GLENDALE -- Well, it was a long season and the playoffs, thankfully, are finally here. Our team is playing well right now and everybody in our room is excited to start our series with Chicago on Thursday.
Winning the Pacific Division is a nice accomplishment for us. I’ve never been a division champ in my career so it feels good on a personal level. The way we won it last weekend with those wins in St. Louis and Minnesota was amazing because in February we were feeling really good, and then in March we were feeling really horrible to the point where I’m sure there were a few question marks about us even making the playoffs. But we strung together some great games, obviously anchored by Mike Smith
. It just came together nicely for us. Winning those last two games, especially the one against the Blues who were trying win the Presidents' Trophy, was big.
I was frustrated that I had to miss the last two games because of injury, but one of the good things about our team this year is our depth. We’ve got nine good defensemen who have played well this year, and we all know if we’re going to go as far as we want we’re going to use a lot more than just 18 guys in the playoffs.
A reporter asked me today if playing the Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs will make this series more special for me considering I was their captain for two seasons a few years back. My answer is yes, but just a little bit because I’ve played for many teams now and I have a lot of former teams and teammates. Plus, I think there are only maybe two or three guys still with their team who was there when I was there. As far as playing playoff games in the city of Chicago, I’ve played against the Blackhawks in the playoffs before when I was with Calgary. It’s certainly an overwhelming experience playing playoff hockey there, that’s for sure, but it’s a great feeling. I think the key is to use the energy in that building for you instead of against you.
I am confident we will do well in this series with the Blackhawks. We’ve played well against them all year. Having said that, we totally respect how good of a team they are and we know beating them is going to be as hard and challenging as anything we’ve done this year.
Thanks for reading.