Throughout the entire 2016-17 season, Florida Panthers rookie defenseman Mike Matheson will be answering all of your questions about life on and off the ice his monthly mailbag for FloridaPanthers.com.
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I'd say it was a combination of the playoffs and the world championship that really helped me get ready. But, obviously, being able to play with the players that we had on Team Canada certainly helped a lot, so I learned as much as I could from them. When you're playing against some of the best players in the world it definitely prepares you for the skill level of the NHL.
I didn't get into the actual city of Boston very often since we had pretty much everything we needed on campus. That being said, I think the thing I miss most about Boston College is just being able to wake up every morning, go to class with my friends, eat in the dining hall with my friends, go to practice with my friends - really, just hanging out with my friends. It was really great to always have those people around me.
I don't know if there's been one specific thing, really. It's just been a combination of little things throughout every single day. It's listening to all of the things that the veterans have to say and respecting what they've learned throughout their years in the league.
I'm actually already learning a lot from Jason Demers. We'll have something happen during a game and pretty much every time we get off the ice after a shift we'll be talking about something that happened during that shift. The more you do that, the more you begin to understand each other's instincts. Odds are that situation will come up again, but this time you'll know that both of you are already thinking the exact same thing.
Video: FLA@TBL: Matheson nets first NHL goal for late lead
I'd say it's the individual skill level and strength of the players. You know that every single night you're going to play against at least one or two superstars in the NHL. Practically every time you're on the ice there's somebody out there that can make you look really silly if you give them the opportunity to. That's definitely been a big adjustment.
I just got moved into my new apartment in Fort Lauderdale on Friday, so I haven't quite settled in and figured out what that'll be. It's pretty nice to live in South Florida, though. I've been exploring downtown Fort Lauderdale a little bit, finding some good restaurants - there's a lot of good food down there! I think I'll just continue exploring around, I guess.
First off, we've got to stick together! We're definitely the odd man out. Nobody understands what it's like to be a ginger. I don't even go outside, I just stay in the shade. All kidding aside, I actually do tan for a ginger, which is pretty impressive. I just get too hot.
I don't get chirped about being a ginger that much because I think it's just too obvious. Actually, there was one time when I was sitting in a penalty box at UMass-Amherst and this guy had his lips right up against the crack of the glass and was yelling at me the entire two minutes. About halfway through, he started chirping me for being blonde and being stupid. Towards the end, he finally figured out that I was a redhead and yelled out, "Oh my God, you're a ginger!" Then he just started going off about that. It was pretty great.
I've answered this one before - a hotdog is a hotdog!
Thanks for your questions and keep them coming!