On Saturday morning at the Prudential Center, Blues defenseman Erik Johnson took batting practice. He was teeing up shot after shot andOn Saturday morning at the Prudential Center, Blues defenseman Erik Johnson took batting practice. He was teeing up shot after shot and blasting away.
Unlike a home run hitter, though, Johnson has a target he needs to hit.
"One thing I'm trying to do more is shoot, but the biggest thing is, you have to hit the net," Johnson said before the Blues faced the New Jersey Devils. "Otherwise, it's not going to go in, or you're not going to get any scoring chances."
Johnson has taken more shots this season than he did during his rookie year in 2007-08. In 69 games that season, he registered 105 shots. Going into Saturday's game, which was No. 69 this season for Johnson, he had 149 shots.
But his accuracy has been a problem area, especially lately.
In a recent game against Minnesota, Johnson took six shots, and only two found the net, one was blocked and three others missed completely. Against Colorado on Tuesday, Johnson let go of 10 shots and just three hit the net. Three others were blocked and four missed.
"(Accuracy) is something I've had an issue with," Johnson said. "My shot has always been one of my strengths, but hitting the net is something I've had to work on a lot more ... controlling it and making sure it's going on net."
Johnson, working with Blues assistant coach Brad Shaw, has been taking roughly 50 one-timers in practice each of the past few days to help fix the problem.
"For me, I open up my blade a little more, so it puts a little bit of a slice on it," Johnson said. "I have to aim almost a foot to a foot and a half to the left of the net to put it on net. So that's just something we've been working on. It's been helping out a lot more. We just pick out one of the advertisements on the board to the left of the net to aim at, and it's been getting better."