DAYS 9 & 10
Coming off that sushi dinner, we went to a steakhouse the night before the game. That was fun. I had the filet. I have this thing where if I go to a steakhouse I always get a filet because growing up that was the big thing.
Last night's game, well, the first period was pretty cool playing with Danny Briere. It was my first time all year playing with him. I thought we had a really good first period together and we were rolling along pretty good.
Unfortunately they scored the first goal which hurt us, but we battled through it and their goalie was hot and shut us down.
I think San Jose was one of the biggest teams we played all year. For me it was a new experience playing a big and strong team like that, but that being said it was my type of hockey. It was playoff hockey; guys hitting each other, not just me but everybody out there was hitting.
The scenery in California for this trip was great too. Everything was really modern and it had a nice, clean atmosphere. I'd like to bring my parents out for a vacation there someday. They would love it too.
Coming home now I have to say this has been the longest road trip I've ever been apart of in my whole hockey career. It's also the longest flight I've ever been on. It's definitely not going to be my last so I better get used to it.
All trip I've really only listened to music and play games on my iPad when traveling. I listen to strictly hip-hop. On my iPad I got this game where you flick a football through the uprights and try to make field goals the whole time. There's also a new running game where you have to keep running and keep the coins up the entire way. It's a pretty cool game that kills a lot of time.
When I get home, I have to drive a couple people back to the Skatezone in Voorhees, but after that I'm going to un-pack, then pack again because I'm moving in with Tom Sestito. I'm really looking forward to living with Tom and I think it'll really keep me company.
I've also officially joined twitter on this trip and I'd love for you guys to follow me - @RinaldoZac.
Finally, I really want to say thank you to all the fans out there who have followed me throughout the entire trip. I really liked doing this blog, but more importantly I hope you enjoyed it too!
DAY 8: February 27
After we got off the plane yesterday, we didn't have practice so I went shopping around our hotel. I really didn't find anything that I wanted, so I didn't buy anything. I was with Matt Read when he got a hair cut. He'll show it off tomorrow at the game.
I didn't get a haircut though. I don't trust getting my hair cut with someone I don't know. The person who cuts my hair is back in Philly and does a great job so I'm not going to go anywhere else.
Then me, Reader and some other guys met up and we went out to get some Sushi.
The weather is great here, especially this time of year. It's around 60 degrees and you get the best of both worlds - a little chilly at times, but then there's a lot of sun to keep you warm at the same time.
Today was a little odd. The ice wasn't available to us at the arena, so we put on our equipment there, then went on our bus in full gear to the practice rink to skate there. Then we came back to the arena to shower up before going back to the hotel. It was a pretty cool experience. We got a really good solid hour of practice in.
The trade deadline was today too. I know a lot of people were following it but I don't really even pay attention to it. Not on TV, internet or my phone. If anything happens I'm sure I'll find out about it. I love being a Flyer and I don't worry about any of that at all.
Tonight I'll probably head out to dinner, there's a nice steakhouse around here, so I think me and some of the guys are going there.
DAYS 6-7: February 25 & 26
Last night was a great battle and a great comeback win. It really kind of sucks being down, but we have a lot of character in our dressing room.
In between the first and second period, the dressing room was very positive. It was a feeling of 'stick with the plan, we can't go wrong if we stick to the plan'.
We kept playing and pushing. We kept saying put our foot on the pedal and we'll like the outcome at the end of the game.
It was nice to be on the ice for our second goal there at the end of the period. I saw Coby, who got the puck in the neutral zone and I just went hard to the net. Coby got a good shot off; it hit a Calgary player's pad and just went in.
It was a great feeling after the game in the room. Because of the late start, we actually stayed in Calgary instead of flying to San Jose afterwards.
That was nice, but it's also a double-edged sword. When you lose, it's a crappy feeling and you just want to get on the plane and move on to the next city, but last night was all good.
It's about a two and half hour plane ride to San Jose. I sit next to Reader so I'm just going to chat a little with him, then when we get in the air I'll throw on my headphones and listen to music the rest of the way.
Being on the road has been great. I room with Reemer and we get along very well. I think it's because we're both pretty simple. We get in the room, unpack some things and then if we want to go out to dinner it's usually right away.
The only difference between us really is that I like to order room service a lot and he never does. He never really charges anything to the hotel room, so when its time to pay the bill, all of it is usually mine. Also he doesn't really care what's on TV, so I keep the remote and control what goes on.
I'm looking forward to getting to San Jose. I've never been there and I hear there are a lot of things to do around the area. I hear there's an outdoor shopping mall around there so me and Reader are going to go shopping and check some things out since we have a day off from practice.
DAY 5: February 24
Last night, the plane ride was definitely different than the one from Winnipeg to Edmonton.
When you win everyone is happy and it's a fun ride, but when you lose its the total opposite. I know for me, I kind of think about what you can do better after a loss and what you can bring to the table for next game.
