In the month and a half since you were traded to Anaheim, how has it been getting comfortable here?
It's been good. Just jumping into things and being with the guys on the road right away was helpful, when I look back on things. We're creatures of routine. We go through the same thing every day, and when we get away from that is when we start thinking about things. The easiest thing for us is just to go out and play hockey. I think also, the time on the road really helped with getting to know the guys and being around them - because that's all we have, really.
At the same time, you haven't had much time in Anaheim.
Yeah, that first road trip was one of the longest I've ever had, and I had to get bigger suitcases for Christmas to fit everything. Everyone would keep texting me with, "How's Anaheim?" or "How's the weather?" and I'm like, "It's cold in Calgary!" or wherever we were. But I've settled in great. The guys have been awesome and really made me feel a part of the team. We've been playing well, and getting healthy, and that's been really nice and a lot of fun too.
I imagine the weather in Orange County has been a nice change, especially this time of year compared to where you were.
Oh yeah. Every time I walked outside after I got here, I expected the cold to hit me and it of course never did. It's been a little different, but it's been nice. They had those big storms back east a couple weeks ago, and everybody has been telling me how cold it is. I'm like, "Yeah, it's a little chilly out here. It was a little foggy the other day." [laughs]. But it is certainly nice to walk around in the warm weather. It allows you to kind of relax.
What was the first day with the new team like? I know a lot of guys compare it to the first day of school.
It's funny you say that because the first day in Columbus I was walking into the rink with Blender [Joseph Blandisi, with whom he was traded from NJ] and he said, "It's like the first day of school. You don't know your teacher, you don't know your classes…" and that's exactly what it is. Once you get in here and meet the guys, it's the exact same thing as where you were before. You're in the locker room, you're with the guys and everybody is joking around. I knew a couple of guys already, which helped. But I think the biggest adjustment is just getting used to the hockey language here compared to what it was in New Jersey and how things are run here. Other than that, it's just going out and playing hockey, which is the easiest thing for us.
How was it playing back in New Jersey just a couple weeks after the trade?
I didn't know if it would be a good thing or bad thing right away, but going through it and looking back, I think it was a good thing. It was nice to have a couple days there, so I got to see some people, see the guys. It was nice to get back, stay at my place and grab a few more things. It helped me turn the page. But it was probably the longest game I've been a part of, to be honest. I knew they were doing a video tribute, which was great. But I was just looking to get through the first five minutes. I got the assist early, which helped me settle down.
And then you got that incredible goal, which came at the expense of the guy you were traded for, Sami Vatanen.
If you're gonna script it, that's the way you're gonna do it, I guess. It's hard to explain. It just all kind of worked out and came together. Obviously with Sami and the whole backstory and the trade, it just kind of plays into the whole thing. You see the highlight, and it kind of makes it that much better or that much sweeter. I've seen it a lot, because we were in Canada not long after it happened, and it was on the plays of the week, plays of the year, what have you. That whole night, with the fans, the reception, all the signs, all the messages, it meant a lot to me. It makes you know you left a good impression behind, and I think that's all you want to do wherever you are.
Video: ANA@NJD: Henrique scores in return to New Jersey
What's your living situation been like so far?
Well, I finally got a place down in Newport Beach after being on the road so much and living in a hotel out here. There was not time to do anything, but I finally got a chance to look around and see where guys live and venture out a little bit. During the bye week, I was able to make a decision on a place, get my furniture out here from Jersey, set things up. I'm finally setting in, which is nice.
The Ducks went through a bumpy first half with injuries and everything else. You've been a part of some of that run, but what are your thoughts on this team going forward?
When I came here, I knew they had injuries, but I didn't know it was this bad. There were some freak things, guys in and out of the lineup, but guys did a great job in the first half filling in and putting the team in a good spot to strike in the second half. When we have everybody healthy, it can be a scary lineup for teams. If we can all buy into these roles we're gonna have, we can put wins together and put points on the board, put the team in a good spot for that final stretch. We have a team that can get into the postseason and make a good run.