GLENDALE – Goalie Chad Johnson made an immediate impact with the Coyotes by posting a 21-save shutout vs. Nashville in his Phoenix debut on Monday night.
After Tuesday’s practice, however, Johnson told me he had already turned the page.
“It feels good, but getting back on the ice today you just refocus and move on,” Johnson said. “I definitely enjoyed last night, especially with my family here, but with the shortened season and the amount of games we’re playing this week you can’t look back. You can only look forward.”
All three Coyotes goalies – Johnson, Mike Smith and Jason LaBarbera – took the ice on Tuesday as the Coyotes held an optional practice at Jobing.com Arena. Head Coach Dave Tippett did not announce the starter for Wednesday’s home game vs. Edmonton, but he did say it wouldn’t be Smith (lower-body injury), who won’t play again until Friday at Dallas at the earliest.
Should Johnson get the nod vs. the Oilers, he will prepare for the game as he did for Monday’s game. That will include a few moments of solitude from a seat in the arena’s lower bowl, about a half dozen rows behind the north-end goal.
“Sitting there like that is just a way for me to gather my thoughts and visualize certain plays,” Johnson told me. “It’s nothing too serious or complicated. I just sort of sit there and relax and kind of get a feel for the ice from behind the net.”
To the right is a photo of Johnson taken before the gates to the arena opened on Monday. It was taken by - and graciously sent to me by - Coyotes Analyst Tyson Nash. (Granted, it likely won’t win any awards, but you get the point.)
After Tuesday’s practice I mentioned to Johnson that there was a debate raging on Twitter about what his nickname should be. Defenseman Keith Yandle referred to him as “Ocho Cinco” after Monday’s game – in a nod to former NFL star receiver Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson. Some fans on Twitter suggest the Coyotes goalie should be referred to as “Tres Uno” because he wears sweater No. 31.
Meanwhile, I learned Tuesday that some of Johnson’s AHL teammates refer to him as “The Professor” because apparently he looks quiet scholarly off the ice when he trades in his contact lenses for eyeglasses.
Johnson is OK with any of those nicknames.
“It doesn’t matter,” he told me with a laugh. “Any nickname works for me.
I spoke to Mikkel Boedker on Tuesday about how he gave a tour of the Coyotes dressing room to the national soccer team of his native Denmark after Monday night’s game.
The Danish soccer team is in town for a friendly match vs. Mexico on Wednesday night at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Thanks to tickets that Boedker helped to arrange, the group watched the Coyotes vs. Preds from the lower bowl.
“I don’t know any of the players but I’ve seen them on TV,” Boedker explained. “It was fun for me because the town I’m from in Denmark is a big soccer town… It was nice for them to come to our game and show us support. I enjoyed meeting them and they seemed to like the tour of our room. It’s not something you get to see every day.”
Coyotes forward Raffi Torres will return to the lineup on Saturday when the Coyotes play at home vs. Dallas.
Torres, of course, has been sitting out a lengthy NHL suspension for his hit on Chicago’s Marian Hossa during last season’s playoffs.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett this week has been showing Torres video of how he plays and explaining some tweaks he should make to his game that will keep him in the lineup.
“We went through a file of stuff we wanted to take out of his game and then we went through a file of stuff that was really good,” Tippett said. “…You can see how hard he is working in practice. He’s got great energy. Hopefully he can bring that when he gets back.”
I did a quick poll of the Coyotes players about the upcoming Super Bowl. Almost every player believes the San Francisco 49ers will beat the Baltimore Ravens, which surprised me.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan said he is pulling for the Ravens because they have a few players with ties to Arizona; Former Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin and former ASU star Terrell Suggs.
Later this week, phoenixcoyotes.com will present its third annual Super Bowl prediction video featuring Doan, Paul Bissonnette and newcomer Dave Moss.
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