John Tavares will take the ice for his first preseason game as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators, and he expects to have a bit of a pit in his stomach ahead of game time.
"Any time I play, there are always jitters. That's a feeling you have as a hockey player from the time you're a kid until now," Tavares said, according to TSN's Kristen Shilton. "The first game of the year is always that same kind of butterfly excitement and getting ready to be in that mindset again, that mentality you get into. When you haven't played in a while, it's very fresh."
The centerman is excited to be playing games with a more competitive edge after taking part in team scrimmages recently.
"It's nice to get back into that competitiveness and a lot of those little things that you need to get prepared," he said. "No matter what, when you play you want to win. So no matter when it is you go out there, play hard and carry over a lot of things you're working on and preaching to keep building ourselves up to the regular season."
Tavares will dress in his first regular-season game with the Maple Leafs when they open the season on Oct. 3 against the Montreal Canadiens.