|Our Christmas break is short, but we try to make the most of it by spending time with family (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images). |
While we don’t have a lot of time away at Christmas, you try to make the most of it. We know the league schedule during the summer, so most guys are planning their Christmases as soon as it comes out. I know that’s what my family and I did. They’re up here now and we’re going to try to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day together as a family. My parents are up, and we’ll go visit my brother in Toronto, who lives there. You try to makes as many plans as you can and control what you can control.
It’s important to watch what you eat over the holidays, but you can always indulge yourself. I’m a big believer in it’s not about the wrong foods, it’s the wrong amounts. You can have your turkey and your stuffing and your fixins at Christmas dinner, but you can’t gorge yourself on it. That’s the biggest thing.
This is my first full season in the NHL and for me, I feel like it’s been so far, so good. There’s been some ups, there’s been some downs. It’s certainly a lot different than the AHL life. One of the biggest adjustments I’ve found was you don’t get too much of a mental break from it, whereas in the AHL, you play a lot of three games in three nights, but then you still get those four days off to practice.
When you’re at practice, you’re just there to work and you can kind of not worry about the games. The games are high stress and we’re travelling a lot more, so it’s definitely been an adjustment that way. But it’s been a blast for me. I’ve been able to play with great players and among the best players in the world, so it’s been a wonderful experience.
The AHL schedule is still a grind and it’s still tough in its own way. If I had to choose between the NHL and the AHL, I’d obviously choose the NHL for many reasons. But I guess the biggest one is to be able to play at this level. I’ve always wanted to do it and it’s always been a dream. And now it’s coming true.