STOCKHOLM -- To participate in the Compuware NHL Premiere Series, players and coaches have to spend nearly two weeks of their lives in Europe away from friends, family and the comforts of home.
A combined 10 days in Germany and Sweden may sound like a dream vacation for some, but it was practically all business for the San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets. On top of the day-to-day rigors of practicing and the stress of traveling across the world and adjusting to a drastic change in time zones, players are asked to be ambassadors for the League. There are autograph sessions, trips to hospitals and a lot more media requests for those who are returning for an NHL game in their home countries.
It's an awful lot of excess work even before the Sharks and Jackets played back-to-back regular-season games for valuable points in the standings. But after San Jose's 3-2 victory Friday and Columbus' 3-2 overtime win Saturday, players on both sides said they wouldn't have traded their overseas experience for anything.