 hours to start the season. It made sense to me that Brent Johnson would get the start in one of the three tilts, and the numbers pointed to Atlanta.

Johnson played in all four of Washington’s visits to Atlanta last season, helping the Caps to a 2-1-1 mark in Georgia’s capital city. I asked Brent after Wednesday’s practice if he had heard anything about his schedule for the first three games, and he hadn’t at the time. We talked a bit, and he mentioned that he thinks goaltenders have certain buildings where they seem to feel right and play well. He also intimated that Nassau County Coliseum was not high on his list of such places. With that, I figured there was a good chance Johnson would get the nod in the season opener at Atlanta tomorrow night.

It’s been confirmed now, Johnson will start here against the Thrashers tomorrow night. This will mark the first season opener since 2000 that Kolzig has not started. He took over in the second period of the 1997 opener in Toronto after Bill Ranford was forced out with a groin injury. Kolzig had his knee scoped late in Sept. of 2000, and backup goaltender Craig Billington started the first three games of the 2000-01 season.

Also, left wing Alexander Semin did not make the trip to Atlanta and will not be in the lineup. He is day-to-day with a sprained ankle.

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8 Comments on “Here’s Johnny!”


  1. That’s our boy Voges. Best puck features in town and still breaks news more often than the local fishwraps run puff pieces on the burgundy-and-gold pigskin huggers. (Note to out-of-towners: That there is a lot of news breakin.’)

  2. Oneal Says:

    It’s very kind of you to refer to Ranford’s injury as a “groin” injury.. I remember that game and the injury came from a 100-mph puck directly to the “groin” … No surprise that it was all Olie after that, and really ever since…

    But that’s very interesting info on Johnson starting the opener.. why not? Makes sense to have him play one of the games; maybe he’ll come up big.

    Oneal

  3. TJ Says:

    The way Johnny played in the pre-season, this isnt a bad move. This should set the tone for the start of his season. I’m confident he will put in a good effort.

  4. dumpnchase Says:

    Sean,
    Thanks for the kind words. Nice that someone besides my mom notices things once in a while, maybe it will keep me employed for a few more weeks. Seriously, I really appreciate it. And the check’s in the mail.

    Oneal,
    Yeah, he took a shot to the sack. I spent a good bit of the afternoon trying to remember who took the shot that launched Olie’s career. Couldn’t remember. Even called Reekie, but all he could remember is that he scored his annual goal in that game.

    TJ,
    The decision will send some of the message board mavens to the ledge, but it’s the right call for so many reasons. Johnny always puts in a good effort. I think the results will be good, too.

  5. Kerplunk Says:

    I like the idea of Johnny opening the season, especially on the road. I think it helps solidify the tandem concept. And he’s earned it with solid play in the pre season. I’m looking forward to it, actually! Friday’s gonna be great!

  6. Mike L Says:

    One of the things I remember about Ranford’s injury was that Craig Laughlin was very diplomatic about what happenned…NOT! He indicated what happenned by raising his voice so he sounded like Mickey Mouse on helium. The HTS (it was 10 years ago) crew got him back though by showing highlights of Locker playing with Toronto and captioning it with “40 Years Ago Today”!

  7. fatdaddy Says:

    No Semin, eh? That is a drag. I am beginning to wonder if that guy is always going to disappoint you.

    I got no heartburn over Johnson. Olie is 37 (?) now, and he’ll need some rest if he’s going to be fresh for the stretch run.

    I have high expectations for the Caps this year. Last year they held it together until the brutal schedule in teh middle/end of December got to them, and they never righted the ship. Until that point they were on pace for a playoff spot, though. If they can improve even the slightest bit on D, they’ll win their share of games this year.

    Go, Caps, Go!!!

  8. dumpnchase Says:

    fat,
    As to whether “that guy is always going to disappoint you” … it’s all about expectations. I don’t find 38 goals that disappointing. And speaking of expectations, yeah, mine are high too. I think they can get iinto the playoffs and a division title is not out of the question.


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