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THE ROAD TO CALIFORNIA

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
Buying a plane ticket to travel hundreds of miles away is something that most people enjoy, especially when they are leaving a cool fall rainy climate for the summer sun and a golf course. The same is true for Islanders James Wisniewski and Matt Moulson, who are set travel from the east coast to the west coast for a five-day road trip in the beautiful state of California.


This week, the Islanders have a three-game stretch where they will face-off against the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings. According to Wisniewski, the five-hour plane ride to the other side of the country is a long journey, but it is well worth the wait. The defensman’s last team was the Ducks, so he remembers very much what it’s like playing in the Golden State.

“It’s like 73 and sunny, driving to the rink with your windows down, after practice coming out with the sun shining,” Wisniewksi said. “It’s just a totally different mindset to be honest. When you are here (on the east coast) it feels like hockey season with the weather. Out there, after practice, you can go play a round of golf.”

While the weather might be nice, the teams on the west coast are very competitive. Moulson played 29 games for the Kings in a two-year spread (2007-08 and 2008-09) and he knows that the teams out there aren’t the easiest to go up against.

Moulson remembered back to his days in Los Angeles and said, “It’s definitely different playing over there. There wasn’t as much media, maybe a little bit more low-key and a little more relaxed.”

“But the Pacific Division is a tough division,” Moulson continued. “There are a lot of good West Coast teams and a lot of those teams are doing really well right now.”

While the competition is tough, traveling is another obstacle because it isn’t always the easiest thing to get used to, especially when changing time zones. As the Islanders travel to California on Tuesday, they will gain three hours to their day.

Sergei Bobrovsky #35 of the Philadelphia Flyers makes a save on a shot by Matt Moulson #26 of the New York Islanders on October 30, 2010 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
“We’re gaining three hours, so that helps us out a little bit because you’re a little more tired and it’s easier to fall asleep, but you’re really jetlagged and you need to get your legs back under you from being in the air so long,” said Wisniewski. “You get dehydrated being up in the altitude.”

Although the flight is long, Wisniewksi said teams in the Eastern Conference definitely have a better travel itinerary.

“When I was playing in Anaheim it was tougher,” Wisniewski said. “When we would fly to Detroit, we would leave at 11 but we wouldn’t get there until six o’clock at night, three o’clock our time, and you’re trying to eat dinner, but you’re not really that hungry and then it’s like time to go to bed and you’re not tired.”

That’s part of why the return trip is more challenging.
 
“I think it is worse coming the other way,” Moulson said about traveling from the West Coast back to Long Island. “I don’t think it’s as bad going out west, but a lot of teams have to deal with that, going through different time zones. Personally, I think it’s a lot harder coming the other way.”

While the team is looking forward to their trip to California, they know that the road ahead will be a challenging one. Most of all, they are looking to end their streak with these three on the west coast because they have already played nine of their last 12 games on the road.
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