Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario
Profession: Anaheim Ducks forward
I really don’t do too much thinking about my consecutive games streak, to be honest. I just want to play every night and contribute. But I do take pride in how I take care of myself and how I prepare off the ice.
A lot of it has to do with luck. My first couple of years at least, the coach could have easily said, “We don’t need this guy in the lineup.” So, that’s where I show the most pride, knowing that a coach said, “We need this guy in there to give us the best chance to win.”
There have been close calls where I could have missed games. One year in Edmonton, I took three sticks and a puck to the mouth and had 50 stitches. It was kind of a running joke in the city. Last year, I took a stick to the mouth and lost a couple of teeth. Other than that, I’ve had a few things that have been nagging, but I’ve been able to push through.
I don’t think I’m any tougher than the next guy. It’s just who we are as hockey players. When you play this sport, you get branded as someone who pushes through things and wants to play and play hard. It’s just part of the nature of who we are, especially at this level.
I’m really big into taking care of myself. I do a lot of maintenance during the year off the ice. I do a lot of things that I feel will counteract what we do on the ice, as far as the muscles we use. I have a good training program in the summer and I work with a good trainer back home who keeps me doing the right things. And we have a good program here. Sean does a good job during the year to make sure guys are staying fresh.
Another part is nutrition. I’ve evolved into a person who really enjoys eating healthy and eating clean. I feel like that helps my lifestyle.
When you’re not big, if you don’t compete and work hard, you don’t have a chance to get here. That’s been a big part of me growing up, and I come from a hard-working family. My parents really instilled that in me and my brother growing up in sports, school and everything else. I think it’s really who I am as a person. It attests to how you grew up, how you compete, how strong your work ethic is.
It’s kind of surreal to even think about the four-year contract extension I signed this year, another four years here. When you think about it, you really have a lot less to worry about. You’re able to come in and play and not think about what’s going to happen or where you’re going to be. There is still a lot of hard work to be done. I signed a nice contract extension, but I want to prove every day that I’m worth it.
In Edmonton, it was a situation there where we had a lot of similar players, we were a last-place team and guys had to go. Something’s got to give. I was one of those guys they really couldn’t find a spot for, and they wanted to move me. That’s the business side of sports, but I’m grateful to them. That’s where I started my career. I give all the credit to them for bringing me in, developing me and making me a player.
They gave me a chance to further my career by trading me to Anaheim, and I’m also very grateful for that. It’s been the situation for me, and I’m very happy that it happened. But on the other hand, whenever teams trade you, you want to prove them wrong, to show that you’re a very good player and they made a mistake. That’s human nature.