Our team is on a roll and the mood is upbeat. Having written that, I’d be lying if I wrote that the ongoing ownership situation isn’t on everybody’s mind. The last year and three quarters we’ve managed not to let that situation creep into the room, but now that it’s being shoved in our face it’s kind of affecting us a little bit, whether it’s negative or positive. It shouldn’t really matter to us but it does. So we’ve just got to do what we do best, and that's play hockey.
As far as the team right now, I think we’re playing well. We’ve beaten some good teams lately – Detroit, Anaheim, Calgary (twice) – and we’ve done that with injuries to some key players. But we’re still working and tweaking some little things, and we’re right where we want to be at this time of the year.
This will be my last blog before I reach the 1,000 game milestone (on Sunday against the Blackhawks in Glendale). I’m excited because I think it’s something to be very proud of. When you first break into the league, playing 1,000 games is not something that even crosses your mind. At that point you just want to make it into the NHL and stick. As a fifth-round draft choice my first couple of years in the league were kind of like a honeymoon where I was so excited just to be here. Then after that it took a couple more years for me to establish myself as the kind of player I wanted to be. So just to be one of the guys to have played 1,000 games is special because it means I’ve done something right. Again, it’s something that I’m really proud of.
It’s funny. Sometimes it feels like I’ve played 10,000 games and sometimes it feels like 50 games. The time frame feels like 50 games, but the amount of games and travel and with the things that have gone on in my career, on and off the ice, it seems like it’s been a lot longer, which it has been. I’ve been playing in this league for almost half of my life now.
|Photo by Associated Press. |
The best part is I’m still having fun. I think if you ask any hockey player, including myself, we’ll tell you that we love what we do. It’s amazing that this is what we get to do for a living; play the game that we love. I’ve had ups and downs but to be in the group that we have here in Phoenix, coming to the rink everyday is nice. And that’s from top to bottom: management, coaching staff, training staff, teammates. We have a great group here and it has made these last two seasons very special for me.
Someone recently asked me if I'm disappointed that I haven’t been involved in any of our shootouts this year after having so much fun as “The Closer” last season. My answer is not really. We haven’t really gotten to as many shootouts this year nor have we gotten to many 11-round shootouts, where I thrived. And, when we have gotten to shootouts it seems like Radim Vrbata
and the goalies have been coming through for us, and that’s fine. It’s been a little less stressful for me. But I did have a lot of fun with that last year and I'm still willing to go in there any time the coach asks me.
And finally, another person recently asked me if my last name means “gold coin” - you know, because Au is the atomic symbol for gold. I like to think it means gold coin but it doesn’t. It’s a French name that means “at the corner.” I guess some dude just lived on the corner somewhere and they gave him that name. I like it, although I don’t find myself in the corners too often anymore.
Thanks for reading.