Some interesting stuff. He says that, when he was sent down, the Kings brass told him he was going to play every game. Then he ended up playing once every two weeks and was extremely frustrated. He didn’t think he was ever going to be called back up. It also sounds like he could have come back earlier from the injury he had in Manchester but was told to rest.
“Its been a long time. I’ve been through a lot the last year or so. I tried to stay as positive as I could and work my way back up. It was nice for the guys to play such a good game in front of me for my first game.
“I went down to the minors expecting to play a lot of games and that didnt happen for whatever reason. It was very tough mentally when you’re told you’re going to play every game. `No matter if its good or bad, well give you all the chances to get your games in,’ and then I think I played a total of 12 games down there. So I wasnt too happy with that. Then I was out a long period of time, not even traveling with the team. Next thing you know, Im back up here. So it’s been a lot of weird things going on. But now Im here and Ill do my best up here.
“I think we all know, the last 3-to-4 years, I havent played much hockey. For me, I have to put everything aside and start over like Im a young kid coming up again trying to prove myself. I’m not sure how many games Ill play from now to the end. My job is just to try to get the coaching staff to put me in there as many times as possible and give the team a chance to win. Well see how many games I get to play in, but thats going to depend on my performance.
“The things I’ve gone through the last year have been pretty tough not only physically but mentally. When I get out there, I have play as well as can because there’s not a lot of hockey left.
On wondering if he’d ever get called up: “I thought about it a lot because I wasnt playing down there. So I figured they didnt have any plans for me. They didnt want me back up. Because when we had the meeting at the start of the season when they sent me down, I was told I was going to play every game good or bad, that theyre going to keep me in there until I work things out. Then I get down there and I was playing once every two weeks. Then I kind of figured maybe they want to play their prospects, which I understood. But it was definitely disappointing. I definitely thought I wasnt going to come back up. But I just tried to stay as positive as you can and now Im back up here and will try to make the best of it.
“It was just nice to be back here and the win definitely helped too. To do it in a shootout, it was fun. But, at same time, its only one game. You have to come up here and put a few games together in order to get noticed again. I’ve been on the top before in this league and thats where I want to be. Well see if I can get there.”
On wife, Nikki, giving birth to daughter Kali:“We had a daughter on Dec. 3, which was probably the most exciting time of my life. At the same time I was going through tough times with hockey, but it made you realize there are some things more important than hockey in life.”
On getting injured right before the birth and getting some time off, which ended up working out well because his wife — who is OK now — was in the hospital for 15 days after having the baby: “I got a cortisone shot and was told I’d be out 3-4 days — which ended up being eight weeks for some reason, but Im not going to go into that. So I had a lot of time to spend at home with my wife and daughter, which worked out kind of nice.”