LOS ANGELES — Jack Johnson was watching the Denver Broncos-Pittsburgh Steelers playoff game Sunday afternoon with friends from Michigan when Tim Tebow led his team to yet another improbable victory, this time in overtime. It was at that point the Los Angeles Kings defenseman got a challenge.
“After the game, they said, ‘If you score, would you Tebow for us?’” Johnson said. “I said, ‘Sure, deal.’”
Monday night that opportunity presented itself in the second period, as Johnson finished off a textbook three-on-one with a goal in the Kings’ 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals.
“I ended up scoring and I thought, ‘I’ve got to pay up,’” Johnson said.
He did, dropping to one knee and Tebowing in celebration.
“It’s fun to score. You should have fun,” he said, as quoted by the Los Angeles Times. “Have some personality out there and have fun.”
Caps defenseman Karl Alzner didn’t feel the same way and admitted he called Johnson out.
“I understand he’s just trying to be funny, but still it’s kind of a stupid celebration,” Alzner said. “It’s like those teams in the world junior riding their stick giving high-fives across the bench.”
Alzner pointed out that the issue only lasted a couple shifts before he and the Caps moved on. But it was a big topic of conversation in the Kings’ room afterward.
“Yeah I saw that,” forward Kyle Clifford said. “That was pretty funny.”
It was believed to be the first Tebow celebration by an NHL player in a game. Ex-Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Colton Orr did it after scoring in a team skills competition, Flyers’ minor leaguer and Colorado-native Mike Testwuide did it in an American Hockey League game and Boston University’s Ross Gaudet did it after scoring an overtime game-winner against Cornell.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter didn’t seem too thrilled on the bench at first, but perhaps his team’s offensive outburst and three-goal victory gave him the opportunity to show a sense of humor afterward.
“If we could all play like Tebow in a big game, we wouldn’t have lost a game yet,” Sutter said.