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The Official Site of the Colorado Avalanche

Life On The Road

by - Official Site of the Colorado Avalanche / Colorado Avalanche
Finding success on the road is critical for any hockey team, but it's not as easy as it may seem.  Road trips are a grind; long flights, late nights and inadequate sleep, to name a few, are some of the factors that come into play.  But time on the road gives a team a chance to bond and build chemistry off the ice. 

Before embarking on a five-game road trip, veterans Ryan O'Byrne, Shane O'Brien and Jean-Sebastien Giguere shared their thoughts on life away from home and the importance of finding success on the road, especially early in the season.

What are the advantages of a road trip early in the season?
O’Byrne: With all the new faces in here, it’s just a good chance for the boys to get to know each other.  When you’re on the road, you’re eating dinners and on the bus and plane together.  You just hang out with the guys.  You get on the road and really get to know each other.

O’Brien: It’s important because it brings the guys together.  It’s nice to go on the road, go to dinner, be on the plane and spend time with each other. 

Giguere: For a young team like us, it’s good to get to know each other and do some team bonding, like going out to dinner.  If we can get some points on the road it should give us some good confidence. 

The start of the five-game trip is against the defending Stanley Cup Champions (Boston).  Does that serve as extra motivation?
O’Byrne: For sure.  That’s a good test for us.  That was the best team in the NHL last year and hasn’t changed much entering this year.  We wanted to get the win last night but look forward to tomorrow’s game. 

O’Brien: I think so.  Obviously, we want to get off to a good start.  We didn’t take care of business against Detroit.  I thought we played a good game in certain parts, but we didn’t find a way to win.  There’s no better challenge than in Boston to get our first win of the year and get us rolling.  

Road trips are a grind mentally and physically.  Is there anything you do differently to prepare? 
O’Byrne: You try and get as much sleep as possible and eat properly.  It’s tough sometimes to get proper meals here and there because your schedule is a little off.  You also have to hydrate properly.  On the road, it’s not going to be perfect, but you just try and make do. 

O’Brien: You just need to get as much rest as you can.  Some nights you don’t get as much sleep as you’d like or sleep as well as you’d like.  You need to eat well and be ready to go every night. 

Giguere: The keys on road trips are good nutrition, hydration and sleep.  Those are very important.  The traveling and games will be tiring and the schedule is tiring but if you manage to take care of yourself the right way you should be able to go through the road trip easier. 

Best part of being on the road.
O’Byrne: [Being on the road] is the best part of the NHL.  You’re on the road in nice, big cities and going out to dinner with the guys.  It’s good to see some rinks that we don’t see too often, like in the Northeast.  It’s always fun and we’ll have a good time.

O’Brien: Just being around the guys and getting the big win on the road.  That’s what it’s all about; being around the boys and finding ways to win on the road.  There’s no better feeling. 

Are you looking forward to playing in Montreal?
O’Byrne: Absolutely.  It’ll be the first time back there [since the trade] and it’ll be a little different being on the other side.  It’ll be fun.  I had some good years there.  It’s a good organization.  I have some good friends in that city and it’ll be fun going back there. 

Are there any cities in particular that you’re looking forward to visiting on this trip?
Giguere: There’s Montreal and Toronto, for sure.  Montreal is my hometown and I don’t think there’s any better rink to play a hockey game.  The atmosphere is second to none and it’s always a lot of fun to go there.  And Toronto, being my old team, should be a fun night, too.

As a veteran who’s gone on hundreds of road trips, is there any advice you can give to the young guys?
Giguere: You can expect the home teams to come at us hard.  We’re a young team and they’re going to want to come out jumping.  You can’t afford not to play 60 minutes on the road.  You have to be ready at the beginning and you have to play throughout the game.  You have no chance if the whole team doesn’t show up.  I think the whole team has to be there and be ready for a good 60 minutes. 
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