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Panther Postcard: Connolly Getting Cozy

by Brett Connolly @bconnolly8 / FloridaPanthers.com

Hey Panthers fans,

We just gone done with practice here in Nashville and are about to board a flight to Canada for our next preseason game on Wednesday in Bathurst, New Brunswick against the Montreal Canadiens. We've got two games already in the books, and now it's time for us to build on that.

For myself, it was good to get the first one out of the way yesterday against the Predators, to put that new sweater on for the first time and get that feeling back. I think all of the scrimmaging that we did right off the bat in training camp helped prepare us for the doubleheader. The contact out there didn't seem foreign. It was nice to take some hits, gives some hits and be competitive.

Mentally, it was also nice to see that first goal go into the net.

When you're a new guy, road trips like this are huge. After the game last night, I was able to get out of the rink around dinner time, so I went out with some teammates. We ate some food, had some conversations, and I feel like I really got to know some of them a little more personally.

It's all about growing closer as a team. Everyone has already made me feel so welcome, and I can tell it's a good group that we've got here. I'm really excited to be a part of it. Hopefully we can come together and play some good hockey, get into the playoffs and then go from there.

It's important to be comfortable with your teammates. You have to be comfortable enough to have serious conversations, whether they're good or bad. You have to respect each other. It seems like guys are excited to make a difference and make an impact right now. There are new eyes watching and a new coach to impress. It seems like all the guys are really excited about it.

A lot of young guys are playing well and playing hard and opening some eyes right now. It's making for a good training camp atmosphere. All the guys are pushing each other to be better.

As for our upcoming Kraft Hockeyville game, I think it's great. A lot of these small towns and communities don't get to see a lot of NHL players. A lot of these kids will get to see guys that they've watched on TV for a lot of years. It's good to get them excited, because one day maybe they'll be in our shoes. It's all about seeing kids smile and being a difference in the community.

These types of events are something that's a part of our job, but also something we love to do.

See you back in Sunrise later this week,

Brett Connolly

*As told to Jameson Olive

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