Opening Night was a nice little moment.
I thought the Panthers did a great job of presenting us, and nothing against Florida fans, but I didn't expect there to be as many people in the stands as there were. I thought it was a great atmosphere. It's awesome to see how far this organization has come these past few years, with the buzz and atmosphere that's been growing. I'm sure it's going to continue to grow and have a snowball effect throughout this whole year.
As for myself, I felt good. Everything felt good. The one thing is that it's always kind of tough to get used to guy's tendencies. That always takes a little bit of time. Moving forward, it gives you something to work on in practice - watching how guys move and how some guys do different things. For me, it's nice to be able to know where guys like to go on the ice so it's easier for me to make plays and get the pucks to our skilled forwards.
I've actually taken on kind of a father figure role for my rookie defensive partner, Mike Matheson. No, but seriously, he's a great athlete, a great hockey player and has a really good sense for the game. He's got a huge love for the game and he wants to learn. He's done a great job so far and I hope I can just come in and kind of stabilize his game and impart upon him a little bit of my experience and teachings from stuff that I've learned along the way. But I'll also learn off him at the same time. He's got a lot of great natural instincts and it's just about helping him hone those skills to make sure that he makes the right plays and stays consistent.
Then, of course, there was this hit.
Video: NJD@FLA: Barkov buries the game winner in OT
I loved it.
He definitely won the pre-season fitness testing for a reason, so if he didn't hit anybody this year then I'd be a little bit upset. I think it was nice to see him put those muscles to good use.
As we move forward, it's clear that this team has Stanley Cup aspirations.
I had a sense of that when I came into the league with San Jose, and in Dallas it was the same thing. It's nice to come here and hopefully bring some of my experiences and learn some new ones along the way.
It's nice to see a team that wants to win, but at the same time you've also got to manage expectations and can't get too overzealous to start the year. We've got to worry about winning games first and then making the playoffs. Then, after that, the goal is obviously to win the Cup. We have to have a good start, not look to far ahead and take the season game-by-game.
Off the ice, I've settled into a place in Fort Lauderdale. I can't tell you exactly where because, you know, I don't want all of my crazy, screaming fans hanging out on my front lawn (kidding, I think).
That being said, all of the guys have been great. I like to kind of make my rounds and meet everyone at least once -- hang out, get some one-on-one time. I like to force myself on people a little bit and either it works or it doesn't. There's already good chemistry, so you've just got to keep that chemistry positive and flowing. It's a good recipe to win, for sure.
Overall, I'm really enjoying South Florida. It's a great place. There are lots of good restaurants, places to shop and a little mix of everything. There's a bunch of us living in the area. It's been a nice transition… and, of course, the sun doesn't hurt, either.
The last movie I saw was "The Magnificent 7." It was an awesome movie. I love Denzel Washington. I can never get enough of Denzel beating everybody, killing everybody. He almost always ends up winning in every movie he does. It's great.
It's my dream to meet Denzel. I love movies. I watch a ton. I could name a million actors that I'd love to meet. I'm also a huge fan of Kevin Spacey, but I don't know if that whole thing is going to carry over from last season… I just missed it!
I just listen to the radio, perusing through all the stations.
I like all kinds of music, though. Sara Bareilles is one of my favorites. I guess that's kind of an odd one for a hockey player to say, but she's one of my favorite singers. I also love Coldplay and Mumford and Sons. Like I am personality wise, I'm all over the place with music.