I joined the Los Angeles Kings in a trade from Edmonton last summer, but it wasn't your typical NHL deal. The Kings traded Ryan Smyth to Edmonton for Gilbert Brule first, but when that deal didn't work out, I was traded to the Kings for Smyth.
Brule and I weren't real close, but we were certainly buddies, teammates. We played together. I didn't know what was going to happen, because I had a tough season. Nobody ever told me that it was going to happen and I didn't ask for a trade, but I thought it was a possibility because the tough season I had on a personal level.
Once I saw that Brule was traded, I didn't think it was going to happen. I got a call right after [the Brule trade was not allowed]. I was at Andrew Ladd's place in Summerland, B.C., enjoying some sun and hanging out with the guys, and I got a call from [Edmonton GM] Steve Tambellini pretty early in the morning saying that they had traded me to Los Angeles. It was the day after the Draft, and I thought it was kind of weird because I hadn't even heard that the trade with Gilbert was reversed.
I don't know what happened behind the scenes, but I had a broken foot and when I saw L.A.'s doctors, they deemed me not ready to play and that my foot wasn't healing and I needed surgery. It was kind of a bombshell thrown on me. I didn't expect that.
Whatever happened between Edmonton and L.A., I have no idea, but on a personal level, I needed to get my foot fixed and I needed to get healthy and try to earn a spot with the Kings. As far as I know, I was a member of the Kings right from the first day I was traded. What was going on between Edmonton and L.A. didn't really concern me. I was kind of just the guy stuck in the middle.
I got surgery at the end of July and the first time I skated was Day 1 of training camp. I wasn't practicing, but I was doing the bag skates with the guys and trying to get into shape.
That was one of those crazy moments I guess, but obviously given where I am today, it has worked out really well.
The day I was traded I called my dad and I said, 'I was traded to the Kings.' He asked me how I felt and I said, 'Good, because we have a chance to win.' They had just traded for [Mike] Richards. They had a good roster. Playing against them in previous years, I knew they were a good team.
That was almost a year ago today that was I saying, 'We have a chance to win,' and here we are in this situation. It is really kind of weird how it went, but I think everything happens for a reason. I think things have really worked out well for me.
I was with the Chicago Blackhawks when we won the Stanley Cup in 2010, but I wasn't playing during the Cup Final. I was watching [Game 6] with Adam Burish, Bryan Bickell and a few of the other extra guys. When we were leading in the third period, we went down to the dressing room to put our gear on and Philly ended up tying the game late in the third.
We had to go hide in the massage room with the massage guy, so nobody could see us during the intermission before overtime. We felt kind of stupid, so we were saying we'd better win or this is going to look pretty stupid when we have to take our gear off.
Then we were watching the overtime in the dressing room, and when we won we just ran straight out onto the ice to celebrate. We all had our moment and got to hoist the Cup and skate around with it.
It was crazy. It is one of those moments that you grow up dreaming about. Every kid who plays hockey does. When they say it doesn't weigh that much, it doesn't really weigh that much.
When my teammates who haven't won have asked me what it is like, I just say, 'No. 1, it is just fun.' You work so hard as a team to get ourselves in the position we've put ourselves in that it is totally worth it in the end.
Hopefully, I can do it again.
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