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Jason Garrison: Lightning feeling excitement of community

by Jason Garrison / Tampa Bay Lightning

Let's start this off by looking back.

As soon as we won Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Friday, obviously there was a lot of excitement, but it was the first time I came back to my cell phone after a game to find, I think, over 120 text messages.

As fun as it is, as much as you're trying to embrace it all, trying to take it all in, we know we haven't done anything yet because there is still another series to go. But that said, and this goes back to my point about the text messages, there is just so much support out there for me, for us.

I have a lot of friends and family from back home watching the games and wishing me the best of luck. They were also watching Game 7 between the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks so they could get their plans in motion.

They want to come here to Tampa. They want tickets.

So while it's nice to have a few days after winning in Game 7 to decompress, it's also great to be able to organize everything because it is pretty hectic. I wouldn't trade it though. The support is outstanding.

Now that we're back to work, back practicing, it's starting to feel real and normal again. Media day, of course, was a break from that. It's great. It's pretty crazy to see all this media. It's a different vibe, different feel. It's not every day you see this in Tampa.

But the point of this all is not forgotten. We're here in the Stanley Cup Final. The objective is to stay focused on the task at hand. There is a balance to strike though between staying focused and appreciating what you're doing. Part of it is being able to shut the book on what you've done to focus on the next task at hand. You learn how to do that as you move on from series to series.

The first series against the Detroit Red Wings, winning Game 6 and then Game 7, it was great, but the transition is pretty quick. Even going from game to game in a series, you have to play it, analyze it, move past it and get to the next one. You can't dwell. You have to move into the next day. That's how we'll have to be during this series against Chicago.

But we've had these couple days to embrace the hype and buildup to the Stanley Cup Final, and we needed them. You need to have them. You should embrace it. This might not happen again. As a player, you can't predict how it will go, if you'll ever get back here, so you don't want any regrets.

However, now that media day is over, it's all back to business, it's about hockey and winning the Stanley Cup. We'll all try as best we can to get back into our regular routines, doing the things that have worked for us all season. That's what I'm going to do. You have to treat it like it's any other day, even though it's not any other day.

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