Ryan Menei rides his stick like a horse at the end of the morning skate Friday in Fort Wayne. (Photo Seth A. McConnell/IDS)

Ryan Menei arrived in Fort Wayne, Indiana last night and will play tonight in Game 4 when the Rush meet the Komets’ at 6:05 p.m. MST.. The Rush lead the best-of-five series, 2-1.

I caught up with Menei after the morning skate for a quick interview.

Jake Nordbye:

Ryan, first of all it’s good to see you back man. I know a lot of Rush fans out there feel the same. It must be good to be back on the ice.

Ryan Menei:

Actually, you know what, it is kind of surreal. With the travel day yesterday and what happened Wednesday night. It was 4-1 with ten minutes to play and I was unpacking my bags at that point. I had to pass a few concussion tests and I had to skate. I was headache free and all went according to plan. It was just a matter of the outcome of the game two night’s ago.

Nordbye:

So you’re here, and you’re ready to go. How are you feeling?

Menei:

I feel awesome. The skate was good this morning. Obviously, I’m head ache free and I’m chomping at the bit and ready to go tonight.

Nordbye:

What are a few keys tonight? I know you weren’t here, but what are you and the guys taking away from Game 3?

Menei:

I watched the game Wednesday night and I thought we came out strong. We allowed 3 shots in the first period which is pretty impressive. But we took a lot of penalties and our penalty kill isn’t where it needs to be right now. We have to stay out of the box. I think that was a key factor in the loss. We need to get back to Rush hockey, get on the powerplay, start the cycle and make them take penalties. They can’t skate with us, they just can’t. I think once we start skating they are going to be in trouble and it will force them to take penalties on us.

Nordbye:

Any added motivation tonight after what happened in Game 2?

I was telling some of the guys (Rush) that I’m kind of glad I get another chance at these guys (Komets’). You know, it’s a pride thing for me to come back and want to play. These next couple hours are going to go by really slow. I’m just thankful to get another opportunity at these guys.

Nordbye:

Looking back do you have any thoughts on what happened in Game 2, now that you have had a couple days to recover?

Menei:

I saw the hit. It is what it is. It happened. I believe the guy (O’Connor) when he said he wasn’t trying to injure me. You know as a player that you’re not going out there to try and hurt somebody. I thought the league did a good job of handling it the way they did. I thought it was a suspend-able hit. You can’t have a hit to the head like that. Thank goodness it wasn’t a serious concussion. It is what it is and it’s a part of the game. I just thank the guy upstairs for letting me recover.