While we were in New York, about eight or nine of us including Boiler [Boyle], myself, Ranger, Lundin and a few of the trainers all got the opportunity to go see the David Letterman Show. We got down there around 3:30 and it was a really neat experience. We got to see how they do all the taping, and it really is a small little theatre. People aren't lying when they say it's cold in there; it's absolutely freezing! People are bundled up in layers, with scarves and gloves and everything. It's really chilly. The Letterman people were great. They treated us really nicely and gave us all T-shirts and hats. We didn't get to meet David, but it was a good experience, nonetheless. That was basically the highlight of that trip, to be honest.
We didn't do much while we were home quickly for our game against Atlanta on Saturday. Like I said, we've really been concentrating on trying to turn things around.
When we got down to Florida for our game against the Panthers, a bunch of us went to see Saw IV. Vinny [Lecavalier], Jannie [Hlavac], myself, Kubs, Range and O'Brien all went. It was great – I love horror movies! They're my favorite thing in the world. The opening scene with the autopsy was really amazing. The effects were incredible. The whole thing was awesome.
I finally got a goal down in Florida. I hit the net and finally got one through. It was a good feeling, because it's been really frustrating, lately. It's been a tough beginning for me, but I think I'm starting to turn the corner on the adjustment of how laid-back it was in New Jersey compared to the aggressiveness here. I think I've finally found that middle ground and my game is starting to improve. I don't have to think as much as I've had to, and good things will start to come from that. Unfortunately last night for us, we played great, but just couldn't get the win. It's those little miscues that we have and if we can eliminate those, we'll get back to where we were before.
Tonight I have an appearance at GrillSmith in North Carrollwood from 6:30 to 8 p.m. as part of Luke's Recruits. It gives me a chance to meet the people that I've been giving the tickets to and for them to come and hang out. I'll have five more appearances throughout the season, so be sure to check back for those. GrillSmith has been great with helping me out, and it's one of my favorite restaurants in town, so there's no better place to have these things.
Even though this is already really long, I want to answer some of the questions I've gotten. I received a bunch about music, but I'm going to hold off on those and try to answer them all on a shorter blog when I have more time to go in depth about everything.
Craig asked how Tampa compares to other cities as a hockey town.
For where it is, it's a great city, it really is. Compared to other teams in our division, you go to the buildings and they're half full. We seem to have a playoff atmosphere throughout the whole season here, and it's great. We've got a great fan base here, and to be in a southern city, that's something we're very fortunate to have.
Phil asked if it's true that the Forum is louder than other buildings.
Absolutely. It's incredibly loud – you can't even hear yourself think out there sometimes. It's a great home-ice advantage. Playing here now, I appreciate it even more. I remember when I was with New Jersey here in the playoffs last year, we scored a goal and the place was quiet for about 20 seconds. Then the roar just started to build itself up again. Guys were looking at each other on our bench and just couldn't believe it. They knew it was going to be a tough place to play.
Cindy asked how sore we are the day after a game, with all the physical play in hockey.
You kind of get used to it, actually, until you're sitting around and one of your kids jumps on you and lands on a bruise or something. Then you get a bit of a jolt. Some things are worse than others. Bones hurt way more than muscles. You get achy, but once you get up and moving, you feel great. That's why morning skates and practices are so helpful.
Jim asked about how defensive pairings were made, and if we have any say.
No, we really don't have any say – it's all the coaches' decisions. We haven't really had steady pairings yet this season, which is unfortunate, because they're always nice to have. We've run in to some injuries, so we've been trying some new pairings, and we'll get it once we get everyone back healthy.
Tim asked how it was playing as a defenseman in front of Martin Brodeur.
We played a completely different system in Jersey than we play here in Tampa. It's funny that that system is SO defensive even though you have a goaltender behind you who is that good. The thing about Marty that I found so astonishing is that, as good as he is, he is always the first one on the ice and the last one off, just because he loves correcting flaws in his game. If he gets scored on between the legs one night, the next day at practice he'll ask guys to aim for that area so he can work on it. He was a great guy to play in front of because if you do get beat, you have the confidence of knowing he's back there. It was one of the best experiences I've had to play with a person of that caliber.
Finally, Cookie asked if I picked out the pre-game music.
Actually, no, that was Vinny [Lecavalier]. He asked a bunch of us what we liked, and he got a bunch of songs together. So no, I didn't really have anything to do with that, though I like what he picked out.
OK, that's it for now. Keep the questions coming, and I'll try not to go as long between blogs next time!