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Logan Thompson’s best block? Getting off social media

Golden Knights goalie Logan Thompson might have made one of the biggest blocks of his young career this week.

The 25-year-old rookie deleted several social media apps from his phone to improve his mental approach as he tries to navigate life as a starting goalie in the NHL.

“It’s just smart to get off it,” Thompson said after Friday’s practice. “I’m a fiery person. You look at the first year I had and how much love you get, and you appreciate it. But then you come back the second year, and things just don’t always go your way, even though you’re still a winning team … the amount of DMs (direct messages) and outrageous things athletes get sent to them that we can’t even show to the public, it’s just better to get off it. It’s just a sport. It’s not worth the mental (anguish).”

So Thompson will have one less distraction when the Knights host the Nashville Predators on noon Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.

Injured forwards Jonathan Marchessault and Paul Cotter skated at Friday’s practice but are not expected to play until at least Monday, coach Bruce Cassidy said. Forward Jack Eichel also has been skating, but took a rest day Friday and isn’t ready to return from injury.

Cassidy indicated that defenseman Alec Martinez, who left early in Tuesday’s game after blocking a shot and missed Wednesday’s game, could be back in the lineup Saturday.

That would be a huge boost for the short-handed defense in front of Thompson, who already feels better just days after getting rid of his social media access.

“It feels great,” he said. “It really does. Obviously, in the back of your mind, if you have a great game, you want to download the app again and look at it. People just have to realize we’re humans, too. Yeah, we’re athletes and playing a sport, but eventually it does take a mental toll on anyone. There’s tons of messages I have that I could never even show the public because they’re so messed up.”

Thompson lashed out at a critic with a social media post moments after leaving the ice following a Dec. 23 shootout win over the Blues and was visibly upset while the media was in the locker room. He deleted the tweet a short time later and made the decision to get rid of the app after discussing with his inner circle the toll the constant feedback was having on him.

It’s all part of navigating the sudden fame many players achieve when accomplishing their dream of making it to the highest level as a professional athlete. Thompson said he wishes there was some level of investment made into making sure young athletes are prepared for this aspect of the process.

“I don’t think the NHL necessarily does a great job of preparing young guys for all the noise that’s to come, and that’s the biggest thing when you’re a goalie,” he said. “If you’re playing in bigger markets, I can’t imagine how hard it is to be a guy playing in Toronto or somewhere like that. It’s definitely a mental game. That’s the hardest part.”

He hopes to move forward but acknowledged it might not be easy.

“It’s so tough because there’s really no way to stop looking at it because you always want to know what people are saying, and it’s addicting,” he said. “It’s crazy how hard it is to delete it when you always want to see what people are saying. There’s just nothing you can do. That’s just the society we live in and how big social media is now in the world. So, for me, it was just deleting all the apps off my phone.”

One of his first tests came after a tough defeat against the Kings on Tuesday. Thompson said he would typically lament the loss and then go down a rabbit hole of negative comments after a game like that. But he didn’t seek them out.

“Things didn’t really go our way, but I didn’t have any social media,” he said. “So I actually felt better going into Anaheim the next day as opposed to going to sleep looking at negative things and then waking up to even more of it.”

It’s the kind of messages that would make anyone want to defend themselves, but Thompson is in a different situation than most people his age.

“It’s tough to block out because you can’t respond because you’re a professional athlete, and you look like (expletives) if we reply,” he said. “It’s a hard game for sure, and you just have to be strong about it.

“It’s an ongoing process. As a goalie, people love you one day and then absolutely hate you the next. You just have to enjoy the moment. I know eventually everyone is going to turn on me, so I’m going to enjoy it until I get moved out of town.”

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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