The past week has been, in a word, fulfilling.
I got to play in my first NHL regular season game, which was a dream come true and to get the win along with that just added to it.
Before that first game against the Islanders, I was paired with Ian White during the pre-game skate and that was the indication I was in.
I can’t lie. I was nervous in that first game, but in a good way.
As far as my first NHL shift goes, I barely even remember it. I remember sitting on the bench, waiting for my line to get called and when it was, I just took a deep breath and went to work!
It was such short notice and in the middle of a work week, so my family couldn’t make it that night, but I did have a family friend there for support.
If I stick with the team, we make a little Eastern trip down around New York and Connecticut soon, so I’m hoping some family can see me then.
But to tell you the truth, I’ve pretty much made it a rule that I’m not talking about the future. I’m just trying to take things day by day and keep things simple on and off the ice.
I’ve been trying to keep a level head and reminding myself that I could be sent down at any point. I don’t want to give them a reason to do that.
I just want to keep getting better and work as hard as I possibly can to stay and help the team.
Going to Buffalo for my second game was an even better experience. There was a great atmosphere there with Leaf fans and Sabres fans going crazy the whole time. It was a high-energy game and one that I felt better in.
Like I said, a fulfilling week.
I played more with Jeff Finger in that second game and I think we are similar players as far as our roles out there as more stay-at-home defencemen.
Jeff’s proved himself a lot with a couple of NHL seasons under his belt and he’s as tough as they come. He’s a person I model my game after because he’s been so successful in doing the things that I should be doing.
Last week I watched him a lot (along with the rest of the team). He gave me a lot of tips and I thought we worked pretty well together.
With no games this weekend, I went out for sushi on Saturday with Luke Schenn, Jeff, and Lee Stempniak – a former rival of mine for three years in college.
I’m fairly new to the team and even though I know some of the guys from training camp, it’s always good to get to know the guys both on and off the ice.
Everyone on the team has been great to me and it’s been unbelievable to be a part of the Leafs. It’s a great atmosphere here and everyone has made me feel comfortable since day one.