Hey Panthers fans,
Just got to Tulsa, Okla. for our preseason game with the Dallas Stars. It's exciting to be getting into another game right now, especially against a heavy team with a lot of firepower up front. It should be a fun contest tonight.
This is the second time we've played the Stars over in Tulsa. I also played in the game around this time last year when we won 4-3 in overtime the first time out. It's kind of an unorthodox game day. You're not used to traveling and then going out and playing a few hours later.
But you've got to leave those excuses behind in South Florida. For us, it's get there and play. It's get off the flight, get to the rink and just get right after it. There's nothing better than that.
It's going to be exciting to skate in a place that we're not used to playing hockey.
These last few days have obviously been a little tiring -- I don't think I've ever had a five-game road trip in the preseason -- but that's what it's all about. It's what gets us ready for a regular 82-game season, and then hopefully a long push in the playoffs. The more we do now, the more I think we'll be accustomed to the speed of how things are now and the way we play our systems.
The game on Thursday in Montreal was my first game since last year. Right now, it's just about working out the kinks and getting my timing back. Montreal is a team that we're going to see a bunch of times this year, so it was good to see them right away. They're a team that plays fast, so it really helps get you back into game-shape quickly when you're playing in a game like that.
It's been great getting back to work with the guys in this room. Every one of them has been working their tail off, day in and day out. Obviously, playing in preseason games, that work keeps continuing. We have a few more after this one, so let's get off on the right foot tonight.
After this game, we've got Tampa Bay for the next five - three in the preseason and two in the regular season. It's going to be a little bit of a war out there, for sure. They're a team that's a contender for the Cup this year, so we obviously want to play them hard like any other team.
We want to use these preseason road trips to our advantage, but it's going to be really nice to be on home ice on Tuesday, to be playing back at the BB&T Center in front of all of you guys.
See you then,
*As told to Jameson Olive