GLENDALE – Our team is heading out on a very important road trip on Monday. We’ll be playing four games in seven days and we’re hoping for good results. With the holiday break coming up, we want to make a nice run and climb the standings a little before Christmas.
We’re going to eastern Canada for three games and then we’ll stop in Buffalo on our way home. It’ll be fun to go east. We know we’ll have to play some good road games against some tough teams. We want to improve our road record and we have a chance to do that this week. I know it’s only December, but we have to treat these four games as "must wins" if we want to make a move up the standings. We don’t want to stay in eighth or ninth place all season. We want to be first or second.
We’re leaving Arizona on Monday and won’t be back until Christmas Eve morning. I don’t, but a lot of my teammates have family coming to visit them for the holiday so I guess this trip is coming at a good time. Being on the road the week before Christmas will keep our players from getting distracted by the holiday. Christmas is a happy time and everybody’s in a good mood, but we have to stay focused on hockey. That’s our job.
Our first game on this trip is at Montreal. Then we go to Toronto, Ottawa and Buffalo. A reporter asked me today if I still get excited when we play at Ottawa because that’s the city where the NHL Draft was held in 2008 when the Coyotes picked me. I’ve been back to Ottawa a few times since, but it’s always fun to go there. Being there brings back good memories for me and brings a smile to my face. I wasn’t too nervous that day, but once Wayne Gretzky called my name I was so excited. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to trip on the stairs as I made my way on stage. Yeah, that was definitely a great day for me and my family, and that building is where I got my first sniff of the NHL. Having said that, the game we play in Ottawa this week will be a game like every other game. So I have to block all of those good memories out and focus on trying to help our team win.
Back to Christmas. I’m in pretty good shape right now because I’ve got my shopping done. I really enjoy giving presents and the people seem to enjoy the gifts I give them. As I wrote earlier, my family isn’t coming to see me this year for Christmas. I’ll miss them but it’s OK because I’ll get to spend the holiday with Oliver Ekman-Larsson and David Rundblad. Their families are in Europe too, so the three of us are going to hang out together in Arizona and exchange gifts. It should be a lot fun.
Monday should be a fun day too because it’s my 24th birthday. Hopefully I’ll turn a little wiser. It’s going to be a long day because I’m going to be on an airplane for five hours and then hanging out in a hotel room, but at least I’ll get to spend the day with guys I really enjoy being around.
Thanks for reading everyone. Happy Holidays!