In the past two seasons we played 160 games together, so that's a lot of time, especially in the minors with all those long bus trips. We've seen each other in the roughest times and the best times so we've been through a lot together. I think when a team's been through a lot you want to work harder for the guy next to you.

I wasn't playing a whole bunch [with the Penguins] and maybe I was out of game shape a little bit, so I think it helped to go down and get some ice time. Just being game-ready, it's a different feeling.

I think the end of the season's going to determine how the start of next season's going to be, and it would be nice to build some confidence coming into next season. I think everyone wants to prove themselves and earn a spot on the team. There's a lot still to be done this year.