IT took awhile -- much, much longer than he had planned -- but Derek Meech has finally made his Winnipeg Jets home debut.

And the road he travelled to get here, well, it's featured more than its share of potholes and craters.

"It's been a little while," Meech said Tuesday with a grin. "I kinda had to think about that, too. It was a 'Is this the first game?' kinda thing.

"I played in Ottawa and Toronto last year and then injured myself.

"It's been pretty difficult, you could say."

Yeah, you could say that. And that was a theme, unfortunately, for the 28-year-old Winnipegger that repeated itself over and over again in Year 1 of the Jets' rebirth. Meech twice blew out his knee and then, just when he was ready to showcase his readiness last fall the lockout interrupted his career again.

"Obviously, the lockout didn't help and not having a training camp to show what you could do," Meech said. "But I'm playing hockey for a living. It's something I love to do. I'm just focused on going out, having fun and trying to be as consistent as possible."

And to his everlasting credit, not once did Meech do the 'Oh, woe is me' thing.

"Why? What's the point? If you get to a point where you're just feeling sorry for yourself, you're just wasting energy and it's not contributing anything positive to your game," he said. "This game is 90 per cent mental and if you don't have that good mindset and battle through these things then you're not going to succeed."