[OFB Note: In installment II of the Matty Diaries our favorite shinny star takes us through the Winter Classic-threatening hit he endured at the shoulder of Carolina’s Tim Glaeson last Sunday — including the reaction to his badly battered appearance from his mother upon her arrival in Washington just days before traveling to Pittsburgh with him for the big game. You can read installment I here.]
For the past week I have fielded a lot of questions about my status for the Winter Classic because of my injury from the game against the Hurricanes. I’ve never gotten knocked out like that before. It was my first broken nose.
Like 5 minutes after the hit, while I was getting treatment in the medical room, I thought, ‘Am I going to miss the game in Pittsburgh?’ But I knew the next morning I would be ok. I felt pretty good. I’ll be alright.
I remember how the hit happened. I angled around the boards and I thought I could chip the puck by but from the corner of my eye I saw [Gleason] coming. I thought I could step by him. But he got just my head, and my head was down a little on the play. I don’t remember much after the hit. I don’t really remember what hit me. I saw the replay, and I thought it was a fairly fair hit. It’s not dirty hit.
Likely next week I will have surgery to repair my nose.
I knew I had to call my mother back home as soon as possible, because I know that she was watching. She was very upset. As soon as I got my stitches I got on the phone, because I knew she was watching at home. She saw my visor break down, and she was worried about my eyes. She was in shock a bit, and crying. Calling was a relief for her.
But my dad and mom arrived in Washington this week, on Monday, to come to Pittsburgh to watch me play. Having them there means so much to me.
When my mom firsts sees me she actually cried, again. My dad was calming her down, telling her, ‘It’s nothing, he’s going to be back playing.’ But I understand how she was so upset — she had never seen me injured like that. It is pretty painful, but each day there is less pain. Sleeping is difficult.
John Carlson took a picture of me on the airplane ride back home on Sunday. I think it’s funny because I just got my nose broken and I’m smiling on the team plane in that picture. I sure didn’t think that the picture would get all over as it has. I mean John just take the picture, he said to me, ‘I just want a picture of Matty smiling.’
The next plane trip will be special, for I know that I will be on it and I believe that I will be playing in my dream game. Do the younger Capitals like myself appreciate how special the Capitals rivalry with Pittsburgh is? Absolutely. The coaches remind us before every game with Pittsburgh that it’s different. Going against Pittsburgh you feel like you gotta be at your best. But even back in Hershey, the rivalry with Wilkes Barre is so similar, and I believe this is how the young players in the Capitals organization begin to develop an appreciation for this special rivalry.
From my last entry you know how much I love to skate outside. Back home in Quebec my favorite place to skate was in a little park, and it actually looked a little bit like our park in Chevy Chase where we skated outside for practice on Wednesday. That skate Wednesday felt like home to me. But back home that special place was just an outdoor rink with two nets and boards and we got out and play all day.
I am supposed to admit to you that when all of the kids were out on that pond that I was pretty much the first one picked to play in the games. It is true. But we had many good players in those games. Me and my other buddy were probably two of the best players in those games, so we would be picked first.
Our New Years Eve likely will not be like yours. We will practice, and we will have a team dinner together, but then the rest of the evening will have the emphasis of getting rest to get ready for the game. I will be focusing on getting my rest, and thrilled to be a part of this special game.