CALGARY -- Well, we’re playing Calgary tonight and I’ve been talking to a lot of reporters about coming back here for the first time after playing two seasons with the Flames. We had a really deep team when I was here and it was disappointing only getting to the first round of the playoffs. I look at them now and I think they’re even better this season with Jay Bouwmeester on board and some of the youngers guys I played with having matured.
It was really fun playing here. The expectations are very high, which is great, and showing up every night to a packed house is pretty awesome. When I first came into the league they were struggling here and there were a lot of empty seats in this building, and now they play to a packed house all the time. Hopefully, we can do the same thing in Phoenix that they’ve done here.
Our team keeps rolling along even though Jovanovski and Michalek and Sauer have been out with injuries. Hopefully they will all be back soon. Injuries are definitely part of the game. They happen to the best teams and they happen to the worst teams. No matter what level you are playing at, injuries are going to happen. The key is having depth and having guys that can step up and play a bigger role. You can see that here. A guy like Yandle is playing more and playing better. Everybody wants more ice time. That’s how you show what you can do.
I think most guys play better the more they play. You can really get into a rhythm out there and you know that you’re going to get back on the ice regardless of how you play or the little mistakes you might make. It’s good for the confidence.
We’ve been playing games every other day for a while now. I was asked recently if I like the hectic pace or if I would prefer a few more days off between games. Honestly, at my age, I would prefer a little more time between games, especially since I could rest up for the Olympics. You never know, I hear Team Canada might be bringing in some guys this year who have never been invited to any camp in the last 12 years. Seriously, I am a big fan of days off. It’s a grueling sport. To play 82 games of a physical sport like hockey, I don’t think there are too many people who could do it. I cherish days off because I use them to rest my body and to get better for the next one.
It’s funny because when we do get a night off during the season I usually end up watching hockey on TV. I watch hockey all the time and it’s good because my kids like watching hockey, too. I find that watching other teams play helps me a lot because when you become an older guy in the league all of a sudden you don’t know too many of the young guys anymore so you rely on watching games and the younger guys on your team who have played with those younger guys. I think it’s especially important for a d-man to watch games just to know what guys’ skills are and what their tendencies are.
Things are busy around our house. My family still is enjoying life in Arizona, but my kids are having trouble understanding that Chritsmas is coming up because they are waiting for the snow. Our weekends are busy, and our older kids are playing in soccer or hockey games. It’s always fun for me to watch my kids play sports because sometimes you forget how much learning is involved and it reminds me how much fun the games can be.