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On the Road with... Steve Mason

by Steve Mason / Philadelphia Flyers
During the Flyers' six-game, 13-day road trip, Flyers goaltender Steve Mason will be keeping an exclusive blog of his travels with the team. Check out what he has to say below!
DAYS 8-10: Off in Ottawa, G's event & boring plane ride

Hey Flyers fans…

Picking up on my off-day in Ottawa - because we flew there right after the game in Dallas - we had pretty much the entire next day to ourselves after a very early morning practice. Some kids from a youth league were there so i decided to sign some autographs...

I watched a little football with the guys, but then a couple of us went into the city with Claude, who was hosting a holiday get together at his gym that he works out in the off-season for the employees and members there, so it was nice to stop by and support him.
Snowed a good amount on gameday in Ottawa...

All told, we were only there for a little over an hour for a light dinner, because we stayed in Kanata - about 30 minutes outside Ottawa.

Last night was certainly a tough game, but were able to salvage at least one point out of it.

In the short term, it stinks to have lost a game, but in the grand scheme of things in the long-term it's going to be a big point.

As for the shootout, my approach is pretty much the same going into every one, no matter what team we're playing.

I can't worry about what our shooters are doing and sometimes I don't even watch what our guys are doing because at the end of the day, I still have to stop the puck.

It was difficult to lose in that kind of fashion though.

Getting on the plane last night… I won't lie - it was really boring. I hit the point where I ran out of movies and TV shows. Because of the weather in Dallas our internet was down, so I couldn't download anything there.
A pic of the guys waiting to get to the practice rink

Then in Ottawa there was early practice, then G's event, so I didn't even try to download something.

I pretty much just connected to the wifi on the plane and was messing around on my iPhone. I don't know how long the flight was, but man did it seem a lot longer than it actually was.

 We got in late here to Chicago, I didn't get to sleep right away - it was about 3:30-4 a.m. before I actually fell asleep, and it was kind of a quick turnaround with practice.

Practice was actually really good though. It started out pretty comical.

We got dressed at the United Center, then bussed over to a nearby rink for practice with all of our gear on because the Chicago Bulls are playing in the United Center tonight.

I'm sure for the regular guys it wasn't too much of an issue, but Razor and I had a tough time fitting in the bus.

Having a little trouble getting on the bus in my equipment!
We haven't had too much time for a structured practice, but it was good to get one in today. Reeser has noticed some things in my game lately and we were able to work on it today.

Heading into tomorrow we're looking forward to a big test facing the defending Stanley Cup Champions. It would be great to cap this trip off with a win.

Thanks for reading, catch up with everyone one last time before we head home!

DAYS 7-8: Letdown in Dallas and off to Ottawa
Hey Flyers fans… well sorry it's been a little bit since the last update. An unexpected day off in Dallas then an early game to prep for kept me a little occupied.

About that game yesterday… we actually had a pretty solid first period. The seven-minute penalty kill was huge - to weather that storm and then get out of the first period, 1-0 said a lot, but then the wheels just fell off.

We got away from what we needed to do to have a consistent and strong game. When we get away from a game plan like that - that's exactly what happens. Teams take advantage of it and make you pay for it.

It's a bad game overall. On a road trip like this and even overall - When things are going well it's easy to get ahead of yourselves… at the same time when you have a bad game, it's easy to get really down, so you just have to try and have an even keel and make sure we have a better effort tomorrow vs. Ottawa.

It also reminds you that in today's game you really have to stay sharp at all times - they scored the first of their three quick goals and then boom - they're right back at you. You have to be ready for every single shift and every play.
Jeff Reese and myself on the ice early this morning in Ottawa

Today we had a really early wake-up call. Practice was at 8:30 (our bus is always an hour earlier, so we had to be down in the lobby by 7:30). We practiced that early because that was the only ice available since the Ottawa 67's junior team is playing there this afternoon. It's probably the earliest I've been up since the start of training camp.

We're into Days 9-10 here on the road trip and it starts to sink in a little bit that this is a long one.

