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Posted On Tuesday, 10.11.2011 / 1:44 PM

By Andrew Gordon -  Special to / - Andrew Gordon Player Blog

'A once in a lifetime experience'

Andrew Gordon
Right Wing - ANA
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 1
SOG: 3 | +/-: -1
With another 14-plus hours in the air behind us, we have once again safely landed on North American soil. To conclude the trip, our plane actually landed for about an hour to refuel in Halifax, Nova Scotia -- no more than 30 minutes from my front door! Now if I could have only had a couple Donairs and some poutine from Willy's delivered to the plane -- that would have really been paradise for me. Nevertheless it was nice to feel like I was actually home, while en route "home," even if it was just for an hour. 

I feel we were all a little relieved to touch down in California. Although we all agree the trip was amazing, I think we were a little traveled-out by the time those nine days were over. As I mentioned a couple times before the time change was tough to get used to, and as most of us had just gotten into the swing of things it was time for us to ship out again.
Posted On Thursday, 10.06.2011 / 12:16 PM

By Andrew Gordon -  Special to / - Andrew Gordon Player Blog

End of trip means start of something great

Rarely during a vacation is the end of the trip the most exciting part. I have never been on a trip in my life where I looked forward to the end more than the actual trip itself. But that seems to be the case here in Helsinki. Nothing against the beautiful country or the friendly people I have met while I was here, but the end of the trip means the start of a new season.

These next two days are what I came for. These are the days I have been thinking about since free agency rolled around on July 1 -- the start of a new season, a new beginning, a fresh start.
Posted On Wednesday, 10.05.2011 / 12:00 PM

By Andrew Gordon -  Special to / - Andrew Gordon Player Blog

Finding balance between work, fun in Finland

Hey guys! I'm back for my second blog entry, and let me take this time to thank you all for the positive reactions I have received so far. Very encouraging.

I'll start this segment by talking a little bit about the dilemma all of us seem to be facing as we attempt to walk the tightrope teetering between vacation mode and hockey mode. I know on our team there are many players (including myself) who never have been to Europe before. For me, I was just as excited about coming over and starting an NHL season in Finland and Sweden as I was about seeing a new part of the world.

When taking a vacation, I have always liked the thought of really jumping into the culture and experiencing what the city has to offer. Eat the food, drink the drinks and spend some time with the local people so you don't waste time eating hamburgers and French fries halfway around the world! But this trip is a bit different. Here there is a balance we have to maintain, where we are encouraged to soak up as much as we can from our new surroundings, yet at the same time we have to prepare to compete at the highest level against world-class competitors.

Andrew Gordon
Right Wing - ANA
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 2
SOG: 5 | +/-: -2
Now, this may not be the same for everyone, but for me, I don't want to be testing my stomach's boundaries the night before I have NHL All-Stars bearing down on me. Thus, here I am in Helsinki, Finland, eating pasta and chicken and feeling like I'm missing out. In the back of my mind, I justify it by reminding myself that I still have a team to make! There is work to do, and as much fun as I would like to be having here, the reward of playing well will feel better than the satisfaction of any traditional Finnish meal.

Yesterday was my first experience with international hockey (aside from the World U-17 Challenge), so I was very excited to see what the caliber of play would be. I have always had a lot of interest in the various elite leagues from across Europe because so many players I have grown up with or played against have made the transition to European hockey. I have always wondered how my style of play would fit in.

From speaking with some friends of mine, plus what I already knew about the Finnish Elite League, I was expecting Jokerit to be a hard-working, fast team with some very highly-skilled players. I feel my predictions were right on!

Every Finnish player I have ever known has possessed a similar combination of skill and work ethic, and most of those boys last night were no exception. From the drop of the puck they were playing a strong, disciplined system that clogged up the neutral zone and limited our ability to enter the offensive zone with speed. When we turned the puck over (which happened far too often), they were coming at us with three- and four-man attacks.
Posted On Monday, 10.03.2011 / 12:54 PM

By Andrew Gordon -  Special to / - Andrew Gordon Player Blog

Adjusting to life in Finland

Hello everyone, this is Andrew Gordon and I'm going to be blogging about what me and my team, the Anaheim Ducks, are doing this week while we're in Helsinki, Finland. This is my first year with the Ducks and I am really excited to be here this week.

We had a long trip to get here, even longer than the ones the other guys that have played with the Ducks before are used to. The preparation started right after the game Friday night at home (against Los Angeles). I spent a lot of time before talking to some of the European guys. Jonas Hiller especially -- I made him my European liaison.

He said to sleep as little as possible Friday night so that I can just crash out the whole way here (on Saturday). But since we had two flight legs to get here -- one from L.A. to New York and one from New York to here -- he said do not sleep on that first flight so hopefully your body will just shut down the whole way here from New York. That way, you get virtually a full night's sleep and get here in the morning ready to go.

I did the opposite. I fell asleep for pretty much the whole first flight from L.A. to New York, and then I was awake just pretty much staring out the window from New York to Helsinki. I had to battle yesterday and stay up the whole day. Luckily, we had some activities.

We came right here (to Hartwall Areena) for practice. Nobody was real crisp, but it is always good to get the travel legs out when you get off a long flight or a bus trip. That was good, and from there we went and had lunch. The first thing I had once I got to lunch was some reindeer sausage. I ate a little bit of reindeer because that's one of the cultural things you're supposed to do when you're here. I wanted to check that off the list early.
Quote of the Day

We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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