We just finished up practice here in Paris and I figured I'd give you guys an update on how things are going and what the experience has been like so far!
On the ice, it's been great. We have a really good group of guys and it's even more awesome getting to share this experience with a couple of other Jets, too. We're the only undefeated team in our pool and we're excited about what we could be able to accomplish together in the next week and a half.
As you've probably seen on TV, the atmosphere inside the rink is pretty crazy. The crowd is really into the game and it's very loud, like a playoff game no matter what the score is. The European fans, especially, are chanting all night. It really makes for a fun atmosphere and it's something we all look forward to before every game.
Tomorrow we play France and having seen the crowd in their previous games, I can only imagine what it will be like when we step on the ice. I can't wait.
We had a busy start to the tournament playing three games in the first four days, but we had a full day off yesterday and that gave us a chance to not only rest and recover, but to do some sightseeing as well. We took a tour of the city and we were able to go first to the Eiffel Tower (obviously!), which was amazing. I've never been to Paris before so that alone was quite the experience. After that, we saw the Arc de Triomphe and then went to the Louvre Museum. Unfortunately when we went to the Louvre it was closed and we weren't able to get in, but it was really beautiful even from the outside, so we had a chance to hang out, enjoy the sun and take a few photos. Maybe we'll have a chance to check it out, and hopefully the Mona Lisa, before the tournament ends.
The architecture and the history here is unlike anything I've ever seen before. The whole city is just so beautiful and full of energy. We're obviously here for the hockey first and foremost, but to have some free time like that, it's nice to immerse yourself in the culture and do some team bonding at the same time. You don't get an opportunity like this very often, so I'm trying to make the most of it!
Everyone always told me that one of the best parts of visiting Paris was the food. We've only been here a few days, but I now know what they mean.
The pre-game meals, which we always have at the hotel, are pretty much the same as what we'd have back home - a lot of chicken, pasta and stuff like that - but we've had a couple nights where we've been able to go to some local restaurants and try some different things. We've had a lot of 'traditional' meals, I'd say. I even tried foie gras for the first time and it was really good. If (Jets Director of Fitness) Dr. Craig Slaunwhite is reading this, I haven't had any croissants or any of the French bread that they have here. I like to stay away from that stuff myself, but if you're a fan of that, this would definitely be a good place to go!
Now I do have a bit of a confession, but hear me out. Scheif, Coms (Eric Comrie), (Jets Head Athletic Therapist) Rob Milette and myself went out for dinner the night before the first game to an Italian restaurant. I know what you're thinking: 'You're in Paris, what are you doing having Italian food?!' But it was awesome. I like that you can get pretty much anything here and it's amazing no matter what.
Speaking of food, I'm going to go grab lunch and rest up after a good skate today. I'll check in with you guys again in the next couple of days!