WINNIPEG - Shawn Matthias' off-season can be summed up in one tweet:
Today, as the Jets kicked off training camp at the modernized MTS Iceplex, Matthias put the jersey on for the first time, and it was just as sweet he imagined.
"I love where I live; the house has been good, the guys have been great," he said. "I've only been here just under a week, but I've really enjoyed it - except for the test."
Oh, right. That.
The Jets endured the dreaded "beep test," among other, equally enjoyable puck-less activities on Day 1. Fun, right?
"Not fun (laughs). He kicks your butt," Matthias said of Dr. Craig Slaunwhite, the Jets' Director of Fitness, with whom he has a history. The two were together with the Florida Panthers from 2009 to 2012, and he was just as much of a butt-kicker back then, apparently.
Kidding aside, Matthias was happy to see an old friend, along with 59 new ones Friday as a new chapter officially began. After splitting the 2015-16 season with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche, the Mississauga native signed a two-year, $4.25 million contract with the Jets back on Jul. 1. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound forward can play centre or wing and was mainly targeted by the Jets for his excellent penalty-killing ability, according to General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff.
Video: CAMP | Shawn Matthias discusses upcoming season
With a number of good, young players competing for ice time, he knows he'll have to be at his best to nail down a spot with the Jets.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge. I changed up my training this summer, worked more on the mental side of things, as well. Everyone's competing for jobs but I'm really looking forward to helping this team. The team didn't make the playoffs last year, so everyone has to be better - and to be better we all have to push each other every day in practice, in the gym, everywhere."
Matthias had 12 goals and 28 points in a combined 71 regular-season games last year.
- Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com