Tyler Johnson discusses his new contract, and experience at Worlds
Lightning center Tyler Johnson got back last week from Belarus, where he had a memorable experience playing for Team USA.
Johnson, 23, led the Americans with six goals, including two in 13-second flurry that nearly led to a comeback in a 4-3 quarterfinal loss to the Czech Republic. He said a few of his teammates then made a stop in Amsterdam on their way back to the states, getting to catch some memorable sights.
Johnson, who signed a three-year, $10 million extension two weeks ago while in Belarus, is excited about his future in Tampa Bay. I got a chance to catch up with him last week and covered a wide-range of topics. (For the full story, check out Wednesday's Tampa Bay Times.)
On his new contract: "It's awesome. It's awesome we were able to negotiate so fast, It worked out really well well, hopefully both sides are happy, I for sure am, I can't wait for the future in Tampa. It's something I always wanted to get done so for it to get done so quickly, put my mind at rest and move foward."
On his Worlds experience: "It was an awesome experience. It was something that really helped me as a player, it's a completely different kind of competition, playing with different players, you don't have the chemistry you have in a regular season, don't have that time to come together. Fortunately I was wiith a great group of guys. We came up a little short, but I thought the team showed a lot of character. Kept battling the entire time. It was a lot of fun doing that, it was a great experience to meet those guys you play against on a nightly basis and now build friendships with them. Hopefully I get to do that more often."
On the trip to Amsterdam: "It was crazy the amount of bikes in Amsterdan. Grand Central station I saw a million bikes, it was pretty crazy. I'm not much of a bike rider, didn't want to torment myself on that. We did a canal tour on the boat, went and saw everything. I feel like we walked around the entire city a couple times thorughout the day. It was a lot of fun, people are awesome, very friendly."
On if he had ever scored two goals in 13 seconds before: "I'm sure when I was younger, probably. but it's definitely been a while. That was pretty cool, pretty lucky."
On how the tournament improved his game:"I thought decision making was big, because the ice is so big," Johnson said. "You can't really necessarily play the North American game where you dump and chase and work hard. You have to play a smarter game, a chess match in a way knowing where to dump the puck. You may not even necessarily have the support you would because it's so big and want to spread it out."
On facing Lightning G prospect Andrei Vasilevskiy: "He plays extremely well," Johnson said. "He had some really big saves. For a young goalie he was very calm and collected in the net, and had a great tournament. It was funny, after the game we came up to each other and he said, 'See you in Tampa.' I didn't even know he knew English."