We got into Calgary around 1:30 a.m. and today I woke up around 10:30.
We didn't have practice today, but instead a team meeting around 11:15. We talked about what we need to do better in all areas of our game.
Right after that we had a team lunch at an Italian place by the hotel. It was a nice big meal. I had lasagna, pasta and some wings. I haven't had wings in forever. They had a honey garlic type of sauce on them and they were unbelievable.
Right after that, the whole team went to the movies. We saw 'Goon'. It was about a hockey player who tries to make his way in the semi-pro league fighting. It was really cool to see what different people think of hockey and fighting.
I would say 30-40 percent of that movie is realistic, but people can take a lot from it because it's somewhat realistic on what some players go through. I'd give it a 3-1/2 star rating out of five stars.
Right now I'm going to lounge around the room, listen to some music, then I'm going to get together with some of the guys for and early dinner...
DAY 4: February 23
The West Edmonton mall was really cool. I went with Reader and Wellwood. I got two pairs of shoes yesterday; one pair of black dress shoes and the other blue high top shoes.
There's a big theme-park and a waterslide inside. I didn't go on any of the rides, but we stopped and looked. They also have a huge shipwreck in the middle of the mall surrounded by water. I've never seen anything like that before in a mall, ever. It was crazy.
Reader also tweeted that we were going to go to the mall and a fan came up to us who saw it. They asked for an autograph and to take a picture with us. So that was really cool.
We got back around 6 p.m. and I ordered room service as usual, but it was the best room service I had all year. I got chicken with a caesar salad, mushroom soup and a molten lava cake for dessert. I get room service quite a bit, but this was the best I've had all year.
Tonight's going to be fun. I've always watched Edmonton play in their home rink. It looks like a really bright rink, so I can't wait to get out there and be ready to go.
DAY 3: February 22
Last night, that plane ride was great. As soon as I got on there I got some food (steak, potatoes & carrots) with a little bit of chocolate milk.
I really couldn't sleep after that game. I was amped up for about 40-45 minutes, then I pretty much just crashed and took a little nap.
We got in so late that we got to sleep in a little bit today. I had breakfast with JVR down here in the lobby of the hotel. Practice wasn't until 1:30; that's a little different than routine days back home.
After practice me and a few of the guys are going to the West Edmonton Mall, the largest mall in North America, so I'll see what I can find there. I'm mostly looking for black shoes. I don't have any on this trip, so I'm going to try and buy a pair.
Its great being on the road now. Every time we get to get out here and do stuff together you get to learn about every person on the team that much more...
DAY 2: February 21
Yesterday was business as usual, but we had practice an hour earlier because of the game time at six Central Time.
I did exactly what I said the other night; I just ordered room service (Salmon, Salad & Soup). Then me and my roommate, James van Riemsdyk, just kind of hung out. I fell asleep really early and was out quick from practice and traveling the day before.
I was a little jittery before the game, just stepping back into game action and everything, but as it got closer and closer to game-time that feeling kind of left me.
We also had some different music in the dressing room pre-game which was a pretty good feeling.
As for the game itself, I was able to get a couple good hits in right off the bat. I got around three hits last night and we helped Max [Talbot] get a goal there.
During those last five minutes and overtime… that was really nerve-wracking. I didn't even want to watch sometimes. When Wayne scored though, the celebration was huge. We were really happy and I was especially for Wayne, he's one of my good friends off the ice. He works really hard and I give him all the credit. He deserves everything and I'm really happy for him.
The guys did really well and we fought the battle right until the end and came out with a good win.
Other than that it should be a great flight to Edmonton in a few minutes here...
DAY 1: February 20
Well we had a good practice this morning and I’m just on the plane now ready to put on my headphones.
I’m not a movie guy. If some of the guys are going to go see a movie I’ll go and watch it, but I’m more into music. I’ll play games on my iPad and we have wifi on the plane so I’ll surf the internet here and there.
Yesterday at the Carnival... It was just a great experience being my first one and I know all the guys had a great time meeting all the fans, and it was all for a great cause too.
After the event I just went upstairs to the Cadillac Grille and had dinner before I went home. All I did besides pack was relax and watch TV. Packing took me about 45 minutes because I just wanted to make sure I had everything.
Being on the road is great, it’s kind of like a mini-vacation when it’s not a game-day. I’ve never actually been out here to the places we’re going to in western Canada. I lived in Saskatchewan for a year when I was in high school, but this will be a really new experience.
It’ll also be another good opportunity to bring everyone closer together, especially the new guys because we can get some lunches, dinners, practices and just some time in at the hotel to just get to know each other a little more.
With me being suspended for the last two games it gives me really good incentive to come back in the lineup and bring my energy back.
Tonight I’m not sure what I’m doing. If there’s a bunch of guys going out for a team dinner, then I’ll do that, but if not I’ll probably just order room service…