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Our Team is Coming Together as a Group

Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson blogs about the team's strong play lately

by Oliver Ekman-Larsson @OEL_23 / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE - We've got a few days off this week so it's a good time to write a new blog.

Our team has been playing a lot better the past few weeks and I think what it comes down to is working hard. If everybody keeps working hard I think the skills game is going to come, too. We probably should have more points, but we've been around the games more and we're really coming together as a group.

I've scored 10 goals this season and I've been asked if I'm worried I won't score more than 20 like I did the last two seasons. Honestly, and I've said this for a while now, I don't expect to score that many goals each year so I'm not too concerned about it. My biggest job is to help this team win games, and that's the most important thing to me. I've been playing alright, but obviously I want to play better and be a leader on this team and be a guy who helps turn this around.

We've been playing some really intense games since the All-Star break. Most of the teams we're going to play are pushing for a playoff spot and are going to step it up. I know from experience that it's tough for the younger guys to ramp it up after having played 50 games already. I remember when I first came into the league I asked the older guys 'What are you guys talking about? How can we play harder and skate faster?' It's hard to explain, but every team that has a chance to make it to the playoffs steps it up, so it will be good for our young team to see that and feel that and play in those kinds of games for the rest of the season.

We had a good time on our road trip to San Jose last weekend. We played a really good game and beat the Sharks in front of the dads who came with us. It was fun to see how excited they were to be with us on the road. They know we're in the NHL, but I think it's good for them to see how things operate on the road and how we prepare for games. It looked like they were having fun up there in that suite in San Jose. My dad lives in Sweden and couldn't make it. He's come to North America and seen me play many times. I know he would have loved to have been a part of the 'Fathers Trip,' but the timing just wasn't right. 

Our team had the day off on Sunday so I took advantage of some free time and had some fun away from hockey. Early in the day I went to the Phoenix Open with my friend Mathias Schjoelberg. He's a golfer from Norway and ASU who is trying to make it on the PGA Tour. He also does some really cool trick golf shots. Go to YouTube or his Instagram page (@mathiasschjoelberg) and see for yourself.

The Phoenix Open is a great event. We had a good time walking around the sky boxes at the 16th hole. I could never take a golf shot in front of 20,000 people like that. I have a hard time hitting the ball when it's only me on the course, so I like to watch the pros do it. It's so impressive to see them hit those great shots in font of all those people and under all that pressure. While we were walking around I bumped into a life-sized bobble head of myself. It was odd to see such a big bobble head of myself in the middle of a golf course, but I liked it. I thought the bobble head looked better than me!

After the golf I went over to Shane Doan's ranch and watched the Super Bowl with my teammates. I thought the first three quarters of that game were terrible, but the last one and the overtime were really exciting. Most of us thought it was game over when Atlanta was leading 28-3, but the Patriots made an impressive comeback. It was a really fun ending. I'm not a huge football fan, but I like Tom Brady. He's a great athlete and a great leader and he proved that on Sunday. 

Thanks for reading this blog. I hope to see you at our home games this week against Montreal and Pittsburgh!

-- OEL





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