The travel definitely starts to wear on you, especially this trip with packing and unpacking, the different hotels and the constant change of time zones. You never really have that 'at home' feeling, but every team is going to go through it in an Olympic year and we're fortunate enough to get one of our trips out of the way early in this season and hopefully we can get the next two games here.

That being said, what's really noticeable at this point is the team bonding - When you spend this amount of time together… we're a close team to begin with… but when you're spending pretty much every minute of the day with guys on the team it definitely brings you closer and you get to know the guys that much more.

It's tough to lose Vinny for possibly the remainder of the trip, but hopefully he can get better soon and not miss too much time with us.

Thanks again for reading and I'll get another update as soon as I can!

DAYS 5-6: A big win... and some big turbulence

Hey everybody… well back to blogging for me after a great game last night!

I actually wanted to start out by talking about the game, but man did we have a little bit of a bumpy ride in Dallas!

Our flight started out ok, but by the landing we hit a good amount of turbulence that shook the plane pretty good. We were expecting a winter storm here in Dallas and the boys were holding onto the seats a little tighter than normal coming in...  but we landed and everyone had smiles on their faces afterwards.

It's actually not the worst I've experienced though. A couple years ago in Columbus we were flying into Colorado and I remember even the flight attendants were seated and looking around as if it wasn't normal, so that's something I won't forget.
Not with the turbulence we had today, but sometimes Grossmann and I drift off to sleep during the flights. We're just joking around here after we took the photo posted on the Flyers Instagram today

I guess as much as we fly, you're bound to go through some bad weather and the occasion turbulence, but that was some pretty bad stuff today.

Thankfully my movie helped get me though it. I watched the Jobs, the Steve Jobs movie on the plane. It was a pretty interesting story.

Back to the game last night - well, it didn't start out too well for us. We got into some penalty trouble there, but our PK unit did a really good job getting us through it. They kept the game within reach.

Reader (Matt Read) scored that goal at the end of the period and there was a real sense of confidence in the locker room at intermission.

A big goal from G (Claude Giroux) helped us turn the energy towards us. When I'm in net I'm not on the bench or into the play (unless it's down our end) as much, but from my point of view you can really see the boys fighting hard, shift-by-shift. So that's a real motivator for me.

We stayed in Detroit last night after the game. An 8 p.m. start, we didn't get done until after 11 and when all was said and done with media and everything I didn't get back to the hotel until around 12:30.

I had my parents drive down for the game too, so I got to see them and spend some time before they drove back. It's a 3-hour drive for them, so they got in a lot later than I did.

Back at the hotel we had a team meal in one of the conference rooms, after that we took it easy and I just fell asleep.

Today's wasn't necessarily a complete day off, although we didn't get on the ice for practice we went to the game rink and did a short workout with our training staff.

We're having a team dinner tonight in Dallas, don't know where we're going yet, but it doesn't matter - team dinners are one of my favorites. When you get all the boys together in one room at a few different tables and there's a lot of joking around that goes on, so it's a really fun atmosphere to go along with a good meal!

Well that's it for me. Practice tomorrow. I'll catch up with everyone later. Thanks for reading!

DAY 4: The Game, My Routine & Arriving in Detroit

Hey Flyers fans… backtracking a little bit now I'll take you back to yesterday. When I'm not starting my morning skate routine is a little different.
Head equipment manager Derek Settlemyre and I having a chat during warm-ups last night

Normally on a game day when I'm playing I'll take some shots from the defense at the end of practice just to make sure I'm tracking the puck properly and things like that, but when you're not playing you take more power-play time and work with those units.

After the main practice is over, usually I'll stay on for an extra 20-25 minutes with Reeser (Jeff Reese) and work on things that I want to improve on in my game.

From there though it becomes pretty much the same routine as if I were starting. I'll go back and have a pre-game meal (which is always the same on the road). I'll have salad with chicken, then move onto a little bit of pasta with another piece of chicken breast. Then it's off the bed.

I typically take a quick pre-game nap because I head over the rink three hours before the game.

This is where it becomes a little different if I'm playing or not. If I'm not playing then I'll do about a 40 minute bike ride before the game just to make sure that I'm putting some work in. If I'm not playing then I don't just want to sit around and do nothing.
Nice photo bomb by Coburn with me & Derek.

