GLENDALE - Training camp has started and it's an exciting time for our team. There's a lot of new faces and I think everyone is excited to move forward. It's going to take time and effort to get to know everybody, but it will be a lot of fun at the same time.
One face that is new to almost everybody but me is my younger brother Kevin's. He's here at our camp getting ready to play for Tucson in the AHL season. He can't wait to get going and I'm excited for him. He worked so hard this summer to get into good shape and I'm really proud of him.
Having my brother here at camp really means a lot to me. We're four years apart but over the years we've grown pretty tight. Our mom passed away six months ago and it's been a hard time for me and for him, so it's good for both of us to get away from home a little bit and be together at the same time, if only for a few weeks.
Kevin stayed with me for eight days when we first got to Arizona this summer but now he's staying in Glendale with the other young guys from camp. My advice to him is the same I give all the young guys: Go out there and have fun but work hard and leave everything on the ice. That way, even if you don't make it, you can't say to yourself 'I should have done something different.'
I think it's going to take time for Kevin to get used to playing on the smaller ice here in North America and the heat here. It's really hot right now. I remember I had problems with that when I first got here so he's probably going to have some problems with that too. Once he gets used to that he'll be fine. He's a good hockey player.
Another new player on our team is Niklas Hjalmarsson. I've known 'Hammer' for a while, and we played together for Sweden at the World Cup and at the Olympics. I think he's so underrated as a player and I really hope we get to play together. We've talked and he's super excited to be here. I really think he's going to help us win games. He knows what it takes.
We're playing our first preseason game on Monday and you can tell the guys are excited to play a game. It feels like a different culture around here. I could feel it right away when I walked in the arena on the first day. I've been here for seven years and it feels so different not having guys like Dave Tippett, Shane Doan, Radim Vrbata and Mike Smith around. There were so many changes this summer and, honestly, I felt a little weird about it all at first. But now I've accepted everything and I'm excited to move on with my teammates, old and new, and our new coaches. I think everybody we've brought in this off-season is going to help us a lot.
Thank you for reading. I look forward to writing more blogs during the season.