What are your earliest hockey memories?
I remember the first time I went ice skating, it was at a public skate, an open skate and I was 6 years old. I didn't know how to skate so I just slid forward (mimics a front-to-back skating motion) and back, but I let go of the boards and went straight across the rink skating that way. I didn't know what I was doing, but I didn't fall at all and I loved it. I thought I was ready for the NHL right then.
I remember a year or two before that watching the Penguins with my dad, with Mario Lemieux -- that got me into it, too. One Christmas, I remember opening all the presents by the tree, listening to a Penguins game. That was great.
What's the best part of playing in the NHL?
You're playing against the best players possible. It's always been my dream to do that, and to do it for your job ... I've always thrived on competition, and to know you're competing against the best is pretty cool.
The worst part?
The travel is tough, and the demands of the schedule, not just for nine months, but year-round, the workouts and having to be at your best every night. If you take your foot off the pedal, someone's going to going to critique you or reprimand you.
Do you have any pregame rituals or routines?
Same as everyone -- I eat the same things before every game. Eggs, maybe a pancake. I go to the rink for the pregame skate and I always skate. Some guys opt not to, but I like to get out there and work up some appetite for the next meal: chicken, pasta and a lot of water. Then I usually take an hour-and-a-half nap, stretch, take a shower, eat some yogurt and go to the rink again.
Probably Ryan Kesler. He plays real hard, he plays in your face, he's got a nasty edge. We have a little bit of a history, too. It's fun to compete against someone like that because it brings all that out.
What are your thoughts on the moves Columbus made at the deadline?
It was tough. Some good friends left, and it's hard to see them go. But that's the reality when you underachieve and it started with the coach (Ken Hitchcock) being fired. He's a coach I really admire and that was tough, too.