- Lindsay Berra
Yes, this involved playing more ball hockey than Johnson ever could have imagined with MacInnis' four kids, and driving them to the odd hockey practice when MacInnis was otherwise engaged. But it also meant a year of tutelage under one of the greatest defensemen to ever lace 'em up.
The most important lesson Johnson learned? "Shoot," says Johnson. "Whenever you can, shoot. Al says, I don't care if you hit someone because if you hit him, you're probably going to hurt him. And that's just as good as scoring, especially if it's their good players."
While MacInnis is legendary in the NHL for his slap shot -- winning the hardest shot competition seven times -- Johnson also was able to mine his landlord's knowledge for a lesser-known, but also devastating, skill from the point: the underutilized art of the shot-pass, which can catch defenses off-guard when launched by a defenseman with a powerful shot.
Living with Al MacInnis allowed Erik Johnson to pick through the legendary defenseman's bag of tricks, learning the art of the slap pass ... much to the delight of goal-scorer Keith Tkachuk.