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Blackhawks' Desjardins enjoys Cup Final buzz

by Andrew Desjardins

Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Desjardins will be blogging for periodically throughout the Stanley Cup Final.

TAMPA -- The time since we won Game 7 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday was really valuable so we could get recharged.

We knew we had a few days to really get the body rested and to just prepare again mentally.

You just relax.

I didn't do too much, just stayed in the apartment and hung out with my family and spent as much time as I could with them. You've been away from your family throughout the playoffs because of the travel, days at the hotel, so it was nice to have a few days with the family.

My wife, Mandy, and I have a 5-month-old son, Ames, and I haven't been around too much lately to spend time with him.

My wife deserves a lot of credit; she's sticking in there. With me being away it's obviously put a little more stress on it. I give her a lot of credit. She's been strong and very positive and very supportive.

Monday was just a travel day, got to the hotel, got set up and had a few general meetings on the game, special teams, what's expected of us, stuff like that, and also the media and what to expect on that end.

After that the boys played their "Mario Kart" on the Wii in the players' lounge.

This is my first playoffs with the team, but I guess this has kind of been their thing; it goes back a little bit.

You'd have to give the No. 1 "Mario Kart" ranking on the team to Shawsie [Andrew Shaw] right now. I don't know if there's anybody nipping at his heels. The guys that I think are close are Seabs [Brent Seabrook], Hammer [Niklas Hjalmarsson] and Sharpie [Patrick Sharp].

Those guys are all in a battle for No. 2.

Media Day today was a new experience for me.

I'm not going to lie, I'm kind of a shy guy when it comes to media. I definitely don't think it's my strong suit, but I kind of do it and try to do the best I can with it.

It's just been amazing when you've never been in this situation before, the amount of attention surrounding, maybe not yourself, but just the team, the League. It's kind of crazy. It's pretty intense being around and knowing that we're the last two teams left, so it's kind of surreal to know all the attention is on us.

I know the reason we have that attention is one of these two teams will be lifting the Stanley Cup at the end of the series, something I've never done, but I'm trying not to think about that. Obviously I know it's going on, but I'm trying to stay focused on our task and my task at hand. I'm trying to be the best that I can be and trying to stay focused on that instead of thinking too much about the final outcome

I love the pressure. I like to play on this kind of stage. It's a great feeling and a great challenge. But I guess it's just in the back of my head. I'm trying not to think about the outcome. I'm trying to focus on Game 1 right now and really prepare myself to play the best that I can right from the start of the game, and be mentally focused on the start.

I can't wait.

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