Once upon a time, a trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, was a regular occurrence for the Colorado Avalanche.
After the NHL's most recent divisional realignment, visits to the Pacific Northwest are much fewer and farther between. In fact, the Avs only head to the city by the sea one time this season, which is for tomorrow's Jan. 2 contest.
For defenseman Tyson Barrie, any chance to return to his home province is something he looks forward to.
"It's the best. I love it," he said. "I'm very fortunate to be from a beautiful part of the world, and it's always nice to get back there and see all the friends I grew up with. Lots of family comes over, and it's usually pretty fun."
Video: Barrie talks about growing up in Victoria
Barrie hails from Victoria, which is roughly 115 kilometers (71.5 miles) from Vancouver. In order to travel between the two locales, one must cross the Salish Sea. So anyone looking to watch the 25-year-old rear guard skate against the Canucks has a bit of an adventure ahead of them.
"They would take the ferry, and they would have to get a hotel for the night," Barrie said of kith and kin that might want to visit. "Or you can take a sea plane or a helicopter, and that will get you in and out pretty quick. But I think most of the family is taking the ferry. It's about an hour and a half ride."
The Barrie clan will have much to congratulate the NHL blueliner on, as he skated in his 300th career game on Saturday night at Pepsi Center. When he took a moment to reflect on reaching the milestone, Barrie--like most players--was taken aback by how quickly time seems to have progressed.
"It's funny how fast it goes by. I remember playing my first game against Chicago, and then getting sent down shortly after and coming back up and then getting sent back down again," he mused. "I've come a long way, but you hear the 300 and I think I want to play another 1,000. So [I have a] long way to go, hopefully."
One veteran he can emulate in the league is teammate Jarome Iginla, who not only played in his 1,510th contest on Saturday, but who counted the match as his 200th consecutive game.
"If I could get as many games as he has goals, that'd be great," Barrie said.
Iginla is ranked 16th all-time in goals (616) in the NHL's storied record book.
While Saturday's defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers stung, Barrie, Iginla and the rest of the Avalanche squad will be looking for a fresh start to the New Year when facing Vancouver on Monday.
Video: Zadorov on playing with Fedor Tyutin
"The good thing in this business is you can come the next day and regroup. You can have a game tomorrow, and 82 games is lots of games. So it's still lots of time for us to come back and have a good stretch, win some hockey games," defenseman Nikita Zadorov said. "We just need to keep our heads up and work hard in practice and work hard in games."
According to head coach Jared Bednar, netminder Calvin Pickard will get the start versus the Canucks. Fellow goalie Semyon Varlamov, sidelined with a lingering groin injury, won't be on the trip.