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Petrovic's Blog: Wake Up Call; Mini Golf Madness

by Alex Petrovic @AP3392 / FloridaPanthers.com

I don't think there's any panic in the room right now.

We're a team with a new system that's just starting to get used to everything. I know we've played some pretty good teams up until this point, but I think we're right up with them. Now, we just need to prove that.

I think we're maturing as a group as we learn the systems. Once we get those down pat, I think everything will move a lot quicker. I thought everyone played a really solid road game against the Capitals on Saturday. I think if we just keep playing that way, that mature style that we talked about, we'll be fine.

As for myself, being a healthy scratch has definitely been an eye opener. I think there's seven high-caliber defensemen in this organization that are all capable of playing on any given night, so it's the hardest working guys that are going to end up playing. With that in mind, I know I've just got to put my nose to the grindstone and keep working on my game, keep working my butt off in practice. Whenever they call my name this season, I'll be ready to go.

There's no doubt that it's been a tough schedule for us so far. If we were to see this schedule in the past, I think everyone would be on their heels, thinking, 'holy [expletive], here we go' while having a bunch of question marks in our head. But it's not like that anymore. We know we can play with these guys and we can beat these guys.

I think this year we've come together as a group really well with what Boogey's been teaching everyone with the system. I know I always come back to the system, but it's a huge difference from what we've done in the past. It's a step in the right direction and now we're just taking it game-by-game.

Off the ice, we've definitely been getting our mini golf in.

It's something that we started getting into it towards the end of last year on road trips. I think it's a good way to keep us competitive and, of course, we put a little bit of money on each of the games. We get a good turnout, probably 8-10 guys playing mini golf. It's pretty funny when there are all these kids running around playing mini golf and then a group of big dudes walking around mean mugging everyone and trying to beat each other.

It's a good way to keep our mind off the game when we're away. It's something that we really enjoy doing. Right when we leave the plane and get on the bus, everyone crowds around and we start looking on our phones for the closest mini golf course is to our hotel. They're usually a bit of a hike - 20 minutes, or so - but we find them. It's usually the first thing we do -- we get to the hotel, change, meet in in the lobby and then Uber on over to mini golf.

Whatever team Huby is on usually has a pretty good chance of winning. Whenever we team up together, we usually dominate. We usually play with teams, not really so much one-on-one play. I also play pretty well with Ekkie, even though we get on each other a lot. We push each other, which helps.

We're together a lot on the road, whether it's eating dinner together or meeting up to watch football. It's good because when a lot of guys get home they have families and kids. When we're at home, us guys without kids usually just hang out at Ekblad's house and play video games, usually PGA… I don't know why it's always golf.

Looking ahead, we've got four more big games coming up at home against Detroit, Tampa Bay, Columbus and the New York Rangers, and we hope to see you out there cheering us on.

We've matured a little bit over these last couple days. We took a big leap forward in Washington. We want to keep playing the same way, always improving on little things. I think if we keep playing like a group, we'll come out on top. We've got the skill. We've got the work ethic. We've got the right guys in the room. It's just about putting it all together and getting everyone in unison.

- Petro

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