The optimism the New York Islanders and their fans carry into the upcoming season began with the first move of the offseason: Addressing the goaltending, early and often.
It started with a pre-free agency move for Jaroslav Halak's rights, which thankfully turned into a contract. It continued with moves for Chad Johnson and David Leggio at the opening of the free agency period, ensuring the Islanders have depth in goal and distance between Halak and last year's "Sub .900 Club" backups.
For more insight on Johnson the man, the myth, the goalie, we turned to Sarah Connors of SB Nation's Bruins site, Stanley Cup of Chowder.
LHH: Chad Johnson arrived in Boston with unremarkable AHL numbers and the vague stench of Ranger. How did he end up performing like a perfectly fine replacement for Anton Khudobin?
We have a really good defense?
No but really the answer is actually I have no idea. When Khudobin left, I and a number of my fellow Bruins fans/bloggers/what have you were really upset -- the Rask/Khudobin tandem was a lot of fun and super reliable, and we had no idea why the team would bring in Tres-Cero. I'd seen him play in Hartford a few times and he'd never been anything to write home about, so for him to put up the numbers that he did was a pleasant surprise.
That Rangers stench washed out after a few games, luckily. Which is good, because it was a legitimate concern. No one wants that sort of smell upsetting the delicate balance of sweat, rotting hockey gear, and Axe body spray that is the Bruins locker room.
2) Granted projecting goalies is voodoo and sorcery, but ... can he repeat that performance for the Islanders? Please?
SC: I think he might have a pretty good chance of doing so. I know I know, blah blah wins don't measure a goalie's skill or whatever but for a backup to go 17-3-4 isn't really anything to sneeze at. His save percentage was about the same as Khudobin's, actually, so that's pretty cool too.
LHH: What should Isles fans know about Johnson that we might not? Where does he fall on the Crazy Goalie Scale?
SC: Have you heard about "Hi, I'm Chad Johnson?"
Basically, when Jarome Iginla returned to Calgary, Days of Y'Orr wrote this and for whatever reason, the Bruins blogosphere latched onto yelling HI I'M CHAD JOHNSON every time he did something significant. Which morphed into yelling that in different languages after he single-handedly took down the eventual Stanley Cup champion LA Kings ... and then someone actually asked him to say it on camera.
TL;DR he's a really chill dude who is more than happy to oblige dumb hockey fans and their silly memes, and that makes him pretty cool in my book. Also, he's probably really low on the crazy goalie scale. He balanced Rask out nicely.
LHH: Stylistically, is he more the Tranquil Suburban Lifestyle that Nassau's Town of Hempstead holds dear, or the gentrified hipster cool that only a man who makes $1.3 million as a backup in an obscure sport can pull off?
SC: Chad Johnson is the farthest thing from gentrified hipster cool. He's just a dude trying to get by doing cool things, and will probably fit in really nicely in Tranquil Nassau Suburbia. I bet he'll even put on some whale pants and go to the beach a few times.
#Isles training camp begins Sept. 18 @ochocinco: I'm also the back up goalie for the NY Islanders... pic.twitter.com/NEtbrBzJfT— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) July 30, 2014
LHH: Is he better, worse, or the same level of quality as that other Chad Johnson who plays the football?
SC: Better. Handegg Chad Johnson a) plays in the CFL (what is a rouge? why are there only three downs? the CFL is dumb) and b) plays in MONTREAL. So yeah, hockeychad gets the edge here.
LHH: Finally, what is football?
SC: Proper football, in which a round ball is kicked into the net and you can't use your hands, is actually a pretty awesome sport to watch. Go Arsenal.
LHH: Indeed. Thanks to Sarah Connors! Find her stuff and the witty equivalent of Linda Hamilton kicking Terminator ass at Stanley Cup of Chowder or @sarah_connors