Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Carpenter will be keeping his own blog throughout the 2018 Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals. He will check in regularly with behind-the-scenes access.
Carpenter, 27, joined the Golden Knights on Dec. 13 after he was claimed off waivers from the San Jose Sharks. He had 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in 52 regular-season games. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, he has five assists in 13 games.
Here is Carpenter's first entry, after the 2018 Stanley Cup Final Media Day and before Game 1 at T-Mobile Arena on Monday (8 p.m ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).
It's still hard to imagine it's the Stanley Cup Final. I feel like we are so focused on playing and starting tomorrow, that at times I feel like it has hit me. But at the end of the day, I feel like we are just playing another game tomorrow.
I try not to overthink because I think sometimes you can get too nervous or whatever it is and you don't play your game or get a little too tense. We're just trying to stay loose and enjoy it.
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Today is kind of a cool day with all the media here and the interviews. All these people around. I don't get interviewed too much, so it is not a distraction for me. It's pretty cool. We didn't even know what to expect when they told us to come down here after practice. I guess it just shows what it is like at the Stanley Cup Final.
I was in San Jose two years ago, but I was a black ace when they made the run to the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. I wasn't really around the team, but I was still in the city and you could see all the media and all the trucks that were set up in the arena. Even just pulling in today to where we usually park, you just see a ton of different TV trucks and media personnel so you know that it will be something different. It will be cool; we'll be the only two teams playing.
I didn't get a lot of the unusual questions you sometimes get at these things. I got a few questions about our pregame show at T-Mobile Arena and stuff like that, but I feel they have been pretty basic hockey questions for the most part.
It's hard to believe that I am even here. When I got put on waivers by San Jose on Dec. 12, my wife, Alexis, and I had a lot going through our head and that's when our faith in Jesus came in and that God would surprise us. Then that next day at 9 a.m., he surprised us when I was claimed by Vegas.
It's been a journey.
I wasn't in the lineup for a while, but I was on a winning team and part of a winning team and I just got to know the guys a bit more and finally got my chance to play more games and was able to contribute a lot more. If you would have told me this in the middle of December, I wouldn't have believed you. But it just goes back, I feel, to when my wife and I prayed and God surprised us and we are here now.
Video: Carpenter on Vegas' momentum, playing for the Cup
My wife is the one who had to make all the sacrifices. We were living in a hotel for a few months with our son, Beau, who is almost a year old. The team does a great job and anything we needed, they took care of us. But having everything you had in San Jose and then quickly moving, coordinating flights and everything, we were lucky we were in the same division, the same time zone, an hour flight from San Jose. I think they only thing we sacrificed was a little bit of sleep because he had to sleep in the same room as us. We found a way to make it work and it will be a story we will be able to tell in the future and laugh about it. We made the most of it.
My parents, Mike and Nancy, my sister and her husband and my brothers, all my family will be out here for the Cup Final and there is some family that may come to Washington for the games there. I'm excited to see them all, but I don't want to see them too much, if you know what I mean. I just want to stay focused and relaxed.
For them to be a part of it is special to me because of all the sacrifices they made throughout my hockey journey, whether it is working a second job to make ends meet because it is not always cheap, especially in Florida. I moved away from home at 16 and lived with billet families to play hockey, so I know that wasn't easy on them either. All the sacrifices they made, all those long car rides and all those broken hockey sticks that they had to replace, I guess it is all worth it now.
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