Getting acclimated to a new team mid-season and figuring out his role on-the-fly for a contender was an adjustment period for Andrew Desjardins, and perhaps still is.
But after being traded by San Jose — where he spent his first four-plus seasons — exactly three months ago, the 28-year-old forward now finds himself competing in his first Stanley Cup Final with the Blackhawks.
"It's just been amazing when you've never been in this situation before, the amount of attention surrounding, maybe not yourself, but just the team, the League," Desjardins wrote on NHL.com, where he will blog throughout the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. "It's kind of crazy. It's pretty intense being around and knowing that we're the last two teams left, so it's kind of surreal to know all the attention is on us."
The entire experience is "new" for Desjardins, and he got his first taste of it during Media Day on Tuesday. The lights, the cameras, the national writers who all make the trip to cover the spectacle.
And while he admitted to being "kind of a shy guy" when it comes to speaking with the media, Desjardins understands the hype surrounding both teams.
But he's focused on not letting all of it distract him.
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"I know the reason we have that attention is one of these two teams will be lifting the Stanley Cup at the end of the series, something I've never done, but I'm trying not to think about that," Desjardins said. "Obviously I know it's going on, but I'm trying to stay focused on our task and my task at hand. I'm trying to be the best that I can be and trying to stay focused on that instead of thinking too much about the final outcome.
"I love the pressure. I like to play on this kind of stage. It's a great feeling and a great challenge. But I guess it's just in the back of my head. I'm trying not to think about the outcome."