Dear Panthers fans,
It's always good to come back to Alberta.
I actually left with my parents after the game in Calgary on Thursday. The team said it was cool, so I drove home with them after we were done to Red Deer, you know, minor-hockey style. We had the day off on Friday, so I spent time with my family and visited my grandma and grandpa.
I also got to see a couple of my buddies from back home and grab lunch with them. It was good to get a little bit of a break mentally from a long road trip like this. Red Deer is pretty much right in the middle of Calgary and Edmonton, so it was a perfect pit stop to make in between games.
It was nice to catch up a bit with my parents and see how everything's going. I spent a lot of time showing them the pictures and videos of my son. They always want updates and to see how their grandson is doing. Hockey season's obviously busy, so any time with family is great.
On Saturday morning my parents drove me back to Edmonton for practice.
Now, it's back to work.
You can look at our recent stretch in multiple ways, but getting points in seven straight games is an accomplishment. When we look at those games it's like, "OK, we're in them. Now how do we got two points in all those games?" We've been a play or two away from winning a lot of them.
For us, it's about making the change from one to two points consistently, and then keep rolling.
As for our line, I think we're three guys that play a similar style of game. We hunt the puck, we work hard, and we want to create our chances that way. When you have three guys all working the same way, you can build off each other. I think we've built some chemistry together early on.
We want to create offense by playing the right way defensively and working hard. I played a bit with Dryden Hunt last year, and it's great having Noel Acciari here now. He's a hard guy to play against. I remember that from when he was playing in Boston. Having him on your side is nice.
When he's going in against another guy for the puck, there's a good chance he's coming up with it. Then you can work yourself off that, get open or support him and then turn that into offense.
We've got a tough game tonight against the Oilers. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, they're world-class. If you give them even one opportunity, they usually make you pay for it. Checking first and building off that is something that we've been talking about, which I think is especially important against those two guys because they can do so much when they've got the puck.
If they have a lot of time and space to work with, you're in trouble. You've got to play them hard, play them tight. You've just got to try and contain them. You're never going to completely stop them, so it's really just about containing them and keeping their opportunities to a minimum.
We're usually only here once a year, so it's fun to come back and play these games near home in Calgary and Edmonton. But even when you're playing here in the fall, it doesn't take long to remember that Florida's winters are pretty nice. When I first got back home there was no snow on the ground. Then I woke up the next morning and there was suddenly a couple of inches.
That's when I thought to myself, "The beach in Florida sounds nice right about now."
Let's keep picking up the points on this trip,