Highlander editor Lisa Gervais caught up with Nashville Predators’ – and Haliburton native – Matt Duchene Jan. 15, the day after the Predators defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 in their 2020-2021 season opener.

Q: How did you spend the off-season. Were you in Nashville? Canada?

A: We came back to Hali from mid-August until the start of October then headed back to Nashville. Our little girl, Jaymes, was born Nov. 9 so we needed to get back in advance of that.

Q: What was it like getting back to training camp … what kind of off-season training were you able to do?

A: Off-season training was totally normal. I trained in my gym while I was at the cottage and skated in town and then when I got back here I was going to the rink during the week to train and skate. It was way too long of a period of time to not play hockey for our liking but it’s great to be back.

Q: I think you played 15.27 minutes in the first game back. How were the legs? lungs?

A: Pretty light workload first game back. The minutes were pretty spread out around the lineup. Legs and lungs felt great! Was awesome to be back.

Q: How do you feel about the division format? Will you miss playing in Canada? However, good rivalry building in your division. Intensity should be up?

A: It’s definitely a different year and will definitely miss playing in all the rinks this year but we will eventually have fans at a lot of our games here in Nashville and in other rinks in our division so that will be awesome … also all the teams in our division have great weather so that’s nice too.

Q: Big win first game out. How did it feel?

A: Felt awesome, was just so nice to play hockey again and to get that first W feels great.

Q: Tell me about your line with Erik Haula and Luke Kunin.

A: I loved our line’s first game. Definitely some areas to improve but finishing +1 and controlling the game when we were out there was a great start. It was our first game ever together as a line so only more good things to come.

Q: How do you think the team will do this season?

A: Love our team. We have a different vibe and feel than last year. Last year was a transition year for this franchise and I love what we did in the off-season. I’m excited to see what we do this year.

Q: Any personal goals?

A: Always lots of personal goals, but the biggest one is just to be the best I can be to help the team win.

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