During the actual game I pay attention a lot.

I focus in on the key guys of the opponent, so for last night I was looking at Parise and Koivu's tendencies and things that the opposition would do on their power-play.

Beyond that I'm on the bench trying to keep guys loose and positive during the action.

It was a tough loss last night, but the flight was a pretty quick one. We lost an hour flying back East - it's only a one-hour time change, but it makes a big difference.

I can't really go to sleep right away, so Rosey (Jay Rosehill) came over and we hung out and watched TV for about a half-hour. Jay and I are both into cars, so we were talking about some of the new stuff that is out there.

One of the benefits of being on the same floor as the guys when you're going from hotel to hotel - it's a quick walk down the hall to visit.

Thanks again for reading and I'll keep the updates coming...

DAY 3: Gameday in Minnesota

Hey fans… Wow! I got a great response from this blog yesterday - glad everyone enjoyed it and I'll do my best to keep it up.

Yesterday's day off was great… after waking up a little later than usual, I ordered some room service - I typically always have breakfast in my room.

Then the entire team headed off to see a special viewing of Anchorman 2 in a local movie theatre. That's where I had lunch - which was just some movie theatre popcorn!

It was great to get all the guys and staff in one theater together and have a few laughs - I loved the first Anchorman and this one didn't disappoint! It was full of some great one-liners that I'm sure I'll be repeating over the next few weeks on this trip.

Today, it's back to hockey. I'll head over to the morning skate and get some shots in, but I'm not starting tonight. My partner on the team, Razor Ray will be between the pipes against Minnesota and I have no doubt that he'll be great for us as he has been all year.

That's it for now, I'll fill everyone in on how this day went and have another post tomorrow… Thanks for reading!

DAYS 1 & 2

Hi Flyers fans… trying this blog out for the first time and what a better time than a long 13-day road trip.

First off, let me say I absolutely love the people, and fans that pack in the Wells Fargo Center. There's also a real sense of enjoyment being on the road though, so I'm really looking forward to this trip, and not just a few days or even a week to be around my teammates. Close to two weeks should be fun.

When I was in Columbus we had a ton of travel going out west all the time, so I'm pretty much used to it.

I should say that before anybody asks, I don't have a roommate when we are on the road. Being a part of that special group of goaltenders, its allowed that we get are own room while traveling... but I will say that while I was in Columbus I actually chose to have a roommate my whole time there.

Of course, it was never always that way though… I remember many many road trips growing up and even though the travel was shall we say... different than it is now - I've always enjoyed it.

Whether it was a tournament around Christmas time or playoffs, I remember staying in the hotels with my teammates. When I was 6, 7, 8 years old we would be playing hockey in the hallway of our hotels and always getting complaints from the rest of the people staying there. It's obviously a little different now playing in the NHL - we're spoiled!

Now to the action. It felt great to get on the road after a big win in Philly. We had to hustle up to the plane right afterwards, but well worth it. We got into Nashville around 6 pm… Eastern Time, actually it was around 5 pm here in the Central Time Zone.

We have a lot of country music fans here on the team so Nashville is one of the cooler cities in the League for that.

Last night's game, in my opinion, was one of the toughest games of the year. They came hard for the entire 60 minutes and being able to win in the shootout was a great feeling.

The boys on the plane last night knew we hadn't played the best we can, but when you can get a win, everytime there's going to be smiles, so the plane ride was a good one.

In case you're wondering I sit next to Grossy (Nick Grossmann) on the plane and typically we talk about how the game went, but soon after we take off I plug in my earphones and watch movies.

Since this is a long one, I downloaded a couple movies. I watched Red 2 with Bruce Willis last night. One of the negatives in that regard is that being out here for so long I go through a lot of movies and run out of things to download... but I'll always find something on iTunes. 

Today we have a day off in Minnesota. After playing back-to-back games it's good to get some rest, especially since we landed and got to the hotel around 1 am CT.

I'll have another update tomorrow, but thanks for following me along during this trip!
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