Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Johnson Helps Blues Win at Chicago

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Johnson Helps Blues Win at Chicago

Article excerpt

Even though the preseason game was only a dress rehearsal for the real curtain-raiser in Chicago's fabulous United Center, the Blues' Craig Johnson put his name in the history books Friday night.

And in so doing, he took another step toward putting his name on the Blues' roster that will officially raise the curtain on the United Center in 15 days.

Barring a lockout, the Blues and Blackhawks meet Oct. 1 in the first regular-season National Hockey League game in the Blackhawks' new stadium, which is just across the street from Chicago Stadium.

But Johnson, a Blues rookie, made his mark in the first preseason game there. He scored the first goal ever in the new building, beating Jeff Hackett 11 minutes 42 seconds into the Blues' 2-1 preseason victory over Chicago. The victory boosted the Blues' record to 3-0-1.

Johnson also assisted on Igor Korolev's game-winning goal, giving him three points in three games and further impressing the Blues' hockey staff.

"That's three good games in a row," said Ted Hampson, the director of scouting who nabbed Johnson in the second round of the 1990 draft with the 33rd pick overall.

"He's a good hockey player," Blues Executive Vice President Ron Caron said. "He had the most stamina of any of our guys tonight. He's a powerful skater. He anticipates well. I'm not surprised."

Associate coach Bob Berry said: "He's a strong, strong skater. He has speed. He just blows by guys, like Linda Ronstadt."

Linda Ronstadt?

"Blue Bayou," Berry said, laughing. "Seriously, though, he's a presence on the ice."

Johnson made his presence known in the first period when the Blues scored all the goals they needed.

The first goal in United Center history was something to behold. With Chicago on the power play, Johnson and Greg Parks took charge in the Blackhawks' zone.

Johnson took a pass from Murray Baron in the left circle and sent a pass to Parks cutting through the slot into the right circle. Hackett slid to his left to confront Parks, but Parks slid the puck back to Johnson in the left circle, and Johnson put the puck into the open net for his first goal of preseason.

"Great play by Parks and Baron," Johnson said. …

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