And with respect to degassing - in most cases, I wouldn't bother. Mead will take some time for all the flavors to integrate, especially if you fermented on the warm side and have some fusels in there to show for it. They take months of aging to mellow out. During that time, the mead will naturally de-gas, and the slow evolution of CO2 from the liquid will both provide a bit of protection against oxidation (by adding CO2 to the headspace in your carboy), and by coming out so slowly that it won't scrub volatile aromatics from the liquid. If you de-gas mechanically, you'll smell some good aromatics in the CO2 that you pull out -- that is stuff that could have added to the aromatic profile of the finished mead, now gone.
I have found it necessary to de-gas only in a very few special circumstances, and when I do, I use a simple MityVac hand pump attached to a piece of tubing inserted into a stopper. Pulling a gentle vacuum on the top of the carboy will pull most of the gas that you're trying to remove in an almost effortless manner.