As NHL teams return to the ice with an vengeance Tuesday, a number of players shared what they did on their winter "vacations" during the Olympic break.
"It was great," the Penguins' Bill Guerin told the team's Web site. "We had a fun trip down to the Caribbean. It was just a blast. We had good-quality family time. The beach was great. It was just a lot of fun. We had a lot of time in the pool and in the ocean with a little bit of kayaking and riding waves. When you get down there and see the water and beach everyday … the snow is alright, but it’s time for it to go."
The lure of the sun also captivated teammate Pascal Dupuis.
"I went down south with my wife and kids for six days," he said. "We went down to the Bahamas."
But for a couple Pens, the Olympic break was the perfect chance to catch up on the lost art of relaxing.
"I sat around and caught up on laying around and relaxing," defenseman Alex Goligoski said. "It was perfect for me."
"I just relaxed and got away for a little bit and went to some warmer weather," Mark Eaton agrees. "I spent a lot of time with the family. We did more kids activities - waterslides and things that were fun for the whole family.
"I went to see my family," Ruslan Fedotenko said. "I went to Sacramento and watched the kids play hockey. It was pretty good."
Vinny Prospal of the New York Rangers took advantage of the break for a trip to Florida.
"It was really great for me and for my family," said Prospal, a former member of the Tampa Bay Lightning who still maintains a home in Tampa. "We went to Busch Gardens, got some sun, visited restaurants that we haven’t been to in a while. It was really great.
"I’ve tried to see almost all of the games," said Prospal, a native of the Czech Republic who represented his country in the 2006 Winter Games. "It’s hard watching from far away, but the Czechs better play better than they did (Tuesday) night."
Rangers teammate Enver Lisin said he did some scuba diving during the break and rookie defenseman Michael Del Zotto returned home to Stouffville, Ontario, for a brief stay before collecting his parents and treating them to a vacation together in beautiful Turks and Caicos.
"I took my parents away, and it was real quiet and relaxing," said Del Zotto, who was not permitted to go in the water due to the 50 stitches that are still zippered across his torso, which was cut by Evgeni Malkin’s skate blade. "I just laid out all day."
Not all of the players sought out tropical destinations for the extended mid-season break, however. Erik Christensen, for example, went home to visit family and friends in Edmonton, Alberta, where he pointed out wryly that the temperature was "just a bit colder than it was (in New York)."
"I might be from Canada, but really I am like Switzerland, I am neutral," Christensen said. "I just enjoy watching the games."
You can make a case that Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings always have time in the sun, so Jarret Stoll headed to Mexico. Anze Kopitar headed to the powered slopes of Aspen, Colo., and Ryan Smyth packed up the family and hit all the amusement parks in Southern California.
In Edmonton, Tom Gilbert got to spend some quality time with his new dog, Eddie, a 1 1/2-year-old German Shepherd, who was getting acquainted with his Chihuahua.
"Those two dogs had control of the house for a few days while me and my girlfriend went to Nassau in the Bahamas for a week at the start of the Olympic break," Gilbert said. "The weather could have been a little better because it was cloudy for five days, but we still managed to get some sun. I fried pretty good the first day but I think it's fading into a nice tan.
"Other than hockey I watched a lot of curling while in the Bahamas because it was on TV all the time. I've curled once and it's actually really fun to do and even though the sport seems so slow you can't stop watching it. When we were getting ready to go out for dinner or something it was always on in the hotel room and I just got mesmerized by it."