Colorado Avalanche Defenseman Erik Johnson Talks Life in Quarantine

STOCKHOLM, SWE - NOVEMBER 10: Erik Johnson /

Colorado Avalanche defenseman and alternate captain Erik Johnson talked a little about life in self-isolation, and made some off-the-cuff remarks about horses.

Colorado Avalanche alternate captain Erik Johnson is the latest player to join the Altitude TV Sports Social. He joined Marc Moser and Lauren Jbarra from his home in southern California.

In fact, Johnson says he started out the self-isolation period in Denver, but he drove out to California for a “change of scenery.” It’s very nice scenery — the Pacific Ocean is clearly visible from his deck.

Now, just like most other players, Johnson got on and made the self-avowed cliche answers:

"“Everybody’s dealing with [the pandemic] right now, you’ve just got to make the best of it. I’m sure everyone has the same cliche answer. But your health is of paramount importance right now, right? That’s the number-one thing. If everyone’s flattening the curve like I think we have been, it’s going to be good for everybody. Hopefully we can get back to playing hockey sooner.”"

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I don’t call that a cliche so much as a party line across the NHL. Everyone from Gary Bettman to all the players are stating that health has to be the number-one consideration.

I point that out for two purposes. One is what Johnson says at the end, “Hopefully we can get back to playing hockey sooner.” There are a lot of things I miss about the Time Before, and hockey is right up there. When I see people failing to follow social distancing guidelines, there’s a small part of me that screams, “You’re postponing hockey!” Other things are more important, sure, but relevant to this blog I think that.

And then there’s Marc Moser. He’s… buckling under isolation pressure. Sometimes he comes across on Twitter like a caged animal trying to escape.

I feels ya, buddy, but… if you look on Mile High Sticking Twitter, you’ll notice I don’t even like anything not sports related — and I sure as heck keep the comments only about sports, especially hockey. Making controversial statements — that’s what burner accounts are for.

Anywho, I do wish the Altitude TV hosts had stuck more to hockey. We did get to hear that Johnson has a home gym both in his Denver and SoCal residence. Also, he’s been tearing around on his road bike. He’s also going to have a keen eye in the locker room for any teammates who are out of shape.

"“I don’t think there’s an excuse for anybody to not come back in shape. What else are you going to do… there’s no excuse to not be in the best shape we can be with all the time we’ve had on our hands.”"

Now, Moser did make an interesting comment in his question about players wanting to get back. According the deputy commissioner Bill Daly, the NHL and NHLPA are in “lockstep” in how they’re approaching a Return to Play. However, a sticking point is that the athletes don’t want to be in a full quarantine away from their families for potentially weeks at a time.

Moser said:

"“I can’t imagine for a second a player who’s in [the playoffs] not wanting to get this thing going and sacrificing in order to do it.”"

I don’t know that Moser is referencing that specifically. In any case, Johnson went in a completely different direction. He remarked that it would be a good time to be the basement dwelling team that doesn’t “have anything to look forward to” and that’s “already looking to next season.”

He did acknowledge that it’s especially challenging for the Colorado Avalanche because they had “probably the best momentum in the league.”

He did have some words of encouragement:

"“Don’t waste any energy on things we can’t control. What we can control right now is being ready for when we’re back, when we’re ready to play again. Just focus on your health and your well-being. When we’re ready to play again, we’ll step on the gas and get back to work.”"

He misses us (and his teammates) and we miss him.

A cute question from Moser — which of Johnson’s teammates is most like a horse? At first Erik joked, saying, “Someone who’s really studded and likes girls a lot?”

Then he recanted and said it was “Z,” Nikita Zadorov, who’s “a little bulldog, a little pit bull. He’s got a lot of energy… I think if he was a horse, he’d be a gelding.”

Ouch, EJ. And, in case people weren’t sure of the meaning of gelding, he explained, “Nuts gone.”

Well. Poor Zadorov. He gets it from everyone.

That said, we all know Erik is the horse. I’m not commenting on the gelding part, but his burner Instagram is Big Horny.

Here’s the interview:

They spent a fair amount of time talking about horse racing. Johnson was supposed to have a horse in tomorrow’s race, which was cancelled. And, anyway, his horse got a fever.

What I found interesting was how Johnson explained that there’s a jockey club registry where you have to try and register your horse’s name. But not just any name will pass — they deny some.

Erik comments, “I want to see the names that were denied. There’s got to be some sick names out there. People are twisted, right?”

I suppose they are. You could start a whole reddit of banned racehorse names.

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Erik did turn it back to hockey, saying:

"“When you mention a horse like Secretariat, that really captures a lot of people, kind of like American Pharaoh did. I think like the Avalanche right now are capturing a lot of people’s hearts and getting people excited about hockey in Denver.”"

Well, we all know they’re not capturing my heart right now — they’ve had it since Day 1. But to say the opposite of Erik Johnson’s comment from before — with all the uncertainty concerning the season, it’s a tough time for the Colorado Avalanche to finally be taking off.