Hey Panthers fans,
It was great to get that first goal of the season last night against the Lightning.
As a player, you're always looking to get that one out of the way. When it takes a few games, some people would say that you start squeezing the stick a bit tighter, but for me I just had to relax and play my game. With the chemistry I have with Luosty and Frankie, I knew it would come eventually and just stuck with it.
I was relieved, but even happier that we got the win. I was only 18 when I scored my first goal in the NHL back in 2017, and I've had a few stops in different leagues since then. It's great to be back with the Panthers. To score, contribute and help the team win, that's my goal. If I can play a strong 200-foot game, the chances will come.
Early on, it's been great playing on that line with Luosty and Frankie. I played with Frankie a bit last year in the preseason, so I think a bit of chemistry carried over from that. The more that you play together, the more you know where guys are going to be on the ice. I think we're getting to that point. We all trust each other to be in the right spot when one of us has the puck out there.
Every time you come to the rink it's a chance to learn and get better. That's my mindset and that's what I'm going to continue to do. I'm just going to work on my game every day. You can never be pleased with where your game is at. You've always just got to keep on working at it.
Overall, this start has been really fun to be a part of. When you're winning games and having fun, it brings out the confidence within the group. And when you're having fun and the results are showing on the ice, it makes it that much more fun to come to the rink and work every day.
Off the ice, it was really nice to get all the birthday wishes from fans, friends and family today.
It's really great to have that love and support. With how things are right now, there's not much going on tonight. I'm just going to go to dinner in a couple hours here and then relax. I pretty much already talked to everyone back home on FaceTime. They've been blowing up my phone.
I brought my PlayStation on the last road trip, but since we have a lot of one-night stops on this one I didn't want to carry it along and keep packing it up every time we changed hotels. Every guy spends their downtime their own way, but for me right now it's mostly Netflix and relaxing.
I actually just finished watching The Boys on Amazon. That was a great show. I've also been watching a lot of little shows where you don't really have to pay attention too much, things you can just throw on the screen and keep in the background while you relax and do other things.
I've spent my birthday a lot of different places over the last few years, but getting to spend my first one in the NHL is like re-living a childhood dream. It's been fun, and I can't wait for more.
Looking forward to tomorrow's game,
*As told to FloridaPanthers.com's Jameson Olive